Well, looky here folks…
Christmas came over six months early this year!
Um no, my birthday is in June and it is an awesome day but that’s not what I’m talking about!
Nope, the master has graced us with a new book! And a couple weeks before my birthday…how considerate of him!
And Finders Keepers was a great gift. Not that anything was wrong with Mr. Mercedes, but oh man, Finders Keepers! If Finders Keepers is what I got for my upcoming (eek) 37th birthday, then I can’t imagine what my present (The Suicide Prince) for my 38th birthday will be like…already looking forward to next year’s
birthday release of the third book in this series. Thanks Uncle Stevie, you know me too well!
But seriously, Finders Keepers was a fantastic read, and really does have me excited for the release of the third and final book.
With all that being said, here is my review of Finders Keepers…
And as always…
Finders Keepers begins with a murder in 1978. The reader is introduced to Morris Bellamy, who is obviously troubled. Morris and his friends break into the home of John Rothstein, who is a famous writer admired by Morris. Morris and his friends steal cash from Rothstein, and Morris also takes some notebooks belonging to Rothstein that contain letters, musings and even a draft to a novel. Morris becomes upset at Rothstein for what he believes is the wrong treatment of a characters in Rothstein’s novels, and murders him. Morris and his friends escape, but Morris then murders his friends, and hides the cash and notebooks in the woods near his house. Morris is later imprisoned on unrelated charges, and spends over 30 years in prison.
The novel then shifts shifts to 2009, and tells the story of Tom Saubers and his family. Tom is unemployed and desperately seeking employment, so he attends a job fair in his city. Tom becomes one of the victims of the Mercedes Massacre when he is injured by a Mercedes that is deliberately driven into the crowd waiting in line at the job fair. The driver turns out to be Brady Hartsfield, who is later apprehended when he tries to place a bomb at a concert. Tom and his family were suffering before the Mercedes Massacre, but their situation becomes even worse, as Tom is unable to work. The family is forced to move and fears losing their home. The oldest child, Peter, becomes worried about his parents and fears their financial situation will cause them to divorce. Peter takes a walk in the woods near his house one day, and finds the cash and notebooks buried by Morris Bellamy. Peter finds a way to make it appear that the cash is being anonymously mailed to his family, and the family receives several hundred dollars in cash per month for the next four years. Pete considers selling the notebooks of John Rothstein, as his family is still needy, and speaks to an owner of a used bookstore, Andrew Halliday. Andrew also happens to be a former friend of Morris Bellamy. Andrew threatens Peter and attempts to blackmail Peter into handing over the manuscripts, but Peter stands firm in his insistence that Andrew share in any proceeds he receives for the notebooks. Peter then hides the notebooks at a recreation center.
In the meantime, Morris is paroled from prison, and begins to wonder about the money and the notebooks that he buried so many years ago.
The story then switches over to the perspective of Bill Hodges, the primary character in Mr. Mercedes. Hodges has now opened his own detective firm called Finders Keepers, and specializes in apprehending fugitives, especially ones that have defrauded wealthy people. He is assisted by Holly Gibbey, another character in Mr. Mercedes, who also happened to be the cousin of Janey, the woman who Hodges had a brief relationship with, before she was killed by a car bomb that was meant for Hodges. Jerome Robinson, the third member of the trio, stays in touch with Hodges, but is attending Harvard and unable to assist Hodges with most of his cases. Hodges has also made several positive changes in his life, including adapting to a healthier diet and exercise program. However, he still feels remorse over the death of Janey and feels responsible for it. He also remains close to Jerome’s family, and is considered an honorary member of that family. Hodges visits Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes killer, in the hospital, every so often. Hartsfield is supposedly in a vegetative state, but Hodges sometimes doubts that Hartsfield is actually in that particular state.
Jerome’s younger sister Barbara pays a visit to Hodges in his office. Barbara brings Tina Saubers, the younger sister of Peter, with her, because she has heard a troubling tale from Tina. Tina has deduced that Peter is responsible for the “mystery money” and worries that her brother may have committed a robbery or other illegal act to obtain it. Tina tells the story to Hodges and to Holly, and also mentions that Peter may be in possession of some old notebooks. Hodges agrees he will speak to Peter when the next school day ends. Barbara also tells the tale to Jerome, who is back in town for the weekend, and Hodges and Jerome make a plan to follow Peter and confront him. Holly also spends time thinking about the new case, and believes that the notebooks may actually be an important detail.
