cover image End of Watch

End of Watch

Stephen King. Scribner, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2974-2

After two straightforward crime thrillers, MWA Grand Master King (Finders Keepers) torques this third and final novel featuring retired detective Bill Hodges into his trademark terror territory. Hodges has long suspected that Brady Hartsfield, the brain-damaged mass murderer captured at the end of Mr. Mercedes, has been faking his catatonia, and his suspicions are reinforced by rumors circulating in Brady’s hospital ward (in what may be a Midwestern state) that he can move objects telekinetically. The truth is actually worse: with the help of secretly administered experimental drugs and skillfully hacked computer technology, Brady has found a way to project his personality into others and commandeer them as his “organic wheelchairs.” The stage is set for Brady to compel mass suicide among users of a handheld gaming device whose interface he’s hijacked, and to draw out Hodges to settle a personal score. King has dealt before with this novel’s different themes—endowment with dangerous supernatural powers, the zombifying effect of modern consumer electronics—but he finds fresh approaches to them and inventive ways to introduce them in the lives of his recurring cast of sympathetic characters, whose pains and triumphs the reader feels. King’s legion of fans will find this splice of mystery and horror a fitting finale to his Bill Hodges trilogy. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agents. (June)