By: Stephen King
# of pages: 449
Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy (#1)
Challenges: Full House (last book added)
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
My review: I placed a hold on The Outsider a few weeks ago. My mom read it and said that she didn’t really enjoy it, but maybe because she didn’t get some of the references to other King novels. She has read Mr. Mercedes and said that was referenced. So I decided to read Mr. Mercedes and the other books referenced in The Outsider.
This is a crime mystery sort of book and not a horror like many of King’s novels. I’m not super into crime/detective books, but I liked the main character, Bill Hodges, as well as his unlikely sidekicks. Bill is a retired police officer. His unsolved cases still bother him, but he spends most of his days laying in front of the TV and eating junk food so he doesn’t waste too much brain power fretting about the past. However, one day he briefly thinks about an unsolved past case about the “Mercedes Killer” and is struck by a thought. He can’t stop thinking about it and he soon finds himself getting out of his armchair, out of the house, and back into the world of crime solving. His teenaged neighbor is the only friend he still sees since retiring, but he soon adds to his number of friends as he’s pulled farther and farther into the investigation.
The reader is also pulled into the world of Brady, a disturbed young man who isn’t afraid of his own death but also isn’t afraid to end the lives of others. If you’ve read many of King’s novels you know how disturbing some of his characters can be and Brady Hartsfield is no exception.
Overall I’d recommend this if you like crime and detective books. And if you aren’t afraid of seeing into a depraved murderer’s mind.
Why I gave this book 4/5 stars: Nothing super amazing, but the characters are fun and I’m eager to see what happens in the next books in the series.