Synopsis (from Amazon):
A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.
“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.
Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.
Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Before you even read this review, you need to know that Stephen King is my favorite author – I’ve never met a Stephen King novel that I haven’t liked (although I haven’t LOVED them all, and I’ve been lukewarm on a short story or two). So while this book isn’t flawless, I still very much enjoyed it and would recommend it. (But oh, how I wish I could be a beta reader for King and help catch those little errors before the books go to print!)
This novel, like Mr. Mercedes, falls outside of King’s “regular” genre of horror. There’s only the slightest hint of the paranormal in this novel (although I expect that will be expanded upon in the final novel of the trilogy). I wouldn’t exactly call it a mystery, because while there are mysteries for the characters, the reader already pretty much knows the answers. Suspense, crime fiction, detective fiction, or even thriller would be a more appropriate classification – definitely not horror, in my opinion, even though there are some horrific elements. That being said, there are “tones of King” in this novel – the very plot itself revisits past King themes (the lengths book addicts will go to in order to get their next fix in particular).
I think you might have to be one of those people who’s more than a casual reader to fully appreciate the motivations and actions of both Morris Bellamy and Pete Saubers. Avid readers might even find themselves having the slightest twinge of sympathy – just a teensy bit – for Bellamy and his motivations. Bellamy was obviously already unstable before his imprisonment, but I think waiting almost four DECADES for a particular book would drive any passionate reader insane. When you’re emotionally invested in a character or book series, the wait for the next book can be agonizing, especially if the wait is particularly long (fans of The Dark Tower or Wheel of Time feel my pain here, I think). Six years between Dark Tower books was torture, and the books weren’t even written yet (that I know of). To know that there’s another novel (or two) in a beloved series, just sitting there and waiting for you to come dig it up, a story that no one other than the other has ever read before… to wait thirty-six years to be able to actually read it? To know that there still might be hope for a character that you believed the author had “destroyed,” a chance for that character to redeem himself in your eyes? And then to finally be able to retrieve those writings, only to find them gone? If Morris hadn’t already been crazy, that right there would’ve tipped him over the edge.
When I read Mr. Mercedes, I was unaware that Bill Hodges was going to be the star of a trilogy. Mr. Mercedes concluded satisfactorily as far as I’m concerned; I didn’t feel like there were unresolved plot points when I reached the end of the book. Finders Keepers, however, definitely has some loose ends to be tied up in the next (and final… maybe) novel, The Suicide Prince. Don’t keep me waiting, Mr. King! Because we all know what happens when you keep your fans waiting…