mr. mercedes, stephen king, book review

A Sneak Peek Critique© & Full Book Review Of Mr. Mercedes By Stephen King (VIDEO)

Sneak Peek Critiques© are all about The first 8 LINES of any book.

Most editors & literary agents know if they want to keep reading a manuscript within those first 8 sentences.

So, today we take a look at Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.



Book Review of Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King


Title: Mr. Mercedes

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Thriller/Mystery – First Book in the Bill Hodges trilogy


Main Characters:

Det. Ret. Bill Hodges: Retired police detective after 40 years on the job. He’s divorced and has one grown daughter he has contact with only occasionally. 

Holly Gibney: 40ish, extremely insecure and has erratic behavior mostly because of the constant badgering by her mother. However, she’s very smart and great with computers. She’s the niece of the woman Bill is dating.

Jerome Robinson: In his late teens and about to graduate high school and go on to Harvard. He is also Bill’s landscaper and neighborhood computer whiz. Jerome and his family are African-American.

Brady Hartsfield: Mass murderer and innocuous looking, unsuspecting bad guy who works at Best Buy. He’s good with computers and lives with his mother (Deborah) who he has an unusually close relationship with.


In The Beginning

The book begins with a heart wrenching mass murder that kills at least 8 people and wounds many more. They are job seekers standing in line before the Job Fair opens for the day.

It’s early in the morning when a dark Mercedes suddenly hurls itself from the parking lot to plow down the unemployed. It’s sad on so many levels and feels waaay too real in this day and age.

King has always been good at poking at our primal fears.

He’s also been good at weaving a great story together and offering us a haunting glimpse into fictional characters that feel like our neighbors. And so it is in Mr. Mercedes.

King seems to excel at starting off a novel in two separate places. We are introduced most often the bad guy in the beginning. We’re shown his environment, he deeds (or The Deed) and some of his connections. We are then introduced to the hero. One or both of the characters are completely unaware of the other.


The Progression  

This sets the stage for the On-Coming-Train Effect as I have come to call it.  What I mean by that is the story will slowly converge like two trains coming toward each other. Neither conductor is aware that their trains are on the same track.

As we read we learn more about how the other train ended up on that track. We continue to watch them… converge. We know they will collide, but when? Where? Who will come out in the end and with what damage?

That’s how I felt reading Mr. Mercedes and in particular Finders Keepers. In fact, I find King’s writing to be more extraordinary now than ever.

He’s taken out a lot of the sensational gore in his writing and left in only the necessary blood. It doesn’t feel excessive yet it gets the job done. It’s just enough to make us uncomfortable, squeamish and avoid dark hallways. It’s just enough to make his “bad guy” ring frightfully true.


The Villain

So it is with Brady Harstfield. A sad little fellow we’ve all seen and most likely interacted with at the local big box retailer. Utterly generic. Devoid of charisma and steeped in desperation and denial. Who can’t relate to that on some level?

Hartsfield is one of the genre’s less flashy villains, yet he still makes our skin crawl. I hate spoilers in reviews so I won’t get too specific. What I will say is there’s an “unnatural” relationship with his mother and a thorough disconnect with empathy. Some people are born that way. Some people are made that way. In Brady’s case, it seems to be a combination of both.


The Hero

Ret. Det. Bill Hodges has left the force just six months prior with a nagging unsolved case. The perp of this case was dubbed Mr. Mercedes because of the murder weapon. Hodges left feeling thoroughly unsatisfied and stymied by their progress.

Hodges then receives a letter that (in his mind) opens the case for him again. Being almost computer literate forces Bill to reluctantly recruit two unlikely and worlds-apart sidekicks.

One is Jerome. Hodges’s teenage, African-American lawn-boy who’s smart as a whip and great with computers. And… the niece of the woman he briefly dates.

Holly’s nearly middle aged, acts a like a teenager and requires medication to keep her self sabotaging behavior in check. She is also smart as a whip and great with computers if completely socially inept.