Morris Bellamy tracks down his old friend Andrew, and confronts him at his bookstore. He threatens Andrew into giving up the name of the now owner of the stolen notebooks, and then beats Andrew to death in his own store.
Hodges confronts Peter outside of his high school, and tries to obtain information regarding the “mystery money.” However, Hodges is not successful in obtaining any information from Peter, and has Jerome tail him.
Peter enters the bookstore, and discovers the body of Andrew Halliday. He also encounters Morris Bellamy and is nearly shot by him, but manages to escape. Peter then contacts Hodges and arranges to meet him again, but takes a detour to his house, as he receives a call from Bellamy indicating that his family is in danger. Peter rushes home to find his mother shot in the head by Bellamy, and his younger sister kidnapped.
Peter tracks down Bellamy at the original hiding spot for the notebooks. Bellamy uses Peter’s younger sister as bait, and Peter leads Bellamy to the recreation center where the notebooks are hidden. Peter and Bellamy scuffle over the notebooks, and Peter douses them with gasoline to burn them. Hodges and his friends track down Peter and Tina, and are able to rescue them from the now burning recreation center. Morris is left in the recreation center, and is burned alive. The notebooks are also destroyed by the fire.
The story then moves ahead a few months. Peter’s mother has recovered from her bullet wound and is doing well. Tina has also recovered from her ordeal and has resumed a normal life. Peter has been offered a job by a major newspaper. The newspaper wants him to write summaries of the writings of John Rothstein, and will pay him $15,000 for the job. Jerome will be returning to college for his senior year. Holly has gained even more confidence and will take a trip to visit her mother on her own. Everyone is doing well, except for Hodges. Jerome and Holly worry that his fixation on Brady Hartsfield has become unhealthy.
Hodges makes another visit to the hospital to check on Hartsfield, after he receives news that a nurse has committed suicide under suspicious circumstances. Hodges also learns that some employees at the hospital believe that Brady has the power to move objects with his mind, as he has heard stories of odd things that seem to occur around Brady. Hodges pays another visit to Brady but nothing seems to have changed. However, once Hodges leaves Brady’s room, a picture falls over, confirming that Brady is not what he seems to be.
So let me start off by saying this: I liked Mr. Mercedes. I really did. I have a lot of like for Mr. Mercedes, in fact…
And I would also like to set the record straight on one other matter; I loved Finders Keepers! Much love for Finders Keepers!
For the record, this does not diminish my feelings for Mr. Mercedes in any way. I just happen to think that Finders Keepers is the stronger of the two books. And if the trend continues with the third book in the series, I may have to write another statement to reassure the master that my feelings for the other two books are still valid…
Last year, when I read Mr. Mercedes, I immediately thought of Bachman…
You know, Bachman? That guy who died of cancer of the pseudonym. Although we all know he is not really dead, he is actually still alive on the Sons of Anarchy level of the Tower, disposing of dead bodies as we speak and requesting that 80’s music be played while he is working…
In all seriousness, Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers have the feel of a Richard Bachman book. The story line is of the “real world” and the supernatural aspect is practically non-existent (although if the ending of Finders Keepers indicates what I think it indicates, that may change in the third book).
One of Bachman’s, er King’s, strengths as a writer is his ability to incorporate reality into his works, which makes them that much more believable. This is particularly evident in books like The Shining, in which themes such as financial problems, domestic abuse, alcoholism and divorce were prevalent.
Like The Shining, Finders Keepers was also rife with “real world” themes. And this Constant Reader could emphasize with the struggles of Peter and his family. I have lost my job. My husband has also lost his job. We came close to losing our house. We have had to rely on the kindness of friends and family to get by. Although our situation has much improved, I have not forgotten our struggles, and I never will. And if I had found a box full of money while out walking in my neighborhood (hey, work with me and suspend disbelief for just a minute), I would have used it to help my family, just like Peter. And I would have felt no guilt. The money may have had “blood” on it, but anyone who uses that kind of money to help his/her family is not a bad person in the slightest. I admired Peter in his conviction to help his family and keep it together. Because without family, what is there?
As I have mentioned before, Uncle Stevie has quite the sense of humor. And it will show up where it is least expected. You know, like in a book about a crazy obsessed fan who murders his favorite writer because he didn’t like the ending to the latest book?
Yes, Finders Keepers had some funny moments. Tina describes the arguments between her parents as “arkie barkies” (I am stealing that one, thanks Uncle Stevie!) “Shit don’t mean shit” was a popular phrase uttered throughout the book (imagine if we Constant Readers could get that one trending on social media!) And perhaps my favorite
no my mind is not in the gutter was the description of the act of copulation… in other words, a guy putting his “John Hopkins” into a woman’s “Sarah Lawrence”…good one there, Sai King!
