Bookshots: "Finders Keepers" by Stephen King

Finders Keepers

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Title:

Finders Keepers

Who Wrote It?:

There is a little seed that King kept dropping throughout this second book, and it involves the killer from the first book, Brady Hartsfield. King hints that this man, who is now in a sort of vegetative, fugue state, may be more than he seems.

Stephen King

Plot in a Box:

When a fan, Morris Bellamy, becomes furious at the way that his favorite protagonist is treated, he hunts down author John Rothstein, and kills him. He takes the money in the safe, but more importantly, a number of notebooks, which chronicle the continuing story of Jimmy Gold. But before he can read any of them, he gets arrested, and spends most of his life in jail, for rape and assault. When a young boy, Pete Saubers, decades later, finds the trunk with the books and money, it's a windfall for his family, who is struggling to make ends meet. When Bellamy finally gets released, the plot thickens, and the tension mounts, the danger coming home to roost.

Invent a New Title For This Book:

Pandora's Trunk

Read This If You Liked:

Mr. Mercedes (the first book in the series), Joyland, or The Colorado Kid (all by King).

Meet the Book’s Lead(s):

Morris Bellamy is the rabid fan, Pete Saubers is the boy trying to do his best to save his family, and then we are reintroduced to a cast of characters from the first book, retired detective Bill Hodges, and his crew. 

Said Lead(s) Would Be Portrayed In a Movie By:

Steve Buscemi as Morris, CJ Adams (The Odd Life of Timothy Green) as Pete, and Kevin Costner as Bill Hodges.

Setting: Would You Want to Live There?

Typical small town living, sure, why not?

What was your favorite sentence?

Shit don't mean shit.

The Verdict:

I've been a lifelong King fan and it'll take a lot for me to not pick up any of his books, since I've read more than 50 of them to date. Is this book going to blow you away? No, I don't think it will. It's a good book, but not a great book, and I'm not sure why it falls a bit short. Maybe it's unfair of me to compare this book to his entire body of work, but I can't help doing that. So, where would I rank it among all of those titles? Somewhere toward the bottom third, I think. Not because it's BAD, but because so much of his work is GREAT, in my opinion.

A lot of this book feels familiar: a young boy in trouble, a bad guy who isn't particularly unique, set in a small town, where things get dark and dangerous, tension scattered throughout. I wish he'd put more dysfunction into Morris, the bad guy, and given us a few more twists and turns along the way. I'd say it wasn't even as good as Mr. Mercedes. But, I did enjoy it, as much as I enjoy a Big Mac and fries, with an ice-cold Coke. But was it fulfilling, inspiring? Not really.

It's also hard to judge a trilogy, right? I mean, we're only getting part of the picture. I really DID like Mr. Mercedes a lot, and I think the third book in the trilogy, End of Watch, might be the best. There is a little seed that King kept dropping throughout this second book, and it involves the killer from the first book, Brady Hartsfield. King hints that this man, who is now in a sort of vegetative, fugue state, may be more than he seems. The water turns on in the bathroom, on its own. A woman, a nurse at the hospital, kills herself, and it's implied that Brady may have suggested she do that, some sort of power over her.

So, that's the reason I'll continue. I want to see what King does with Brady and Bill, and the rest of the cast. So, I'll pull my car up to the drive-through window, and it will trigger that Pavlovian salivation, my hunger, but as I scan the menu, deciding between the #1, the #2 and the #3, I'll be looking for something special, something new, maybe not even on the menu. King can do it, he's done it dozens of times before, and as a CONSTANT READER, I'll tune in, hoping he captures lightning in a bottle once again.

Image of Finders Keepers: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy)
Author: Stephen King
Price: $8.33
Publisher: Scribner (2015)
Binding: Hardcover, 448 pages
Richard Thomas

Review by Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of seven books: three novels—Disintegration and Breaker (Penguin Random House Alibi), as well as Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications); three short story collections—Staring into the Abyss (Kraken Press), Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press), and Tribulations (Cemetery Dance); and one novella in The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). With over 140 stories published, his credits include The Best Horror of the Year (Volume Eleven), Cemetery Dance (twice), Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders (Bram Stoker winner), PANK, storySouth, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad (numbers 2-4), and Shivers VI (with Stephen King and Peter Straub). He has won contests at ChiZine and One Buck Horror, has received five Pushcart Prize nominations, and has been long-listed for Best Horror of the Year six times. He was also the editor of four anthologies: The New Black and Exigencies (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Thriller awards. In his spare time he is a columnist at Lit Reactor and Editor-in-Chief at Gamut Magazine. His agent is Paula Munier at Talcott Notch. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com.

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Comments

S.B. Smith's picture
S.B. Smith from Indianapolis, IN is reading Mongrels July 15, 2015 - 7:51pm

Currently reading this and I agree....it's good....but not great. I liked Mr. Mercedes as well, and I am looking forward to the third book to wrap it all up. As far as King is concerned, nothing tops Salems Lot for me....probably because it was my first SK book...and it terrified me as a kid.