Bill Hodges

Created by Stephen King (1947 -- )

Of course, horrormeister Stephen King has always incorporated elements of crime into his fiction, and he's often sung the praises of various crime and mystery writers, with John D. MacDonald being a particular favourite. The Colorado Kid (2005) and Joyland (2013), both originally published by Hard Case Crime, and early short stories such as "The Fifth Quarter" (1972) and "Umney's Last Case" (1983) have certainly broached the genre. However, the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, about a retired police detective being hounded by an elusive thrill killer, marks the author's first truly serious and concerted foray into crime fiction.

KERMIT "BILL" HODGES is the former cop, and when we first meet him in Mr. Mercedes (2014), he's miserable. Almost bored to death. His wife has left him, his daughter lives far, far away, he has no real close friends, and he's lonelier than anyone should be. He's thinking of pulling the plug.

And then he gets a creepy, disturbing letter from someone purporting to be the perpetrator behind one of Hodges' unsolved cases -- that of a man who intentionally drove a Mercedes into a crowd of people standing in line for a job fair, killing eight people and injuring many more. The driver was never found, but the letter contains information that only the cops -- or the killer -- would know. Ironically, it's the spark that pulls Hodges back from the brink, and he's soon thrown himself back into the case. It's a helluva genre debut, and won the 2015 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America.

By the end of that first book, Hodges had found a new lease on life, becoming a private detective. But the cat and mouse game continues through two more novels, Finders Keepers (2015) and End of Watch (2016), with Hodges being taunted again and again, and the supernatural elements King is so well known for slowly creeping in from the edges, finally coming home to roost in the third and final installment.

NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

Famous Writers Who Have Dipped Their Toes in the P.I. Pool

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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