It's no secret that I love Stephen King, and I think some of his best works are the less popular ones (hello, Duma Key). This is the first novel I've read from him that is just a straight-up crime thriller, with no supernatural elements to further the plot. Of course, there are supernatural hallucinations, but no actual ghosts. I think.
This story is the first in a trilogy involving retired police detective Bill Hodges, a man haunted by his failure to solve the last big case of his career. Before his retirement, a masked man drove a stolen Mercedes into a crowd of people at a job fair, killing several, including a child. Hodges never found the killer, and as a result, spiraled into a suicidal depression.
Just before he decides to end it all, he receives a letter from the killer, daring him to try and solve the case before he kills again. Fueled by rage, Hodges decides to go after the murderer, and things get tricky.
I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons:
1. I can never figure out where King is going to go before he goes there. While he lets you know early on who the killer is, you're not sure why/how or what's about to happen with that information, and it's never as it seems.
2. King isn't afraid of killing off people you think are around for the long haul. There's always a tension with wondering who's about to get written out of the story, and it definitely keeps the pages turning.
3. He's such a good writer, guys. There's no one out there like him, and I'll be so sad when he stops writing books. I hope he has a safe somewhere with about 80 unpublished manuscripts, so I can keep reading new releases until I'm dead. For real.