A fan so obsessed with an author that he’s willing to kill that author in order to seek vengeance. Vengeance solely for the fact he didn’t like the direction of the last book and that the author hasn’t published anything new in years. That’s the basic premise in Stephen King’s most recent novel Finders Keepers. Morris Bellamy, the obsessed fan, does the unthinkable and breaks into author John Rothstein’s home, in order to find notebooks of unpublished material Rothstein is rumored to keep in his home. And oh, there’s some money too, but that’s only an extra bonus for Bellamy. It’s the unpublished material Bellamy is most concerned with. The material that could contain more about his favorite character: Jimmy Gold. After the break-in, murder of Rothstein, and subsequent theft of said notebooks and cash, Bellamy stashes his bounty with plans to read the notebooks at a later date. Bellamy, being a criminal, ends up getting locked up for another crime, causing him to be separated for years from the one thing he believes will give him satisfaction.
Flash forward a few decades to come across Pete Saubers. Pete’s dad was a victim of the Mr. Mercedes attack and his dad has been out of work since then due to the injuries he sustained. Pete’s mom and dad are pushed to the brink financially and emotionally. The stress of living off of one paltry income is getting to them and they argue quite often. During one of these arguments Pete runs out and retreats to the path behind his house. He stumbles upon something buried and finds Bellamy’s buried treasure. The money can help his family out but the notebooks are what eventually capture Pete’s attention. This puts him on a collision course with Bellamy. Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson (the detective trio from Mr. Mercedes) must find a way to help Pete avoid a deadly encounter due to his find.
Finders Keepers is the second book in the Mr Mercedes trilogy. However this second book didn’t read or feel like it was part of a trilogy. Yes there are connecting factors but this book does a good job of standing on its own. The first third of the book didn’t even reference Mr. Mercedes, instead telling Bellamy’s story. I found this refreshing since it allowed this book to not fall into any standard trilogy trope (this is what happened before, and these people are, etc.). Even the appearance of the detective trio didn’t take center stage. This was more about Bellamy and Saubers and how obsession can ruin a life if you let it. This is the second time King writes about fan obsession and it was good to see he took a different approach this time. Every fan is different and a separate plot from a previous work is key to making the book interesting.
This isn’t King’s best work, it was a fun read but not quite on par with some of King’s better books. Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed this book and I think most King fans and non-fans will as well. There was a good pace and the story-line never felt bogged down. The ending seems to allude to a potential thread into the third book so it will be interesting to see how all three fit together when the final book comes out.
As is usually the case with King books, this Constant Reader was very happy to have read this book and is looking forward to what comes next.