End of Watch rounds out Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, following a retired detective and his ragtag band of friends as they fight crime in their hometown. This installment features the return of their original nemesis, Brady Hartsfield, as he renews his campaign of terror against vulnerable victims.
I feel like Stephen King enjoys flirting with the idea of crime novels, but struggles to fully commit – a suspicion first formed after reading The Colorado Kid and Joyland, and confirmed by End of Watch. The man just loves his supernatural too damn much. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing! Truth be told, I probably enjoyed End of Watch and all its telepathic weirdness more than the straight crime novel that kicked off the trilogy, Mr Mercedes. It just makes for a jarring transition, especially as the main characters all seem to roll with it, despite the mundanity of their universe.
I didn’t love this book. As a connoisseur of crime fiction, I had high hopes at the beginning of the series – hopes that were renewed somewhat by the second installment, but which overall just weren’t satisfactorily met. And when it comes to King’s own brand of weird, he’s done far better. There were no characters here I could really connect with in order to care about beyond surface level.
As an audiobook, End of Watch was an enjoyable listen that helped my walks to and from work fly by. It was far from my favourite King offering, but as ever, I can wait to read whatever he writes next.
[Read from 13-21 July 2016]