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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Finders Keepers by Stephen King (Bill Hodges, #2) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

'Fuck your warning. And fuck your mother. Either shoot me or get out of my house.'

Morris Bellamy shot him...

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Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 370
Chapters: Finders Keepers' structure follows an eclectic pattern. There are several parts to the book, and inside each part are numbered sections.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

'For readers, one of life's most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers -- not just capable of doing it, but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels.'

If there's anything you should take from Finders Keepers, the second instalment to King's mystery trilogy, it's the quote above. It's one thing to be wowed by a fantastic story by a phenomenal author, it's quite another when that author understands you on a level you didn't know was possible. 

When I say 'understands you', I really mean readers. Lovers of the written world(s). This book, for me, is just perfect. There's no other word for it. King fans will be right on my wavelength, but those that aren't fans (which I'm not sure is even possible), you should become one, pronto.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (This time round, I'll be using the blurb that comes with my edition of the book.)

1978: Meet Morris Bellamy, a reader obsessed by novelist John Rothstein, the reclusive genius who created the celebrated fictional character Jimmy Gold.

Morris is livid -- not just because Rothstein has stopped writing but because he has made the nonconformist Jimmy sell out for a career in advertising. Morris breaks into Rothstein's house and empties his safe of cash. But the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel -- and Morris is prepared to kill for them. Later, he goes to jail for another crime but not before he has hidden the spoils.

2009: Meet young Pete Saubers, whose father was brutally injured by a stolen Mercedes while he was queuing at a job fair. When Pete discovers a buried trunk containing the money and notebooks, he realises he has the means to rescue his family from poverty. If he can keep it secret...

2014: Morris is up for parole. And he's hell-bent on recovering his treasure. That's when retired detective Bill Hodges - who has set up a company called 'Finders Keepers' - is asked to investigate. Together with his colleagues Holly Gibney and Jerome Robinson, Hodges must rescue Pete from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

How best to describe Finders Keepers... 

Let's imagine for a second that Mr King himself comes to your door. You welcome him in, excited and a little apprehensive, and he asks you to join him in your kitchen. You do as you're told, of course, and once there, King asks you to close your eyes and give him your hands. You do it (or else this analogy is pointless), and without looking your hands are fastened and taped around something. He tells you to look, you look, and see that your hands have been stuck to a full kettle.

One that Mr King promptly flicks on to boil...

Unable to move, you watch, as the kettle starts to hum and pop. The heat is slowly building, slowly reaching that point where you're going to get burned...

That's how Finders Keepers feels: There's mystery, ambiguity, confusion, realisations, and lastly, curiosity. Despite how wide your eyes are and how fast your heart is beating, there's that small, traitorous part of you that wants to get burned. 

This book isn't just a riveting crime novel, but a look at the fine line between fiction and reality, where people stand, and their actions from their positions. It's a story about connections and what drives life. 

The mystery parts just makes it all the more enjoyable.

There's a huge amount of tension and terror as the book builds, and as the plot and characters fall into sync, the dread it elicits is palpable. Good dread, of course, if there is such a thing; it's the emotion we're supposed to be feeling, the journey to a dubious final that you want more than anything to end happily. But, you're not sure until you get there...

The subplot with Brady Hartsfield, the depraved killer from Mr Mercedes, is intense and gets right under your skin. The continuity and the way the previous book bleeds into this one is great.

And the end? Wow... Creepy, terrifying and completely and wholly satisfying.

Finders Keepers is a fantastic novel, with shades of the crime, mystery and horror genres.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

I could go on and on and on about the story, but I'll move forward. The flow of the plot is smooth and steady. The first half is slightly slower than the second, but this isn't a con. Building us up and then increasing the immediacy works wonders. There's murder, mayhem and the macabre; like most other King books, everything the doctor ordered.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

Old and new combine to brew a compelling concoction of characters. Finders Keepers starts with the new, and despite being the sequel to Mr Mercedes, where we focus heavily on retired detective Bill Hodges, Hodges is probably the least journeyed with cast member in this book. And that's not a bad thing! It highlights King's ability to capture his readers with any character. 

The first half of the novel establishes the foundations by weaving new character personalities, motivations and histories. It's a rapturous adventure that makes the entire cast feel real. King is a king when it comes to individuals all across the spectrum (especially those that are depraved and a little more crazy than average).

The way character viewpoints, and there are many, merge and dance with one another is nothing short of tantalising and masterful. Hodges is a complicated hero; his partners Jerome and Holly are quirky and complimentary; Morris is chilling and surprisingly relatable; Pete is moral and righteous and way out of his depth. On and on it goes. 

King also works in some subtle supernatural with supposed vegetable Brady Hartsfield. They're some of the best scenes in terms of meaning and tone. I cannot wait to see how the situation plays out.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

I am not worthy to review King's writing. Not worthy at all.

Engaging and exciting; vivid and vicious; clever and compelling. 

You do get a little thrown as the tense changes to accommodate the switch from past to present events, but it's a tiny, minuscule throw that it's barely worth mentioning.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

The third and final book of the trilogy, End of Watch, comes out next year, and oh how I need it.

I need it now...


Previous Instalment: Mr Mercedes
Next Instalment: End of Watch


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