Finders Keepers also incorporated an element of creepiness that was not present in Mr. Mercedes. Mr. Mercedes was a bit unsettling, and suspenseful, but the story took place before the obsession…
Well, maybe not quite like these two guys!
Maybe more like a certain friendly neighborhood gunslinger who spends his time chasing a man dressed in dark colors across a region that sees little rain?
Yes, Brady Hartsfield is the creepy element in this book. And Hodges
concern obsession (calling a spade a spade) is also unsettling. And the ending…whew! That ending left frightened for Hodges and anyone even remotely associated with Hodges (Hodges third cousin once removed better watch his/her back…you don’t mess with Brady Hartsfield!) I have a feeling that the third book in this series will deliver, and we are in for a bang (no pressure, Sai King. No pressure at all)! Brady Hartsfield was a bad enough guy before he slipped into a vegetative state (although the jury is still out on that), but Brady with PSI powers? Not good at all!
Writers and writing are a big theme in King’s works. The Dark Half talks about the effect of fiction on the writer. Misery discusses the effect of fiction on the reader. The Dark Tower series even takes a stab at this theme, as Stephen King is a character in his own books (that’s meta-fiction, for the uninitiated).
Finders Keepers continues on with these themes. Morris Bellamy becomes obsessed with John Rothstein, and that ultimately becomes his own un-doing. Peter also develops an obsession, and narrowly escapes being killed by that obsession. Obsession and addiction are also huge themes in King’s work (The Dark Tower series could be said to be a metaphor for the journey of an addict), and King successfully weaves these themes into Finders Keepers, adding a level of depth and richness, which makes a what appears on the surface to be a simple detective novel, into something that is far beyond a simple detective novel.
Christmas in June? Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! In other words, Finders Keepers works very well when one wants to celebrate Christmas in June. Or maybe Thanksgiving in June. And I am sure some culture has celebrated New Year’s Day in June. Or heck, get Finders Keepers if you want to give a Flag Day present to yourself!
Who am I kidding? New Stephen King books do not need a holiday behind them! So no matter what you celebrate, treat yourself and read Finders Keepers, and take a holiday into the awesomeness known as the Stephen King universe!
Again, here we go with the connections. There are enough of them in Finders Keepers to remind you that you are, in fact, reading a Stephen King novel. So here is what I found:
-Burt Hodges apprehends a criminal who has been accused of stealing a car (among other crimes). This vehicle just happens to be a Rolls Royce Wraith. The Rolls Royce Wraith also happens to be the vehicle owned by Charlie Manx, the main villain in the book NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. This connection is worth noting because there are tie-ins in Joe Hill’s work to King’s work, especially in NOS4A2. Charlie Manx is also mentioned in passing by Dick Halloran in the book Dr. Sleep, during a flashback experienced by Danny Torrance.
-Brady Hartsfield is housed in Room 217 in the hospital. 217 is also the room number to a famous haunted room in the novel The Shining.
-Andrew Halliday’s pin number consists of the digits 9118. 9+1+1+8 = 19. As most Constant readers know, 19 is a significant number to King and his work, especially to Roland and his friends in the last 3 books of the Dark Tower series.
-Pete Saubers’ mother refers to her son as a “do-bee.” “Do-bee” is a phrase used by Craig Toomey in the novella The Langoliers (which is a story in the collection Four Past Midnight), and also by Jack Mort in The Drawing of the Three.
-Andrew Halliday was the owner of a used bookstore and had an obsession with books, especially rare books. Another character in King’s work is the owner of a used bookstore and is obsessed with rare books: Calvin Tower in the Dark Tower series, who first appears in The Wastelands. It is possible that Tower and Halliday are Twinners of sorts, as both are owners of used bookstores, both are obsessed with rare books and both are even described as being overweight.
-Morris Bellamy is described as having lips that are extremely red. In the book Black House, the villain Charles Burnside is also described as having lips that are very red. This may be another example of people who are Twinners, or doppelgangers to each other.
-Brady Hartsfield has been in a comatose state, but appears to have awakened with PSI powers. This is similar to what happened to Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone, as Johnny awakened from a five year long coma with the ability to see future events. Brady’s powers are also similar to Carrie White’s telekinetic powers in the novel Carrie, as she had the ability to move objects with her mind.