Saturday, July 4, 2015

Book Review: "Finders Keepers" by Stephen King

I thought Stephen King and I were on a roll. 11/22/63 was one of the best books I read in 2011, and I enjoyed Revival and Mr. Mercedes as well. I really wanted to like Finders Keepers, the second book in a trilogy (along with Mr. Mercedes), but it left me underwhelmed.

Not that it didn't start with a tremendous amount of promise. The book begins in 1978, when young criminal Morris Bellamy decides to rob John Rothstein, a famous author in J.D. Salinger-esque reclusive mode, who wrote a trilogy of books featuring nonconformist hero Jimmy Gold. But Morris was offended that the trilogy ended with Jimmy selling out, so he decided that not only would he find out whether Rothstein had written anything else in his more than 20 years of literary silence, but in Annie Wilkes-like fashion, he also would confront the author about the direction in which he took his iconic character. The confrontation doesn't end well for Rothstein; Morris kills him and takes all of his hidden money and the hundreds of notebooks Rothstein has filled through the years. He has no time to savor this, however; he hides all of his spoils in a trunk and then promptly gets himself arrested again and imprisoned for 25 years.

Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers, who coincidentally is living in Morris' childhood home, stumbles upon the hidden trunk. The found money proves the answer to his family's financial troubles, and he is absolutely transfixed by the opportunity to read the unpublished fourth Jimmy Gold novel. But this is a Stephen King novel, so you know that upon Morris' release from prison, he is going to come looking for his hidden treasure, and he won't take lightly the fact that it's gone. It takes the return of the crime-detecting trio from Mr. Mercedes—Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson—to figure out what is happening and save Pete and his family before it's too late.

It's funny, but writing this plot synopsis makes me wonder what's wrong with me that I didn't enjoy this book more. Maybe it was Morris' character seemed a little rote to me, or maybe I never bought into Bill, Holly, and Jerome as a trio of crime fighters in the first place. I felt that once the trio came into the picture about halfway through the book, it lost a lot of its steam, because in order for the characters to get up to speed with what had been happening, the story had to essentially be retold to them. While there are some twists and turns, and King has definitely set the scene for the final novel in the trilogy in quite an intriguing fashion, I just felt that the whole thing took to long to unfold.

Other Goodreads friends have rated this highly, so if you're a King fan and you've been intrigued by this book, definitely give it a shot. I'll nurse my disappointment and still pick up his next book that isn't part of the trilogy, so we're all good.

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