Name: End of Watch
Author: Stephen King
Number of Pages: 354 (Hardback)
Published: 7th June 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Supernatural, Thriller
Retired Detective Bill Hodges now runs a two-person firm called Finders Keepers with his partner Holly Gibney. They met in the wake of the ‘Mercedes Massacre’ when a queue of people was run down by the diabolical killer Brady Hartsfield.
Brady is now confined to Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, in an unresponsive state. But all is not what it seems: the evidence suggests that Brady is somehow awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.
When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.
The clock is ticking in unexpected ways … – from Goodreads
I’m going to do my best to write this review without spoilers, but as End of Watch is the final book of a trilogy I’ll probably end up mentioning events from the previous books, so beware of potential minor spoilers for the previous books in this series. On to End of Watch…
And so comes the end of the Bill Hodges trilogy, and what an end it is; it left tears in my eyes.
I enjoyed Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers but they didn’t seem to have that extra bit of something. All that changed for me with End of Watch. It was my favourite of the three books, and even left me wanting to go back and read the whole trilogy again.
Bill Hodges and his nemesis Brady Hartsfield were always heading towards another encounter, plainly apparent at the end of Finders Keepers. I won’t spoil that book, but those last few pages left me eager for the release of End of Watch, because I imagined King would be going back to supernatural territory, and I always love that in his books. Sure enough, he does, and the result makes for a real page-turner, blending thriller and crime with the supernatural.
Brady resides in a brain injury ward, outwardly making little progress after being hit round the head to prevent him realising his plan to kill a stadium full of people at the end of Mr Mercedes. Bill Hodges has never quite given up the idea that Brady is faking his apparent mostly unresponsive state, and when there is a murder-suicide which links back to the Mercedes case, he believes Brady is somehow behind it, as impossible as that seems.
Bill and Holly investigate, and Jerome makes a welcome return to help after his own sister becomes involved (no, I won’t give anything away, don’t worry). I like the trio, but I especially like the dynamic between Holly and Bill. They work really well together, and make a great team, going to great lengths to ensure each other’s safety.
And Brady, he’s a great villain, causing chaos and mayhem even from the confines of his hospital bed where he’s apparently in a comatose state. The way he manages to set all his schemes in motion is sinister, as is his overall aim, which goes way beyond a stadium full of people this time. Brady Hartsfield has big plans, and an effective way to ensure they come to pass.
The final showdown was nicely done, and a fitting conclusion for a certain character. It’s so hard to talk about this without giving any spoilers!!
I read this book over the space of a few short days. It was so good I just kept promising myself one more page, one more chapter, and before I knew it it was over.
I can’t wait to see what Stephen King writes next.