BOOK REVIEW: End of Watch by Stephen King

written by David Steffen

End of Watch is a speculative mystery book by Stephen King, the third in a series of mystery books about retired detective Bill “Kermit” Hodges.  The first book in the series is Mr. Mercedes, the second book is Finders Keepers.  The nature of the series means that I can’t really describe the contents of this book without major spoilers for the other books, especially Mr. Mercedes.  So, if you don’t want those spoiled, stop right here.

In Mr. Mercedes a dozen people were killed lining up early in the morning for a local job fair by a stolen car plowing through the line, and police are baffled.  But when the killer tries to goad depressed retired detective Bill Hodges into committing suicide, Hodges finds a new reason to live as he sets out to catching him.  With the help of his neighbor Jerome Robinson and newly-made friend Holly Hodges, they catch the killer–Brady Hartsfield just before he sets off a suicide bomb in the middle of a pop concert filled with teenage girls.  Holly clocks him over the head with a sock full of ball bearings and puts Hartsfield in a coma.

In End of Watch, Brady is waking, and there’s something different about him.  The nurses complain that things move around his room when no one is touching them.

Meanwhile, Hodges’s old police partner Pete brings him and Holly (who run detective agency Finders Keepers) to the scene of an apparent suicide.  There’s something fishy about the suicide doesn’t seem right to Pete.

As you might guess, suicide is a prevalent and recurring element of this book, so if that’s a topic you have trouble reading about, you should just skip this book entirely.

It’s hard to talk too much more about it, because a lot of the book is discovering all the details about it.  It’s a solid character story and the sections following the villain are straight-up horrific.

This is a solid finish to the story started in Mr. Mercedes (after a not-bad but extremely tangential second book), the book as a whole is a decent Stephen King books.  The ending I found a little bit weak but the rest of the book more than makes up for it.

Published by

David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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