Stephen King is one of my favourite writers. With the exception of The Dark Tower series – I’m not a fan of fantasy – I’ve read everything he’s written, ever since I picked up Salem’s Lot in 1979. And I’ll be sure to read the two sequels to Mr Mercedes when I can get round to them: the characters are likeable, the story-line is interesting.
But what I miss here is a sense of urgency. This is a ‘thriller’ and yet it doesn’t really thrill. Certainly not the way Under the Dome did; I read the final 600 pages of that in two days because I HAD to know how it turned out. I never felt that way about Mr Mercedes and its ambly-rambly pace. When I think of The Ascent of D13, with its brisk 157 pages, Mr Mercedes‘ 405 page count really does seem a little padded. There’s a story that King’s editor on Under the Dome kept saying, ‘Faster, Steve, faster!’ I wish she’d said it here.