Well, this is it. End of Watch is an end to the Bill Hodges trilogy that started in 2014 with Mr Mercedes, and was followed up with Finders Keepers in 2015. If this tells us anything, it’s that King writes like the devil. This whole trilogy was completed in only three years, and that’s not mentioning the small fact that he published Revival and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams in between. The man is on fire, perhaps trying to get as much done as he can before that robed skeletal figure pays him a more final visit than in 1999.
In the novel, Bill Hodges is still running his private detective agency alongside Holly Gibney, you’ll recall from the first two novels. While battling his own life-threatening issues, he gets drawn into a string of suicide cases, all somehow linking back to his nemesis from Mr Mercedes, Brady Hartsfield. A seemingly impossible notion, as he was left in a vegetative state after their first major encounter.
So, what role, if any, does Brady have with these suicides connected to him and his past? Is everything as it seems, or are there extraordinary abilities at play? And what do the pink fish and the numbers have to do with all of it?
What we get with End of Watch is precisely what we expect from the prior two novels; a fun, thrilling piece of ‘quicktion’ (yes, I’ve been known to portmanteau the line from time to time). A great, fast-paced chase to catch a horrible entity before some cataclysmic event occurs. Considering this, I think it comes out on par with the first two books. A formidable antagonist, high stakes, and a satisfying conclusion. Also, it does wrap up the trilogy pretty well.
However, there’s a little something in King’s style here that I can’t get over. There’s a not-so-subtle criticism of current world events and technology that peppers its way through the pages, and it comes across as that ‘crusty old uncle that complains about how the world used’a be without all the gahd-darn computers and slimy politicians’. I don’t mean through dialogue or the thoughts of the protagonist, since he is old and sometimes salty about the world, so it’d make sense. I mean the seemingly out of place metaphors from the author’s voice that creep in. There’s even a reference to Trump, who people reading this in one year’s time won’t remember, because he’ll be a relative nobody once more.
Immersion-breaking metaphoric rants aside, this book gives you exactly what you want from the series. A thrilling hunt with a satisfying conclusion.