Disclaimer: I don’t quite know how to write a book review. I’ve read a fair few of them – though not as many as I would like – but when it comes to reviewing the medium, I feel as if I don’t really have clue of what I’m on about. Hence, book ‘review’.
Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way…
End of Watch is the final instalment of the Bill Hodges trilogy, a series of novels written by the uber-prolific Stephen King. It sees the return of Detective Hodges and his band of merry misfits, and this time it’s a series of suspected suicides that calls them into action. They begin sense that all isn’t as it seems, and it doesn’t take long for their suspicions to be proved right: it transpires that one Brady Hartsfield – whom you might remember had his skull bashed in by Hodges’ ever-faithful sidekick Holly Gibney in Mr Mercedes – is once again back to his old tricks… despite being rendered semi-catatonic in one of the city’s hospitals.
King is best known for his work in horror, and while he does take a walk into the worlds of other genres from time to time, End of Watch once again proves that he can pretty much do it all. It’s suspenseful and very page-turney (not a word? it is now). But it’s also funny, warm, clever, deep and engaging. Nearly every character is expertly crafted, each with their own quirks – i.e. Gibney’s tendency to take everything super literally – and layers to peel back.
It’s a great novel, one that ends the trilogy on a high note. But it’s not all perfect. The last few scenes are brought down slightly by the existence of some tired tropes, and there are a couple of moments that will leave you saying sarcastically, “Didn’t see that coming…” But these foibles are very minor in the grand scheme of things. And anyway, the novel’s sickly sweet ending will make you forget them all in an instant.
In a few words…
End of Watch once again proves that King can pretty much do whatever he wants when it comes to writing fiction.