Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bill Hodges Reaches the End of Watch

This is the concluding volume of Stephen King's trilogy featuring ex-cop and P.I., Bill Hodges. The cast of characters from the first two books has returned mostly intact, including Hodges; his partner, Holly Gibney, and Brady Hartsfield, the maniac whose crime spree set the trilogy in motion. For almost six years, Hartsfield has been hospitalized, apparently in a persistent vegetative state, but Hodges still suspects that Hartsfield might be faking his illness in an effort to avoid prosecution for his crimes.

As this book opens, Bill and Holly are called to a death scene by Bill's former partner, Pete Huntley. Two women are dead in an apparent murder-suicide, and Huntley believes that Hodges may be interested in the scene because one of the women was one of Brady Hartsfield's original victims. The cops, or at least Pete's new partner, are ready to close the case, but Hodges is not so sure that there's not more to the women's deaths. He and Holly begin their own investigation and the game is on. It's really hard to say much more without giving too much away, and I would recommend that anyone considering the book, ignore the tease on the cover, which does give way too much away.

I enjoyed the first two books in this series, but this one not so much. I hasten to say that this is certainly much more my fault than the author's. This is one of those books where I can recognize that the book is generally well done and that it will appeal to a large number of readers. But, unlike the first two books in the trilogy which were fairly straight-forward crime novels, this one bends the genre in ways that just didn't work for me. In short, I'm really not the audience for this book.

I would argue that the book is about a hundred pages too long. It seemed to drag and to get a bit repetitive, but again, that may just reflect the fact that I wasn't really enjoying it and was waiting for it to be over. Certainly no one should avoid this book because it didn't work for me; the scores of other much more favorable reviews would certainly indicate that it did work for a lot of other readers.

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