Stephen King's FINDERS KEEPERS
A book review by Dennis D. McDonald
Finders Keepers is the second book crime novel by King in the “Bill Hodges“ trilogy. The first was Mr. Mercedes, a grim but fascinating cat and mouse game that pitted retired cop Hodges and his retinue of misfit assistants against a sadistic killer. I loved that book despite the complaints of many King fans that he ought to stay focused on horror or fantasy.
Finders Keepers again pits Hodges against a killer. This time the story focuses on ramifications of a decades-before murder of a great American author. That murder was committed by an outraged fan of the author who steals and then hides in a buried trunk hand written note books containing unpublished works of the author over which the murderer has been obsessing.
Unexpectedly the author’s murderer is imprisoned for another crime before he can read any of the notebooks. After his parole decades later he finds that the hidden trunk was been discovered and hidden by a literary minded high school student who also worships the murdered author.
The murderer sets out to locate the manuscripts. This threatens the high school student and his family. Hodges becomes involved in a race against time to get to the young man before the murderous ex-con gets to him and his family.
Literary obsession is at the heart of this tale that stretches decades to the present day. The murderer and the two students are two sides of the same worshipful coin. One is still angry that the famous author had taken the hero of his most famous novel down a disappointing career path. In his mind this treatment by the author of his most famous characters deserved a murder – and access to the still-unread manuscripts of the author’s unpublished writings.
The other side of the coin is the literary minded young man who is also obsessed with the famous author’s works, much as young readers of classics like Catcher in the Rye were once known to become.
As with my reading of other King novels I stand in awe at this author’s character development and storytelling skills. He makes outrageous and at times terrifying situations and people seem real.
Finders Keepers, despite it being a (for the most part) down to earth, is constantly entertaining as it moves inexorably to a violent but satisfying climax.
Then King throws in a weird and disturbing reference to the first novel that generates the desired response: I’ve got to read the third book in this series!
Review copyright 2019 by Dennis D. McDonald