Buy Finders Keepers
Special price $23.27 Regular price: $30.00
Reviewer: Melissa on July 9, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Wake up, genius.” So begins Stephen King’s most recent exploration of a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, the iconic author who created the famous, nonconformist character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published anything in nearly two decades. Morris Bellamy is furious, mainly because the last Jimmy Gold novel saw his favorite character sell out for a career in an advertising agency. Morris kills Rothstein and empties the money from his safe, but for this one-time fan, the real treasure trove is the pile of notebooks, which contain at least one more Gold novel. After burying the booty in a trunk, Morris is given a life sentence for an unrelated crime. Decades later, a 13-year-old boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue Pete and his family from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s granted parole after thirty-five years. Once again King gives fans a new story about an obsessive reader, a theme that he hasn’t explored since Misery, but this time our favorite band of crime-solving characters from Mr. Mercedes are along for the ride. Finders Keepers is an intense novel that will keep your heart pounding, but is simultaneously a great example of how literature can forever alter a life – for good or bad.
Last summer, I read and fell in love with Mr. Mercedes, which is King’s homage to Psycho and “A Rose for Emily.” In other words, Finders Keepers was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 when I realized that Bill Hodges’ story would be a hardboiled fiction trilogy and not a standalone novel. And it didn’t disappoint. In fact, King’s most recent detective novel solidified my long-standing belief that writers of popular, contemporary genre fiction can be masters of metafiction and have an equal understanding of what it takes to be a great writer and a lifelong reader. In the moments where Pete first falls in love with Jimmy Gold series, King provides an insight into how the love of reading begins:
For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers – not just capable of doing it […], but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels. The first book that does that is never forgotten, and each page seems to bring a new revelation, one that burns and exalts: Yes! That’s how it is! Yes! I saw that, too! And, of course, That’s what I think! That’s what I FEEL! (136)
When I read this passage, l was transported to the books that made me into a lifelong reader myself, calling to mind whatever I’d retained from their plots, the way they made me feel, and the original covers that made me pick them up in the first place. At the same time, however, I found myself thinking, “Yes! That’s how it is!” because King had perfectly encapsulated the thing that connects one reader to the book they’re reading, whether for the first, hundredth, or thousandth time.
What makes this story, which is, in part, an extended metaphor about readers even more perfect is how King constructs the characters of Morris and Pete as perfect foils for one another. They both went through financial hardship during their formative years, necessitating a move to the same home on Sycamore Street. They even slept in the same bedroom and played at the same rec centre before it was closed in a cost saving measure. And, most importantly for a novel that centers on an obsessed reader, they both fell in love with reading, especially the Jimmy Gold trilogy. In fact, they both didn’t just fall in love with this series – they were both completely obsessed with it, reading the novels over and over. In addition, they both met characters, who criticized their opinions of the books as being naïve: Morris’ mother and Pete’s sophomore English teacher, Mr. Richer, respectively. Despite the things that connect them, readers will find that there are fundamental differences about these characters as well, things that cement one in the role of protagonist and the other as antagonist. To avoid giving away any spoilers, I’ll let you read this first and come to your own conclusions about what accounts for the different ways they react as King’s novel unfolds.
Finally, Finders Keepers demonstrates King’s masterful ability to slowly increase the tension until the reader’s heart is left pounding long after they’ve read the last page. To say that this novel is intense wouldn’t begin to cover it. Even better – King piqued my interest in the last book and gives readers an inkling of how the stakes will be, once again, raised for the conclusion of his series. I don’t know when End of Watch, the last book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy, will be published yet, but it’s already on my Goodreads TBR for a reason.
Bonus points for YA lovers: Tina Saubers, Pete’s little sister, reads Veronica Roth’s Divergent while the tension mounts and says that her mom promised to bring her to see the Divergent movie staring Shailene Woodley and Theo James. Love seeing shout-outs to YA books and YA movie adaptations that I enjoyed by popular adult authors!
Buy Finders Keepers today and benefit from 22% off the regular price!