The novel starts off with an great premise—a killer drives a Mercedes into a crowd, kills 8 and maims several others, and mysteriously gets away. The retired detective who had been assigned to the case gets a letter from the killer, taunting him, trying to goad him into the suicide the former cop has already been considering. But he only draws the former lawman out of his depression and sends him in pursuit.
The writing is great. Vivid characters and a nice amount of foreshadowing. I found myself realizing certain things were going to happen and dreading when they eventually came. The banter between the detectives was refreshing. I even liked Hodges and his teenaged neighbor (his name escapes me at the moment). The whole thing had a moment-by-moment, Law & Order feel.
The bad guy. I understand the necessity to have clear delineation between good and bad, but the bad guy was over-the-top bad. I’m not objecting to the use of the ‘n-word’, but there was a ton of it when he referred to anyone black. It makes me feel like a fuddy-duddy to write it, but for me, that was too much. I would have gotten some just to make it clear this killer was a racist too, but sheesh.
Also, this story was very reminiscent of 11/22/63. It just had a feel of pursuing the killer who always seemed just out of reach. I did like the story, actually, a lot, but it never seemed to become its own entire story. Maybe because that book is just so fresh on my mind, but I find myself wanting to go back and listen to that again (I’ve already listened twice), but it would feel pointless to listen to this book a second time.
And How Did I Feel About That…
I liked this story, despite the bad. King’s writing alone and incredible ability to set a scene and a mood really carries this beyond just being rehash of another, superior novel. If you read it, you’ll like it, but you’ll appreciate it more if you read it before 11/22/63.