I know there’s not much that I can add to the King review canon, but here are my thoughts on End of Watch! I fully recommend this series and book to anyone looking for unlikely heroes, great character arcs, and low-key creepy vibes that increase in this final book.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: End of Watch
- Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3
- Author: Stephen King
- Publisher & Release: Scribner, June 2016
- Pages: 448
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ yess for thriller and mystery, paranormal fans
Here’s the synopsis:
The spectacular finale to the New York Times best-selling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes (winner of the Edgar Award) and Finders Keepers
2017 Audie Award Finalist for Fiction and Best Male Narrator
In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.
In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.
Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney – the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him in the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend, Jerome Robinson, and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends but on an entire city.
In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding supernatural suspense that has been his best-selling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.
This is a really satisfying end to the trilogy. It can stand on it’s own but I highly recommend reading them all, and in order, or the audio books are absolutely phenomenal as well (but you all know I just LOVE Will Patton).
Brady Hartsfield is back, and King finally found a way to weave the supernatural / paranormal into this one. He does so in an utterly creepy way too, with Brady developing telekinesis due to experimental drugs and using it to orchestrate mayhem and suicide through handheld game consuls. Brady really isn’t as smart as he thinks he is though, some of his mishaps had me laughing.
The title tells the reader what’s coming at the end, and it’s revealed pretty early on. That storyline is definitely sad as hell but it also lets Holly and Jerome shine on a new level. One of my favorite aspects of the trilogy has been these unlikely heroes with their unlikely friendship, and Bill Hodges being the elderly, unlikely hero that holds them together. All three had the chance to shine in this King left us no doubt that Holly’s gonna be ok.
Exciting, tense, sad, hopeful, fast paced – are all good describing words for this one. I liked the pacing and how it kept connecting back to prior books. King wrote a lovely authors note at the end about suicide prevention too that would lift anyone’s spirits after the ending. I have also enjoyed the picnic scenes at the end of each book and was glad that End of Watch included one as well. It gave the characters some final emotional closure
What I really want is a Holly and Pete spinoff book or series – I know that If It Bleeds is at least a short story but I hope he writes more.
Here are a handful of my favorite quotes:
Things can get better, and if you give them a chance, they usually do.
One foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel
It’s about how some people carelessly squander what others would sell their souls to have: a healthy, pain-free body. And why? Because they’re too blind, too emotionally scarred, or too self-involved to see past the earth’s dark curve to the next sunrise. Which always comes, if one continues to draw breath
And the funniest one …. “Darker than a woodchuck’s asshole”
I definitely highly recommend this series on both book or audio format if you are looking for a great detective, suspense, thriller series. Will Patton, as always, adds something special to the narration and will creep you out even harder singing the fishing hole song!