Book review: Stephen King’s ‘End of Watch’ is no ordinary detective story

Book review: Stephen King’s ‘End of Watch’ is no ordinary detective story
Herb Scribner, Deseret News

END OF WATCH,” by Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 448 pages (f)

All things must come to an end, including a detective’s watch on his community.

Detective Bill Hodges’ story of crime fighting comes to its inevitable — and yet totally surprising — conclusion with “End of Watch,” a novel released June 7 by master of horror Stephen King. As expected with a King novel, “End of Watch” has an incredibly strong narrative and language but is riddled with profanity, gore and sexual themes.

The Hodges trilogy, which started with “Mr. Mercedes” in 2014 and continued with “Finders Keepers” in 2015, tells the tale of an obese retired cop who looks to solve the crime he never solved while on the job. Fans of the series will see this new novel as a return to form as it chronicles the detective’s journey to watch over his small community that continually finds its members under threat of murder.

In this installment, the killer from the original novel, the self-titled Mr. Mercedes, is back to attack Hodges and his friends, giving readers the perfect narrative conclusion. But the stakes are even higher as the original killer seems to have gained something of a supernatural power.

Though a supernatural power seems fitting for a King novel, it’s a little off-putting for the conclusion of this trilogy, which was often grounded in reality. “End of Watch” takes things to a new level, but it comes off as a slightly forced way to amplify the series’ conclusion.

Still, the writing is fantastic for anyone who enjoys a detective novel. King may be a master of horror, but his ability to write something often reserved for great crime writers speaks to his talent with the written word. Readers likely won’t want to put the book down until they see Hodges and his foe face off one last time.

This isn’t a book for content-conscious readers or children as it has some graphic scenes of murder and violence. It also hinges on the theme of revenge and includes several dark turns.

While King’s masterful writing creates a tale worth telling and reading, it’s a hard one for those who can’t or don’t want to handle the violence.


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