This novel, the second in the Retired Detective Bill Hodges trilogy (which began with Mr. Mercedes ) had a strong story, but went too fast for my liking, as now I want another story with Detective Bill and his friends Holly and Jerome.
Basically, King crafts a story of a reclusive writer (I imagine he has crossed J.D. Salinger with John Updike for some of the details he creates for author John Rothstein). What begins in 1978 finishes over three decades later. Morris Bellamy, a lost young man with a semi-famous English professor mother and an absent father obsesses about Rothstein’s trilogy, which follows the maturation of Jimmy Cross. Bellamy decides to force his way into Rothstein’s life, looking for more stories about Jimmy, whose famous line, “shit don’t mean shit” becomes a sort of mantra for Bellamy. Decades later, Pete Saubers, who lives in Bellamy’s old house, becomes mixed up in the storyline. The difference between the two young men, however, is significant. There were times when I was reminded of King’s other novel about an obsessed fan, but this is remarkably different than Misery.
What I liked about this story was the attention to detail and strong characterizations. King knows how to draw you in and tell a story–you don’t want to leave once he begins to unravel the tale. Also, there are a number of Macbeth references in this one, which I particularly enjoyed. Near the end of the book, there are hints (supernatural ones, at that) about what the next (final?) book in the Detective Bill Hodges trilogy. It ends with a resounding click in the reader’s brain–the desire to have the third story immediately.