By Stephen King
Hodder, out now
How far will you go to read your favourite author’s unpublished work?
Stephen King’s follow up to Mr Mercedes may feature the same central trio as that book, but they’re almost incidental to much of the story. Whereas I found elements of his first crime novel less enthralling than I had hoped and expected, Finders Keepers lives up to the hype that surrounded Mr Mercedes, as King pens a strong crime story (with just the slightest tinge of the supernatural). There are noir-ish elements for those who enjoy such things, there’s King’s often-demonstrated dexterity in writing about teenagers and what motivates them, there’s a looming menace whose grip exerts itself increasingly as the book goes by, and there are some truly horrific moments.
The novel is divided into three parts, the first of which sets the scene in a number of different time frames, so that by the start of the second section, you’re fully attuned to the motives driving both unrepentant con Morrie Brewster and teen student Peter Saubers. The link to Mr Mercedes comes early and provides King with a chance to return to the devastating attack on the queue of jobseekers that triggered that book, and, in this one, cripples Peter’s father. In the second part, the protagonists move inexorably towards each other; in the third (“Peter and the Wolf”) all of their paths eventually cross.
King returns to some of his key themes from across his work – the power of literature and the force of obsession, bringing them together in a way he hasn’t since Misery, twenty years ago. It’s a book that demands you devour it in one sitting if at all possible and makes me look forward to the next case for Bill Hodges and his motley crew.
Verdict: An engaging crime thriller seen through the prism of King’s imagination. 9/10