Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Being a big fan of Stephen King’s writing I was excited when I received my copy of his latest book, “Finders Keepers”. Something of a sequel to “Mr. Mercedes”, a book I thoroughly enjoyed, “Finders Keepers” introduces new characters and brings back some old ones.
Beginning with the murder and robbery of a well known and now retired writer, John Rothstein, the book begins somewhat slowly. While the main character, Morris Bellamy, is well developed, his cohorts in crime are throw-aways. Granted their roles are somewhat insignificant in the scope of things, but it seems they could have been used more efficiently. From the beginning Bellamy is a nasty guy. It’s obvious he has a few screws loose. Obsessed with Rothstein fictional character Jimmy Gold, Bellamy hungers for the unpublished works of the soon to be late author. He is also resentful of the turn Bellamy’s writings took in the Jimmy Gold story. In many ways Bellamy is like Annie Wilkes from “Misery”. In fact there are a few similarities to “Misery” in this tale.
But not all obsessive fans of writers are as crazy as Bellamy. Peter Saubers loves the works of Rothstein as well. As chance, and King, would have it, young Pete stumbles upon the find of a lifetime. In a hidden trunk he finds a cache of money and the unpublished works of Rothstein. This happens to come along just as Pete’s family is suffering severe trials. Pete’s father is one of the damaged survivors of the “Mr. Mercedes” attack where innocent and desperate job seekers were waiting for a job fair. Pete’s family, barely surviving the loss of both parents’ incomes, is falling apart. While Pete kept his windfall secret, he begins to dole out the cash to keep the family afloat. However it’s the discovery of those unpublished works that keeps the story churning. After a somewhat slow beginning the story picks up nicely.
Beneath the surface of the story the ominous figure of Brady Hartsfield, the crazed Norman Bates type protagonist from “Mr. Mercedes”, is woven into the tapestry. It is through Brady that there is a hint of King’s skill at bringing the supernatural into the natural world.
“Finders Keepers” is an excellent sequel to “Mr. Mercedes”. While it is a book that can effectively stand alone, it is enriched when read after “Mr. Mercedes”. My investment in the characters was more intense as a result of reading the books in order. The best part of “Finders Keepers”? It left me wanting me more. I want to find out what happens to Holly on her journey. I want to learn about Jerome’s college experiences. I can’t wait to see if Hodges gets into more crime fighting situations. But most of all, I want to follow Brady Hartsfield wherever he is going. I have a sneaking suspicion it will be a dark trip.
If it was possible I’d give it a 4.5. As always, King’s use of words is eloquent. He paints his story with vibrant colors.