Every time I go to the library, I usually find a few books I’m interested in reading and some are hit or miss. On my most recent trip, I only found 3 books which appealed to me but of course one of them had to be a King novel. I read the blurb and I was sold, a story about a reader finding a treasure trove of unreleased material from his favourite author then burying it? sign me up!
Wake up, genius.
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 thirty-five years.
It’s no secret I’m a huge King fan so I’m going to go straight into this review:
- Works well as a standalone – before reading this novel I wasn’t aware that this was the second book in a trilogy but at the same time, I think it works just fine as a standalone. If you’re not interested in reading the first in the trilogy, I feel like it still works and you can get a handle on the characters without too much work. There’s some exposition of what happened in the previous novel and it links in with the new characters so it’s easy to follow.
- Suspense and pace – This isn’t a behemoth of a novel by any means and I think it had the perfect level of pacing and suspense for me. Sometimes crime or thriller novels can feel like a long slog until we get to the good stuff but in Finders Keepers the action kicks in from the outset and I liked that for the first half and a bit of the story we had divergent timelines which then merged into one. Following the different characters maintained the suspense and sense of danger – especially when it came to Morris Bellamys parts – deranged is putting it lightly!
- Commentary on books – I can always appreciate a novel that is a bit meta and this one definitely has some of that. The antagonist in the story; Morris Bellamy is a crazed fan undoubtedly, much like Annie Wilkes in Misery but he also found communion with Jimmy Gold (the fictional hero of The Runner series) in a life which has been pretty devoid of anything positive elsewhere. It’s easy to see the similarities between the writer in the novel John Rothstein and King himself. I’ve read that King has been reported saying he’ll never stop writing but may retire from public life so perhaps that’s where the inspiration for Rothsteins reclusive lifestyle comes from? Either way, this was an added layer to the story which I enjoyed.
- Characters – I felt like all the characters were well developed and we got enough of an insight into the minds of the minor characters as well. The characters in the novel who we hear from the most are Pete Saubers and Morris Bellamy. These two are polar opposites but there is one thing they have in common; their fascination and love for the The Runner series. It was both interesting and discomfiting (in this case anyway) seeing how books can connect people in such a way.
“Books were escape. Books were freedom.”
“For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers—not just capable of doing it (which Morris already knew), but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels. The first book that does that is never forgotten, and each page seems to bring a fresh revelation, one that burns and exalts: Yes! That’s how it is! Yes! I saw that, too! And, of course, That’s what I think! That’s what I FEEL!”
“I guess what I mean is his work changed my heart.”
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Finders Keepers and it was a great thriller – as well as a compelling glance into the power of fiction and just how far someone may go in order to maintain the fantasy…
★★★★ – 4 Star Rating
Until next time,