The creators of the Mr. Mercedes, the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s crime novels, were faced with a dilemma when the series was renewed for a second season. Protagonist Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) doesn’t appear until 150 pages into the second novel, Finders Keepers, and his nemesis, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is effectively not in the book at all.
That’s easier to manage in a book than in a movie or TV series, where you can’t keep the talent in reserve. Viewers expect them to show up in the opening scenes and appear regularly throughout the season. Imagine The Empire Strikes Back, but with Han Solo in a coma for the entire film and Luke Skywalker not showing up until an hour in. Continue Reading
Control…Chaos…Darkness: A Preview of Mr. Mercedes by Bev Vincent
Over the past few years, TV series based on the works of Stephen King have taken different approaches with varying degrees of success. One of the best was 11.22.63, which stayed reasonably close to the source material and did not continue past the novel’s conclusion. At the other end of the spectrum was Under the Dome, which started out okay, but struggled as time went on. Rather than film the novel, they decided to stretch it as far as it could go, and it broke.Continue Reading
Shortly after the publication of Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King announced that the book was the first in a trilogy that would be connected by the City Center Massacre (in which a psycho named Brady Hartsfield stole a Mercedes and plowed into a crowd of people who were waiting in line at a job fair in a struggling Mid-western city).
Hartsfield got away with that crime but was—during the commission of an even more audacious and nefarious scheme—eventually brought to justice by a rag-tag group led by retired police detective Bill Hodges. Hartsfield was effectively taken off the playing board at the conclusion of Mr. Mercedes but, at the end of the second book, Finders Keepers, King hinted strongly that this villain would be back, front and center, for the finale. He also suggested that the third book would be closer to a traditional King novel, by which I mean it might have supernatural elements.
The phrase “End of Watch” will be familiar to anyone with more than a passing knowledge of police dramas. In one context, it refers to the day when a cop retires. On another, more ominous level, it refers to a cop killed in the line of duty. Bill Hodges has already experienced the first usage—the question the title of the third book poses is whether he will experience the other.Continue Reading