Finders Keepers: A Novel




It is no surprise that Stephen King would know a thing or two about obsessive fans.


A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far – a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.
“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.
Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after 35 years.
Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life – for good, for bad, forever.
©2015 Stephen King (P)2015 Simon & Schuster


Morris Bellamy is obsessed with reclusive author John Rothstein and his trilogy of Jimmy Gold novels. Finally, he and some companions break into Rothstein’s home and murder the man. Bellamy steals the contents of Rothstein’s safe which includes money, but of much greater interest to him are Rothstein’s notebooks which contain at least one more Jimmy Gold story. Bellamy decides to hide his treasure near his childhood home.
Fast forward several years. Bellamy is in prison and the Saubers family is living in that home. One day, the Saubers’ son Peter discovers the treasure and while he uses the money to help his struggling family, he keeps the notebooks for himself.
When Bellamy gets out of jail and attempts to retrieve the trunk he hid all those years ago, he is horrified to discover it empty. He is more upset about the missing notebooks than he is about the missing money. Eventually, his pursuit of the person who stole his hidden treasure causes Bill Hodges and his partners from ‘Mr. Mercedes’ to begin tracking down Bellamy.
One thing that fans of the first novel may find interesting is that Hodges, Holly and Jerome don’t show up until well into the story. The earliest parts of the story deal with the adventures and history of Morris Bellamy and Peter Saubers. This allows King to flesh these characters out more than he would be able to if there was a parallel Hodges plot happening at the same time. When Hodges and company do finally show up however, we are very happy to see them.
The first book in the series had more action scenes mixed into the story. ‘Finders Keepers’ saves all of the big action for the climax and focuses more on the things that drive the characters behavior throughout the story.
There are several nods to ‘Mr. Mercedes’ in ‘Finders Keepers’. Peter Saubers’ father was injured in the accident that opened the book. Bill Hodges goes to visit Brady Hartsfield in the institution more than once in the story. Also, the book comes to an end with a nice tease for what will come in the third installment. The way the stories are all connected is greatly appreciated.


King uses the same cat and mouse style format in ‘Finders Keepers’ that worked so well for him in ‘Mr. Mercedes’. Although in this case it might be a dog, cat and mouse format with Peter as the mouse, Morris as the cat and Hodges’ trio as the dog.
The format suits King well and plays to his strengths of character development. Character development in ‘Finders Keepers’ isn’t as strong as in the previous novel, but that is due in part to the fact that Bill, Holly and Jerome were already so well developed.
A part of me wonders what King would do if he were to write a more classic “whodunit” mystery with several suspects and false leads to play with through the story.


It would not surprise me if Will Patton receives another Audie Award nomination for his reading of ‘Finders Keepers’. He has the parts of Bill, Holly and Jerome down from the first novel and does a good job handling the obsessive Morris Bellamy.


The structure of the track is quite similar to that of ‘Mr. Mercedes. The only minor change is to the music cue that is used to open and close the book. In all other respects, the layout and quality found on the first book’s track is present on this one.


‘Finders Keepers’ has a lot going for it. The story builds very well to an intense climax with a satisfying conclusion. There is nice commentary on the danger of obsession and where that can take a person. In a less direct manner, it also deals with the question of who really owns a work of art. Is it the author of the work or is it the audience that invests time and money into it and assigns their own meaning to it?
All of that not withstanding, ‘Finders Keepers’ doesn’t quite achieve the same heights as its predecessor. The book is never quite able to escape the familiarity that comes with its status as a sequel. It is telling that no matter how engaged I was with the story, I was always able to take my interest up to another level whenever there was a reference to ‘Mr. Mercedes’, and that is even more true when there are new scenes with Bill Hodges and Brady Hartsfield.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Finders Keepers: A Novel Stephen King Will Patton Simon and Schuster Audio Mystery and Thriller 06/02/2015 13 hours, 5 minutes 8/10


A copy of ‘FINDERS KEEPERS: A NOVEL’ was purchased from Audible for review.


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