Tuesday, September 1, 2015

'Finders Keepers'

Little Stevie Kings gets me every time.  

Just when I think he's touched on the distinctive human experience, minus the horrors, he proves that life is nothing but horror.  Everything we go through is nothing but horror; worrying about our children getting home before curfew, not getting called to the principal's office when our kids have done wrong.  The dreaded call from the police when our children have decided to end the constant suffering.

Yeah, it affects me every time.  And I love him for it.  I get in touch with myself, with my daughter.  His current series intrigues me with its compassion and humanity.  I love you, Little Stevie King.  I hope to speak with you some day. Apart from the public, the conventions, the signings.  I'd love to speak with you in a coffee shop; cups in hand, Tabitha sitting back, listening to our exchanges.  You're a real guy.

So, as a sequel (somewhat) to his marvelous 'Mr. Mercedes', I find a great settling of the 'chills' from his previous novel.  But I still don't trust it.  I know there's something dark and thrilling waiting for me.

"Wake up, genius!" Stephen King has written a riveting story about a vengeful reader.  The genius  is John Rothstein, who created a famously beloved character (think Salinger's 'Catcher in the Rye'), Jimmy Gold, but who hadn't published a book in decades.  One of Rothstein's most faithful fans kills him because his non-conformist character, Gold, has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein, maybe for cash, but his real point is the treasure trove of notebooks that contain at least one more Gold novel.

But Morris hides the money and notebooks before he lands up in jail for a previous crime. Decades later, a young boy by the name of Pete Saubers, finds the money and the novels (and whose father is injured in the previous novel, 'Mr. Mercedes').  Pete discovers he is being rescued by the previous team of Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson from Morris, who is released after 35 years, and wants his money and his notebooks back.

King's follow-up to 'Mr. Mercedes' is all real, yet fictional, experience; the sweat and tears, the terror, the horror of finally facing up to the final altercation.

But they highlight the infamous Brady Hartsfield in slight little references.  But the reader knows that he will be the focus of the last book in this trilogy.  And that's where the horror comes in.  Fully-fleshed out.  Fully realized, as only King can do.

But 'Finders Keepers' is a rather mundane story.  Kid finds notebooks and money.  Criminal who found it and buried it decades ago.  Criminal is released from jail and begins a journey in order to get back the precious notebooks (he's not concerned about the money).  Kid who refuses to give it all back.  That's the power of this story.  Who deserves it.  Who would use it for their better selves.

King constantly astounds me.  What is good?  And what is bad?  But, most of all, I'm so glad he's provided a sense of the supernatural.  Because that is what makes him so significant, so 'branded'.  I love his horror novels; no one else can convey a special horror as well as Stephen King.

Author Stephen King
It is his sense of every day horror confronted in every day life that has terrified me for so long. His book, 'Gerald's Game' has left me with a strange sense of claustrophobia.  

His brilliance in creating real characters, people we'd see on an almost daily basis, is what always surprises me.  These are people who are 'real'. Breathing, consistent, actual human beings.

That is his genius.  He makes us care.  And you'll care a lot when you read the first two books in his 'Mr. Mercedes' trilogy.

But I'm scared to read that third book. That's how good Stephen King really is. He brings darkness into the sunniest day.

Stephen King's new novel, 'Finders Keepers', ISBN 978-1-50110-0007-9, is available at your local library and favorite independent bookstore.  But make sure you read 'Mr. Mercedes' first.  You'll thank me.  

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