Title: Finders Keepers
Writers : Stephen King
My Rating: 3 on 5
Finders Keepers is the name of the detective agency run by Bill Hodges, who is a retired policeman. This is the second book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, something I did not know when I read the book. I read it as an independent book in itself and I really didn’t miss the background story of the first book.
The story has a book lover, Morris Bellamy, at the center who is obsessed with Jimmy Gold, a fictitious character brought to life by the author Rothstein. Morris loves the first book in the Gold trilogy, but is upset about how the author turns Jimmy’s character in the next two books. When he learns that Rothstein has been writing for more than a decade without publishing anything, he has a sliver of hope that Jimmy’s character has been redeemed in the unpublished books. Morris stages a burglary in which he steals all of Rothestein’s unpublished work and cash and ends up murdering the author. He buries his loot at a deserted place near his house but before he can reap the benefits of his theft, he is sentenced to prison for life for another unrelated crime which he commits under the influence of alcohol.
While Morris is living out his life in prison with Rothestein’s books being the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel, we also follow Pete’s life whose family ends up living in the same house which was Morris’s house once. Pete discovers the buried treasure by accident and he puts it to good use. He uses the money to bring his family out of financial and emotional pit and he devours Routhstein’s books.
Our detective Hodges enters the scene just when these two stories meet. Hodges plays a not so crucial role in tying the loose ends together. We also get a glimpse of Brady, who is the evil protagonist from the first book in the trilogy. Brady steals a car and runs over a few people at a job fair and one of the people affected is Pete’s father. That is how this book is connected to the first book, but this connection is insignificant.
I loved the book’s plot – to have character/book obsession at the center of the plot is something new. I was shocked to find myself relating so well to Morris – am I borderline obsessed too? There definitely are weak points – Pete and Morris ending up at the same house, both sharing the same love (read obsession) for the same character, Pete ending up finding the treasure – too many coincidences, but, well, that’s what makes the story interesting.
The weakest point is the climax. There is so much of build up to the story’s peak point when Pete meets Morris (even the chapter has an ominous name – boy and the wolf or some such thing) and the actual moment falls like a thud. The end is predictable but King could have made it more plausible.
This is unlike the other crime thrillers where the reader also does not know who the culprit is and the reader is in the same phase as the detective, trying to decipher the clues and figuring out who the culprit is. With this book, the reader knows all along who it is and how the stories are connected. Despite this, there is an element of curiosity – more about what happens next rather than whodunnit. What should have been the icing on the cake – the climax – is disappointing, thus it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
I am not a big fan of Stephen King – I stay away from his supernatural thrillers, so I don’t know how his other books are. Compared to the other crime thrillers I have read – this not the best, but an average read.