I finished reading this novel today, a day ahead of our Third Tuesday Book Club meeting tomorrow (January 17th, 2017) to discuss the book. It is the sequel to Mr. Mercedes, and is the second book in a trilogy; and it is a murder / detective book, not a book of horror (despite the bloody cover). I very much enjoyed reading this book, and highly recommend it.
In 1978 a reclusive author living in New Hampshire is killed in a home invasion. John Rothstein had written the Runner trilogy, but had not published anything for some sixteen years. It is speculated that the killer or killers were after the money in Rothstein’s safe, and there is also speculation that any books or short stories that Rothstein might have been writing might also have been in the safe.
in 2010 thirteen-year-old Pete Sauber’s family is in bad financial straits; his father was badly injured in the same incident at the City Center in Illinois that opened up Mr. Mercedes, and his mother is only working part time. To get away from his parents’ fights, Pete goes down to the creek, and finds a large trunk hidden under tree roots. Inside the trunk is some $20,000 in cash and several dozen Moleskine notebooks. After asking his nine year old sister Tina what she would do if she found buried treasure (she says, “I’d give it to Mom and Dad”), he begins sending some three or four thousand dollars a month, anonymously, to his parents. He also reads the notebooks, and realizes that they are unpublished works by the author John Rothstein, and that the notebooks contain two more books in the Runner series, which he reads, sparking a love of literature and writing. He also figures out that since Rothstein had been dead since 1978 that whoever hid the notebooks and cash in the trunk won’t be coming back for it, which is a reasonable assumption, but one that turns out to be unfounded.
This is a very good book, not just about murder and mayhem and somewhat bizarre coincidences, but about how love for books can tip over into obsession and an unstable personality can make for a volatile mix. I very much enjoyed this book, and our Third Tuesday Book Club will almost certainly read the third book in this series, End of Watch, next year; in the meantime, I anticipate a good meeting tomorrow night to discuss this book.