In the past couple of decades, Stephen King has made a decided shift from horror to thriller/supernatural, a shift that has turned me into a huge fan. Previously unable to finish his books out of sheer terror, I am chomping at the bit for the thrillers. Finders Keepers, the sequel to Mr. Mercedes, did not disappoint. Started it on a Wednesday; finished it that Sunday.
Early on, Finders Keepers seems only tangentially related to Mr. Mercedes and I wondered if it was a marketing gimmick to call it a sequel. But mid way through, the rag tag crime team of Bill, Holly and Jerome from the first book show up to help our latest protagonist in trouble, teenager Pete Saubers.
Pete has the fortune to happen upon a trunk full of money and notebooks filled with poetry and prose at a time of family crisis. In time, he realizes the notebooks are the true value of his find. They are 20 years of unpublished writing from American hero author John Rothstein, who was tragically murdered years before.
The problem for Pete? Morrie Bellamy, the man who buried the trunk, gets paroled after decades in prison and, you guessed it, comes looking for his trunk.
King not only tells a fast paced story that keeps you turning the pages as fast as you can read the words, but he masterfully illuminates the important, yet tenuous, connection between authors and readers. One that King certainly grapples with daily. While extreme, King, perhaps partly autobiographically, shows how destructive a relationship can be between an obsessed reader and an unaccommodating author.
Don’t worry; even though the underlying theme is reminiscent of Misery, the plot is fresh enough for Finders Keepers to stand fully on its own. And, for those of you longing for King’s horrors of the past, don’t fret, Morrie Bellamy, even in his 70 year old broken down body, is as dark and frightening as they come.
Elizabeth's rating: 4 stars