Book Review of Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Genre of Book: Thriller/Mystery
Author: Stephen King
PETE SAUBERS – teenager and son of Tom and Linda Saubers and older brother to Tina
RET.DET. BILL HODGES – retired police detective and head of his newly formed “Finders Keepers” private detective agency
HOLLY GIBNEY and JEROME ROBINSON – Hodges’s two rag-tag, mismatched and highly dependable cohorts
MORRIS BELLAMY – Resident bad guy, ex-con, thief and murderer
Our STORY begins:
In rural New Hampshire, 1978. Morris Bellamy and two friends are robbing an elderly man at gun point in his farmhouse.
This elderly man is John Rothstein. A very famous (and fictitious) author who wrote a trilogy of books sixteen years earlier starring the character Jimmy Gold. King eulogizes this trilogy in a way which made me think it akin to Lord of the Rings or the Starwars series.
The three delinquents in their early twenties force old Rothstein to give them the combination to his safe in his home.
Upon opening it, they find $20,000 cash and dozens of moleskin notebooks. Each is filled with notes on at least one novel (if not two) featuring Jimmy Gold.
Morris Bellamy promptly puts a bullet through the old man’s head and leaves with his buddies, cash and moleskins in tow.
Once on their way to freedom, Morris kills both of his companions at a rest stop. He’s far too smart to let his two dumb friends have a say in what happens to those moleskins.
Not too long after that, Morris ends up in jail on a charge completely unrelated to the theft and murder of the legendary novelist.
However, before he’s thrown in jail he buries his treasure with the dream of one day being released and finally having a chance to read the precious notebooks.
Fast forward to the year 2009 in a random city in midwestern USA. Enter Peter Saubers whose parents are going through an especially difficult time when he discovers by accident, a trunk full of cash and moleskins.
Over the course of several years he sends his parents the money anonymously. It saves the family from divorce and leaves him to deal with the potentially much more valuable notebooks, in secret.
This is where the book really starts to hum. As I read Finders Keepers, I felt like I was watching two trains speeding toward each other, unaware.
There’s no doubt they’ll collide. Just when and how hard are the only variables. It all feels like it’s happening in slow motion too.
What the AUTHOR Accomplishes:
Stephen King turns the screws on the tension with agonizing grace. Two thirds of the way through the book I thought, this guy is a master storyteller.
The book flipped back and forth between time frames. Morris Bellamy begins in 1978. While Pete Saubers starts in 2009. It takes many years; nearly thirty for Morris and four for Pete, but they finally meet for the showdown. We chew our nails to the quick as we watch these trains collide.
Finders Keepers is not only a great story but a real commentary on writing and reading in general. It speaks to the impact books can have on a culture from one of the best authors in the world.
Stephen King name drops living and historical authors alike throughout. Indeed, both the main protagonists (hero and villain) are lovers of books and deep appreciators of the craft of writing.
I found myself inspired while slightly revolted by the happenings.
By the end of the book I wanted Morris dead, but still had respect for his love of Rothstein’s work as he goes down in flames.
The Hiccups & Hitches:
My only criticisms of Finders Keepers come near the end.
I found the introduction of Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney and Jerome Robinson to be half hearted and not particularly well fleshed out.
**I didn’t realize until after I’d finished this book that it was the second in a series of three. **
The lack of clarity becomes more understandable once I discovered these characters had already been well established in the first book.
However, that seems to be the only trip up here in an otherwise stellar novel. I genuinely wish one of his beta readers or editors would have picked up on it before the final draft was sealed.
To RECOMMEND or NOT to RECOMMEND:
All in all, this is a superbly written story. King demands his characters dictate the action and direction of the story.
In doing so, the reader is treated to indelible characterizations that are both informative and self revelatory.
In Finders Keepers, King holds our feet to the literary fire. The hope is to ignite an internal denuding which inspires higher thought. It works.
Frankly, this book is a must read. I suspect the other two in the series will be as well.
I’m now finishing the first book in the series, Mr. Mercedes and fully intend to grab the third book once it’s released in the summer of 2016. I hope you will too. 🙂
I wish you many imaginative tales…
Contact: R. M. Robbins at firstname.lastname@example.org