Top critical review
Catchy premise and suspenseful ending, but longish plot to get there - sequel rather tangential
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2016
We have mixed feelings about the aptly titled “Finders Keepers”, a sequel of sorts to King’s earlier “Mr. Mercedes” novel. This one opens with a crazed burglar, William Morris, robbing famous author John Rothstein, who has been silent for a couple of decades, of not just cash but dozens of moleskin notebooks containing two unpublished novels and other writings – and then kills him because he doesn’t like the direction Rothstein took his hero (Jimmy Gold) in the last published work. Morris thought a rare bookstore owner was going to sell the notebooks for millions and make them both rich, but the guy refuses, saying to wait a decade or two. In frustration, Morris goes out, gets drunk, rapes and assaults a woman, and spends some 35 years in jail before he finally gets out on parole. (He had previously hidden the cash and notebooks in a trunk he buried near a pond adjoining the back of the property where he lived.)
Then we meet the Saubers who now reside in Morris’ old house; the parents of 13-year-old Peter and his younger sister Tina are struggling in both their marriage and their finances. Peter stumbles upon the buried treasure and parcels out the money to his parents anonymously through the mail with like $500 payments for several years. He meanwhile reads all the author’s writings and loves them and thinks about trying to sell the notebooks to guess who – the same guy who refused Morris. Meanwhile his sister Tina suspects Peter was the source of the monthly cash and tells retired cop Bill Hodges, the guy who solved the case in the prequel. Hodges tries to intervene with Peter before it gets too late.
When Morris gets out of prison and finds his trunk empty, he suspects the book dealer and on we go. The suspense heightens as he discovers it was Peter who took all; and he doesn’t care who he has to kill to get the stuff back.
We think this would have made a great novella – without the follow-up to the earlier book which was somewhat tangential. As is, it was sort of long and drawn out despite a catchy premise and a suspenseful ending. Several readers find deeper meaning in the obsession of first Morris and then Peter with the author and his works, but we didn’t work hard enough to figure out what that might be. We love our good books too, but not to the point of murder and skullduggery!