By Stephen King. I’d resolved to read some Stephen King this year and picked this one up in the San Diego airport. I see that the Mystery Writers of America have nominated it for the Edgar Award—“Best Novel” category—for 2014. Five more nominees to go.
King fulfills all the standard thriller conventions—ticking clock, protagonist who must act outside the system with aid only from clever, but unofficial sources (in this case a black high school student and a woman with a serious mental disorder), a diabolical threat against a passel of innocents, and an opponent with sufficient intellectual- and fire-power to keep the stakes stoked. With characters from the crime novel version of Central Casting, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the plot–despite its interesting set-up–is more than a wee bit predictable.
It’s an artful page-turner, if you don’t think too hard, and King fans may love it, but it breaks no new ground. (Read about the “King for a Year” project, which so far revisits some of his more innovative works.) And perhaps it’s no surprise then, that Mr. Mercedes will be turned into a television series, with the script to be written by David E. Kelley (Boston Legal and Ally McBeal), and Jack Bender (Lost and Under the Dome) to direct.