Creepy King is at work in mr. Mercedes. Sure, it's a crime novel; cat and mouse and all that -- but we all know it's Stephen King at work. I'm loving the novel. Loving the fact that it is indeed Stephen King, unafraid to be himself. He might be diving into some new sub-genre's, but he doesn't try to become anyone else. King is willing to allow stories to remain free from the need to walk a narrow genre line.
- Mr. Mercedes is flat out creepy. A killer who wears a clown mask as he runs people over. That's nasty! Oh, and the clown mask looks like -- Pennywise. That's sweet! The killer also likes happy faces.
- The characters are almost immediately engaging on both sides. What's quite amazing is that King is able to make you feel a kinship to the killer. As Hodges reads a letter from the murderer, the reader is taken into the killers mind. Is he crazy? Maybe. But as he points out, he just does the crazy stuff most of us think about. By the way, this killer is also smart. Very smart. Dr. Lecter smart? I don't know yet. I can't see ole Hannibal sticking happy faces on things.
- King also does a nice job recreating male banter; especially among cops. It's the kind of stuff we've all heard (at least guys have) but would be hard pressed to actually recreate it. King has done it nicely. It feels kind of like he's giving away something to the opposite sex; revealing, this is how we guys operate.
- Add happy faces to my list of things Stephen King has weirded me out over. I already didn't like them, but now, they're just plain nasty.
- King gives us the mass murder scene from almost every imaginable angle -- except the Mercedes itself. We get it from the victims, the police and the killers point of view.