Name: Finders Keepers
Author: Stephen King
Number of Pages: 371 (Hardback)
Published: 2nd June 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Mystery, Crime
1978: Meet Morris Bellamy, a reader obsessed by novelist John Rothstein, the reclusive genius who created the celebrated fictional character Jimmy Gold.
Morris is livid – not just because Rothstein has stopped writing but because he has made the nonconformist Jimmy sell out for a career in advertising. Morris breaks into Rothstein’s house and empties his safe of cash. But the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel – and Morris is prepared to kill for them. Later, he goes to jail for another crime but not before he has hidden the spoils.
2009: Meet young Pete Saubers, whose father was brutally injured by a stolen Mercedes while he was queuing at a job fair. When Pete discovers a buried trunk containing the money and notebooks, he realises he has the means to rescue his family from poverty. If he can keep it secret…
2014: Morris is up for parole. And he’s hell-bent on recovering his treasure. That’s when retired detective Bill Hodges – who has set up a company called ‘Finders Keepers’ – is asked to investigate. Together with colleagues Holly Gibney and Jerome Robinson, Hodges must rescue Pete from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris…
Not since Misery has King written with such visceral power about a reader with such a dangerous obsession. Finders Keepers is spectacular suspense, and it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life – for good, for bad, for ever. – from Goodreads
Finders Keepers is the second book in a trilogy featuring retired detective Bill Hodges and his colleagues Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney. In Finders Keepers the trio don’t make an appearance until over 100 pages in, as the tale of Morris Bellamy and Peter Saubers is established.
Their narrative is built around the power of books and stories. In the 1970s Morris Bellamy is a lost young man, down on his luck, with an absent father and an over-achieving mother. He finds solace in the tales of Jimmy Gold by John Rothstein. He becomes obsessed with the author and disappointed when Rothstein takes his lead character on a route Morris doesn’t believe was right. Driven by his obsession Morris seeks out the now-reclusive author, with devastating results.
The consequences of that murderous night during which Bellamy discovers a trove of unpublished manuscripts featuring his beloved Jimmy Gold will reach all the way to the present day and affect the life of young Peter Saubers, who stumbles upon the prized manuscripts hoarded away by the desperate Bellamy so many years previously.
The tension builds as Bellamy, convicted of another crime and sent to prison for a number of years, becomes more obsessed and driven. Having spent so much time in prison unable to reach his hoard of notebooks and cash, he goes in search of them after his release. Inevitably he will cross paths with Pete, who already has so much to deal with.
I liked Pete a lot. He tries his best to help his family during a tough time, and even when he is in over his head with dodgy book dealer Andrew Halliday Pete is quick thinking. One of his negotiations with the book dealer was so tense – what great writing!
It is upon the exit of Halliday and the re-emergence of the obsessed and increasingly dangerous Bellamy that you release what he‘s truly up against.
The story builds to a thrilling conclusion and showdown, but I felt a little sad at the eventual fate of the notebooks.
Would it matter if you picked up Finders Keepers without having read Mr. Mercedes?
At first I thought possibly not.
Events of Mr. Mercedes are referenced to refresh our memories, and would serve to give enough background info for a new reader, so it depends whether you mind spoilers and whether you want to read Mr. Mercedes later on.
Then I reached the end and changed my mind – yes, read Mr. Mercedes first!
I think certain characters may return to the forefront in the final book of the trilogy in a potentially amazing way. I loved that ending and the hints of what may be to come, especially the possibility of the supernatural – that’s the kind of writing I love in a Stephen King book, so I can’t wait to see where he takes this great trio next, and the nature of their adversary. I have a feeling the final book could be brilliant.