The Bill Hodges trilogy reaches the apogee of mystery with the “End of Watch”. A racy thriller, “End Of Watch” has Retired Detective William (“Bill”) Hodges coming face to face with his nemesis Brady Hartsfield in a manner that is mystifying, Macabre and malignant. Brady Hartsfield also known as The “Mercedes Killer” for having infamously mowed down eight people to death – and injuring many others, using a stolen Mercedes – is prevented from wreaking further wanton havoc by Hodges and his acquaintance and now business partner, Holly Gibney . A severe blow to the head deters Brady from setting off a substantial weight of explosives strapped to a wheelchair, in the middle of a pop concert. The blow leaves Brady in a vegetative state at the Kiner Memorial Hospital.
Dr.Felix Babibneu the chief neurologist at Kiner Memorial personally takes over the ‘care’ of Brady and under the ruse of administering Vitamins, begins experimenting on his patient by pumping him with a new line of medication termed “CEREBELLUM”. When these experimental drugs begin to take effect, they not only induce the growth of new neuro cells, but also bestows Brady with powers far beyond anyone’s imagination. Even though incapacitated physically, Brady now realises that he is more powerful than ever before and gets prepared to avenge himself against all those who were responsible for bringing him to his state of physical ruin. And at the very top of Brady’s hit list is Bill Hodges!
“End Of Watch” is a typical Stephen King offering. With a pace that gets your pulse racing, the book is a one sitting read. King in this book combines telekinesis with psychiatry to produce a unique thriller that begins where “Finders Keepers”, the second book in the Hodges Trilogy ends. There is subtle wit matched by searing tension. The suspense as usual is palpable although a wee bit predictable. But the linking of telekinesis to the devious tricks played by Brady is a pleasure to read. Hodges is more humane and vulnerable than ever, (due in part to a reason revealing which would only lead to a sadistic insertion of a spoiler to this review) even as he pursues Brady with single minded determination. Holly Gibney is as usual the solid rock on which Hodges leans when in times of need and the symbiotic relationship between the two is a delight to read. Jerome makes a cameo albeit impactful appearance. However, at the core of the book lies the brutal antagonism of Brady Hartsfield. A psychopathic rage which can only be satiated by deaths, more deaths and lot more deaths. A cold, calculating and catatonic rage that knows no boundaries and has no limits. All that stands between this devious rage and universal chaos is the reliable visage of William Hodges!
End of Watch – Hodges’ crowning glory.