Dora Reads is the book blog of a Bookish Rebel, focussed on the nerdy side of life, and providing passionate support of the Diversity Movement in all things bookish.
Mental health advocacy and Queer views abound!
Reading is awesome - and we're gonna spread it to EVERYONE! :)
It's actually very different in terms of tone to Mr Mercedes - the central crime-fighting team takes a bit of a back-seat to the plot here - but I actually would recommend reading Mr Mercedes first, rather than reading this as standalone.
(This advice is coming to you from someone who reads most series in a random order according to mood and what book was in the library.
So people who like things organised - and you know who you are - you will definitely want to read Mr Mercedes first.)
This though, is not a book that's that much about our main characters.
I know, that sounds crazy. But this is a book where the central characters of this series are very much in the background.
Instead, our focus is on a decades-old crime, (which, a la Mr Mercedes, we already know the perpetrator of,) and it's unforeseen affect on a teenager from the present day.
This is a tale of literary obsession which bookish folks will recognise as the potential frightening extremity of fandom. This is about the power of words, and people who will literally kill to possess them.
Because this is what happens when the teenage Peter Saubers finds the missing notebooks of a murdered literary genius. This is what happens when the person who hid them wants those notebooks back...
This isn't for the faint of heart - but then, it's Stephen King; even though it's not horror as such, you probably guessed that it was going to be dark.
I found the final showdown pretty disturbing, in honesty. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing ;) But yeah, I actually flinched; it was pretty damn vivid.
There's loads of violence, a shed-load of swearing, and slurs of various sorts from some pretty horrible people.
There's also a lot of reference to rape - there's a lot of rape-as-incidental-plot-point in this book. It's not gratuitous, but it's also very uncomfortable.
I'm glad that black character Jerome is phasing out his jive-talking alter-ego (who consciously came out whenever Jerome decided to act like a jack-a*s,) because that was one of the things that bugged me most about the previous book.
A white dude writing a black character who liked to mock negative stereotypes by inhabiting those stereotypes was a very fine line to tread, and I'm glad that aspect of Jerome's character seems to be falling by the wayside.
I still love our female crime-fighter Holly - the sidekick to main character, ex-cop Bill. She's fab.
She's strong, smart, and has OCD and anxiety problems. And she still kicks a*s.
Allow me to indulge myself in an awesome heroine with mental health problems, ok? ;)