I finished reading The Bill Hodges’ Trilogy by Stephen King last night. The crime-suspense trilogy is made up of Mr. Mercedes, published in 2014; Finders Keepers, published in 2015; and End of Watch, published in June 2016.

I read the 3 books, over 1300 pages in 4 days. I couldn’t stop reading.

I’ve always read Stephen King’s non-horror books and loved them. However, this trilogy is King at his best. While each book stands on its own, it would be a crime not to read the entire trilogy.

Mr. Mercedes grabs you from the first page and takes you into the mind of a truly deranged and evil man who takes a Mercedes-Benz and rams it into a crowd of job seekers killing some and gravely injuring others. Years later he sends a letter to retired detective Bill Hodges taunting him to kill himself.

Finders Keepers is about an entirely different criminal and his obsession with a writer and a character that he has created. Bill Hodges and his team do not enter into the story right away. In my opinion, this is the best of the trilogy. King gives us a new story altogether and weaves enough details of the first book to keep us both satisfied and yet wanting more. If I were asked to read only one of the three books, I would choose this one.

End of Watch: This last book works because it brings the story of Mr. Mercedes to full circle. But it mostly works because King is the writer. In the hands of a lesser writer, I would have had a hard time accepting the story’s development. I still found it to be a page-turner, but I was slower to turn the pages of this one than the other two. If I were asked not to read one of the three, this would be my choice.

But, again, I would highly recommend reading the full trilogy. King’s writing is masterful. I’m in awe to think that he wrote one book per year. The trilogy reads like a very long book instead of three separate entities. There are no loose ends, characters are fully drawn, and there is not a single false note. No gratuitous sex scenes, no superfluous dialogue.

The Bill Hodges trilogy is crime-suspense at its best. It’s writing at its best. Don’t miss it.