This is a rather pathetic title for a blog post, especially by someone who calls himself an avid reader. But lately my reading has been very task-oriented, both books and articles alike, and almost entirely of the non-fiction variety.
So I credit Stephen King for serving up a novel that I eagerly read from start-to-finish over a week’s time. Mr. Mercedes (2014) is King’s foray into hard-boiled detective fiction, and it’s a good one. The main protagonist is a retired police detective, Bill Hodges, who gets caught up in an unsolved multiple homicide. The perpetrator — identified very early in the story (no spoiler alert necessary) — is a pretty messed up dude with serious mommy issues.
I enjoyed this book, and easily place it in the “didn’t want it to end” category. Thus I’m delighted that King launched it as the first of a planned trilogy featuring Hodges and his sleuthing pals, with the next title expected sometime next year.
Back in January, I sang the praises of the latest incarnation of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, especially for folks who travel often. However, last weekend I decided to take this hardcover edition of Mr. Mercedes with me for a quick out-of-town visit with friends, even though it took up precious backpack space. (Although this is not among King’s longer works, it still clocks in at a hefty 440+ pages.) I’m glad that I did. Reading Mr. Mercedes as a printed book rather than as an e-book was such a pleasure. Hey, it’s not often when you’re wishing the plane ride was just a little bit longer so you can squeeze in another chapter!
I know it has become something of a cliché for those who love the printed page to say they prefer the tactile experience of reading a physical book to the convenience of using an e-reader. Nevertheless, count me among them. Even with my fifty-something eyesight (oy…) and frequent travel schedule, there remains something very cool about reading an old fashioned printed book.