Well this was a great conclusion to the trilogy. I really enjoyed book one, see Death Comes in a Car... Again
and felt underwhelmed by book two, see If Misery and Carrie Had a Baby
. The final book found it's footing and I was happy to see that the fabulous trio of Bill, Holly, and Jerome rode off into battle once again. That said, the reason why I only gave this four stars was the pacing problems of the book. Anytime the book transitioned over to Brady Hartsfield (still hate him, he's up there with It for me for most loathed villain in the Stephen King book) the book slowed down. I also felt like King took way too much time to show what happened to Brady and what he did. I wanted to get back to Bill, Holly, and Jerome.
This book begins with another perspective of what happened when the Mercedes Killer drove and killed several people at a job fair. The perspectives that we get are of the emergency responders to the scene. I have to say that my stomach turned all over again. We then transition to the present time with Bill going to the doctor's waiting on an appointment. Bill is happy with his investigation agency (Finders Keepers) and with his new partner Holly. Though he still thinks about Brady Hartsfield, he has put him behind him for the most part. Brady rushes back into the forefront though when Bill and Holly are called to a scene of a murder suicide by Bill's ex-partner Pete.
I liked Bill a lot more in this one. Probably because he was pretty much absent for book #2 since that one chose to focus more on Pete and his family. We have Bill in the driver's seat for most of this except when we transition to secondary characters and to Brady Hartsfield. I think Bill is content, happy with where he is, and glad to have Holly and Jerome. There is also something also going on with Bill, and I am glad that King didn't feel the need to drag that out at all. It gave more poignancy to the story and honestly, I thought that King was going to end the book differently, but was thrilled with how he chose to end it.
I do like Holly as a character, but her need to say "fracking" and "fracking poopy" started to wear thin on me about halfway through. I started having flashbacks to "The Stand" and Tom Cullen and that was not a place I wanted to think too hard about at this point. Holly is still the smartest person in the room, and I loved how her and Bill's relationship has grown. I also love that King didn't have them be a couple, they are just a true partnership/friendship.
Jerome comes in late to the story, but still an integral piece and I love the way that he worked seamlessly with Holly and Bill. Though Jerome is off to college, he's still a core member of the group and he and his family were the ones I was most worried about while reading.
Brady Hartsfield still can go kick a lot of rocks. I think one of the reasons why I hate this character so much is because he feels so familiar in this day in age in America. We are dealing with daily reminders of Brady Hartsfield stand-ins who think like Brady that all black people are disgusting, are awful, are "n" the fact that he started that talk up again made me grind my teeth. He is also the most entitled character I can recall coming across in a King book since the Crimson King. Hartsfield shows no remorse for anything he has done and wants to cause more havoc because how dare some shitty cop and some black boy be behind taking him down. I have never rooted so hard for a bad end to a fictional character before.
King is a master at getting you to care about his characters and also feeling leery cause you know he loves making you weep like a lost child when a bad end comes there way (looking at you The Dark Tower),
The secondary characters introduced or revisited in this one are done well too. I wish that we hadn't spent as much time with some like Doctor Babineau and Library Al because I really didn't like how much time they were taking away from the fabulous trio (what I call Bill, Holly, and Jerome in my head). It was great though to see how King worked in Jerome's sister Barbara and others like Bill's ex-partner. This whole book circles back in a lovely way to book #1.
I thought the writing was great per usual. I loved the dialogue between characters. I was not thrilled with the repetitiveness with Holly's language though (see above). I will say that I thought the whole way that King tied technology with Brady just didn't quite pass the smell test for me. The same issue that I had with that is the same issue I had while reading "Cell", meaning I don't think that works the way that you think it works. For the purposes of the story I just hand-waved it away because I wasn't in the mood to work out why what King was proposing could never happen. It was easier to just go with it.
The flow as I already said wasn't great. It only got wonky (don't care if it's not a word) when we revisited what happened to Brady or shifted the focus over to him to present day doings. He's also a repugnant little shit so there was some distaste happening for me that had me rushing through his scenes as much as possible.
The setting of "End of Watch" doesn't really have one core place. The book goes from place to place and back again. I think since King focused so much on the technology aspect something was bound to give and it was that for this book. King is a master of describing places and setting the scene for readers. So I wish we had more of that in this book.
The ending. Man oh man, let's just say I cried. Like bawled like a baby around 2 a.m. I sniffed and went and read some Tom Hardy and decided I didn't hate myself quite that much and went to bed. King guts you and if you are a Constant Reader like me, you keep coming back for it, even though you know it's not going to end well for you. I really hope that we get to see more of these characters in future King books. What am I saying, of course we will. King is great about that. All in all, what a great conclusion to this trilogy.