Owen and Stephen King Sleeping Beauties Tour

“He’s so fucking weird.”

That’s what Owen King said about his father, Stephen King, when asked a question during their September 30th appearance at The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. The two writers made a stop in my hometown promoting their new novel Sleeping Beauties and I was able to grab a few tickets to the show.

As a lifelong S.K. fan I was beyond thrilled at finally having a chance to see King in the flesh. Their new book is about what happens if all the women in the world fell asleep and kept on sleeping. They didn’t talk too much about the book, focusing more on the interaction between themselves. It was more like listening to two friends hang out and talk to each other. Father and son clearly have a good, close relationship and they played well off of each other.

The elder King had recently turned 70 and the younger King joked about the olders memory and then pulled out the Stephen King trivia book. Stephen is a prolific writer with well over 50 books, many of which have dozens and dozens of characters in each book. Impressively Stephen got three of four questions about Misery correct. It was fun to watch S.K. answer one right away, pause for a beat with two, and fail on one.

The last part of the show was for audience questions. And of course the lines at the mics were insane. Given Stephen’s popularity, almost all questions were for him. I felt a bit bad for Owen on this but S.K. did a wonderful job at answering questions while also bringing Owen into the response or finding a way to have Owen respond. There were a few cringe worthy questions but those were handled with respectful deflection by both authors.

The night went fast and was everything I hoped it would be. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to see S.K. in person and to finally have the dream come to fruition was incredible. The night ended on a really high note for me. All attendees got a book with their tickets and 400 books were signed by both writers. These signed books were randomly given out as the audience was leaving and I was fortunate enough to receive a signed copy (A friend who attended the show with me received one as well!). Fullfilling another lifelong dream – to have a signed book by Stephen King. Needless to say my night was made. An appearance I will always fondly remember and a book I will treasure. This constant reader could not have been more happy.

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Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes

Stephen King is by far my favorite author.  Every time I hear he has a new book coming out I just can’t wait to pick it up and read.  His latest novel is Mr. Mercedes and it did not disappoint.Mr. Mercedes

If you’re looking for a King horror book, this isn’t the one to get – Mr. Mercedes is more along the lines of  a suspense/thriller book.  There are no scary monsters, cars that come to life on their own, or a telepathic type power that can kill at will.  The scary monsters are all too human and the car, while the weapon that harms, maims, and kills is a car, it’s not one that acts of its own accord.

The book starts out with the action that spurs the story line.  A classic Mercedes plows into a large group of unemployed people lining up and waiting for a job fair to start.  Somehow the driver escapes without a trace, even though he leaves the car behind.  The killer is dubbed “Mr. Mercedes”

Next we meet recently retired Detective Bill Hodges.  His retirement is one of boredom, monotony, and borderline depression.  One day Bill receives a letter from Mr. Mercedes which snaps Bill out of his rut.  He’s invigorated and feels as though he once again has a purpose.  The retired detective is compelled to investigate the case he wasn’t able to close before retiring.  He pulls in a trusted neighbor/handyman to help with the investigation, while at the same time using his police contacts to help, albeit, dipping in the realm of hiding evidence from those same contacts.  Hodges also makes a connection with the sister of the women who owned the Mercedes used in the killing.  This connection brings him into contact with an unexpected and valuable resource.  This leads to a fun trio of “investigators” who work well together and compliment each other in any areas the other is lacking.the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-button

I really enjoyed this book – it had a quick pace and kept me interested.  I had laughed at myself when I picked up the book and thought “this feels light and seems kind of short”.  The book is over 400 pages.  If you’re a regular King reader you know a lot of his books are long.  So, a 400 page book seems like nothing compared to the usual.  I think Stephen King has evolved as a writer over the years.  He’s always been good, but as time has progressed, you can see how he’s become more of a nuanced writer.   He can still give his constant readers the horror stories they love and have come to know him for, while at the same time give those same readers something a little different and new.

This constant reader highly suggests this book if you’re a fan of Stephen King.  Even if you’re not, this may be one to pick up.  It’s not the horror King is known for.  It’s well written, light on the number of characters and interesting.  King has made it known Mr. Mercedes is the first in a trilogy so fair warning for those who don’t like to read a book just to wait for the next one to come out. The ending of this book didn’t feel like an open ending, so I’d say it’s safe to read it right now!