This is the third book in Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, so if you haven’t read the prior two I would skip this review to avoid spoilers.
Full disclosure, I am a huge King fan, and while I wouldn’t say I have a bias when it comes to his stuff (he has certainly written things I haven’t enjoyed) I am naturally inclined to like his work.
End of Days brings the Bill Hodges trilogy to its completion, starting with Mr. Mercedes and then Finders Keepers. While Bill was something of a side character in Finders Keepers, End of Days brings the old gang all back together—Bill, Holly and even Jerome once again facing off against the infinitely evil Brady Hartsfield.
At the end of Mr. Mercedes, Brady was rendered comatose when Holly hit him over the head to stop him from detonating explosives in the middle of a crowded stadium. Brady has since woken up, but is considered too severely brain damaged to face trial or leave the hospital. The neurologist overseeing his care decides to test an experimental drug on Brady—although the drug is not yet approved for human trials, he figures either the drug works and Brady wakes up so he can face prosecution for his crimes, or he dies and no one will miss him. But as all best-laid plans tend to go, this one goes awry.
Meanwhile, Bill is still running his private detective agency with Holly at his side. Fully recovered from his heart attack suffered in Mr. Mercedes, he’s now plagued by a new medical issue—an ever-increasing pain in his stomach. But he has little time to deal with that, as people connected either to the job fair where Mr. Mercedes ran people over, or people connected to the concert where he tried to set off a bomb begin committing suicide in strange ways. Bill’s old partner, Pete, calls him in to consult on one of the cases, and Bill—who has never been convinced that Brady is truly brain damaged—becomes convinced he’s somehow involved.
This is the first book in the series that begins to edge into a “supernatural” element, which could have been off-putting but I think it’s done well and serves to build Brady from a ground-in-reality terrifying villain to one who could haunt your very dreams. I’ve loved Bill’s character from the start of Mr. Mercedes, so I was glad to return to him as the main character, and I enjoy his banter and interplay with Holly.
In ranking the books in the series I’d say Mercedes was best, followed by this and Finders Keepers in third. Definitely a worthy read if you enjoyed the previous, and it provides a satisfying and definitive end to the series.