In the end, they play a critical role in helping the retired detective hunt down the bad guy.


What The Author Accomplishes  

King makes this unlikely trio make sense to the reader. We can see them working together and it just works. Mostly because they all have respect for each other even if they don’t always understand one another.

Mr. Mercedes is a joy to read. King’s writing is akin to cranking the knob on a tap. The water starts out cool, then tepid, then flows out slightly hotter with every turn until it burns.

I think what makes King’s characters so compelling is his complete lack of condescension. He doesn’t pander to his characters. No matter how small or how large a part they play. They are unapologetically human. With all their flaws and levities exposed for the reader to see.

It’s as if his characters are saying, “Judge as you will, but we will be deemed real and therefore everlasting.”

I can tell you that is exactly what happens. You think of King’s characters and their doings long after you put the book down.

It’s the sign of an undeniable master of the medium. 

The Mr. Mercedes trilogy is absolutely worth the read.

I can’t wait to get started on the last book of the series… End of Watch.


This has been my Book Review Of Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Check out the book review of Memory Man by David Baldacci

Check out the book review of Finders Keepers by Stephen King


Wishing you much imagination…

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Fire & Fury: Inside The Trump White House – Book Review

Fire & Fury:

Inside The Trump White House

book review, fire and fury, trump book review, writing and editing

Title of Book:  Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House

Genre of Book: Political Non-Fiction


Michael Wolff

Main Character/s:

Donald J. Trump, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Hope Hicks, Cory Lewandowski, Roger Ailes, Paul Manafort,  and other close Trump family members and top political aides.

The Story Begins

I listened to Fire & Fury on and then wrote a book review Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House. 

That’s more than 11 hours on this story… and what a story it is.

What I found most interesting about Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House was the behind-the-scenes look at how decisions were made.

It’s kind of horrifying.

We’ve all seen and read the mainstream news reports on decisions being made in this current regime.

What Fire and Fury accomplishes is the fly-on-the-wall look at exactly how these decisions were made.

What seems to be undeniable is how much Trump leans on his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared for advice.

Nearly every major decision the White House made in the first 9 months of the term, especially in regard to key staffing positions, was heavily influenced by Ivanka and Jared.

Fire and Fury focuses on the first 9 months of Trump’s reign. This insider look comes from the author himself, Michael Wolff. He’s also a journalist who was asked by Trump to hang out at the White House and sit in on meetings.

Apparently, Trump thought this would be a great way of getting out first hand accounts of how well he was doing in his first year. Another obtuse presumption.


Fast & Furious Leaks

Wolff shows us in great detail how many of the top staff positions were made. This includes hirings and firings.

Wolff confirms the truth that information leaks were fast and furious, as they still are, coming from this administration. Everything we heard through the media is backed up in this book.

I don’t believe this book is ‘fake news.’

Wolff’s account of meetings and overheard comments jives with what was reported publicly.

When Wolff wasn’t in a meeting taking notes he stood outside and waited for the players involved in those meetings to come out.

Sometimes Wolff would [easily] over hear comments of what had just occurred in the meeting. Mostly because it seems no one was that discreet with their opinions.

When he wasn’t over hearing conversations he was talking to the players directly. Bannon especially seemed to be willing to grant him discussions offering [venting] his take on the situation.


A Title For Entitlement

What’s especially troubling is how blatantly Trump and his closest aides used their influence as incoming and eventually sitting political higher ups to further their business interests.

The sense of entitlement is shocking.

And when I say closest aides I mean his family members.

I was watching an internet based news show call TYT Network and one of the hosts mentioned how she thought Ivanka had married her father when she married Jared.

She made the point that both have many failed business ventures, they are both real estate developers and both carry significant debt.

Having said that it seems this entitled attitude will be this administration’s downfall.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are currently investigating Trump and his cronies.

Mueller has been tasked to see if [prove] they have broken laws regarding the constitution, finances, business and political campaigning etc.

The behavior of Trump, his sons, Jarvanka and Trump’s lawyers during the campaign and during his first few months of the term were outrageous.


The Man For The Job

Fire and Fury reveals much of this behavior as it played out in the White House during the transition and in the first few months.

Obviously, Robert Mueller and his team were not interviewed at any point for this book. However, his investigation into Trump’s illegal dealings did start during this time.

Probably one of the most prolific sources of information for Wolff about the Trump administration is Steve Bannon. Bannon was Trump’s White House Chief Strategist for the first 6 months of the term.

He left on bitter terms and mostly, according to the book, at the urging of Jarvanka. The nickname “Jarvanka” was coined by Bannon himself. He felt the first daughter and her husband were a duo who acted as one to support Trump.

The book reports how Bannon and Jarvanka often butted heads, even more so than he and Trump.


Wrapping Up This Book Review Fire and Fury

If you are a Trump fan you won’t like this book or the book review Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

However, if you can see what’s happening with your own eyes and believe most of what’s being said in the mainstream media then you’ll appreciate what Michael Wolff has done in this book.

It’s a long read, but I listened to 11 hours of it online. It’s definitely worth it if you’re curious. I know I certainly was. 🙂

Here is another link to the Fire & Fury audiobook on Audiobooksnow.combook review, fire and fury, trump book review, writing and editing

“Wishing You Much Imagination…”

Contact Red Robbin –

Find MORE book reviews here:

Full Book Review of James Patterson’s INVISIBLE

Review of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes

harry potter and the cursed child review

A Review Of HARRY POTTER & The Cursed Child – By Author JK Rowling {VIDEO}



I listened to an audiobook video on Harry Potter And The Cursed Child a couple of years ago.

The listening lasted several days as it’s over 6 hours long. {This audiobook was up on youtube and has since been taken down}

This is a PLAY that was performed on Broadway and other large theaters.

The reader is very good. He sounds highly professional and seems to have an authentic English accent.

Unfortunately, that’s basically the highlight of this otherwise very average story. That’s by Harry Potter standards of course.


The play focuses on the main characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione who are fully grown.

They now have children of their own who are off to Hogwarts.

The premise of this particular story relies heavily on the very last time turner in existence.


Much of the play is spent on the 5th book storyline…. Harry Potter The Order of The Phoenix.


In my opinion, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child  just doesn’t have the same magic as the rest of the Harry Potter series.


That could be because JK Rowling had two co-authors for this story.

I’m just not sure why a time turner of all things was used to be the catalyst for this story.


There are some interesting scenes with Harry and Ginny’s son Albus and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius.

Although, perhaps oddly, there seems to be some romantic undertones within the friendship between Albus and Scorpius.

There may be some underlying agenda here. Although, it doesn’t really matter to the overall storyline.

It just seems like a distraction in an already waning storyline.  I suspect Rowling’s two co-authors had something to do with this deviation. 


The Cursed Child? Or Children?

John Tiffany and Jack Thorne are known playwrights and authors.

I didn’t understand the direction this story went in. It just wasn’t that interesting. 

Rowling wrote all 7 of the Harry Potter books by herself.

We were spellbound. I know I was. Many nights I spent reading till the wee hours.  

ALL her books were met with this type of fascination.

In fact, each book built on the next and became more spell binding each time (pun intended).


The Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is playing in 5 major cites around the world.

Here are the links to book tickets in the theater near you. They all open in new tabs:

** This review was written in 2018. The information on playing dates will have changed by 2020.**


London at The Palace Theater –

New York at The Lyric Theater –

Melbourne at The Princess Theater  –

San Francisco – Curran –

 Hamburg, Germany – Theater am GrBmarkt –

Even though I found the storyline itself to be “average” for a Harry Potter book it has still won awards.


Find The Cursed Child on Pottermore below…


Here is a Review for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child from MovieFlame on youtube…

I couldn’t agree with him MORE…

Wishing you much imagination…

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Children’s Book Review of ‘Bedtime Battle’

Want to write a children’s book? Save time and avoid these mistakes….