Hank: Stephen King has written novels about playfully evil Plymouths, bizarrely haunted Buicks, and mercilessly murderous Mercedes, but he had never attempted something as mundane as a “trilogy” until his recent books about Retired Detective Bill “Kermit” Hodges. The seemingly non-supernatural crime series that began in “Mr. Mercedes” and continued in “Finders Keepers” now concludes in real King country. “End of Watch” lets us re-encounter Hodges, his sidekicks Holly and Jerome, as well as Bradley Hartsford, the monster who once plowed a car into a job fair and is now thought by all to be a “gork” (King’s word for the vegetative and comatose.) EXCEPT that Bradley, (who is in Room 217 of a Brain Injury Ward) has discovered the “Carrie” within. He’s moving small objects, shaking the blinds of his hospital room, popping the buttons off his nurse’s shirt… and he’s getting stronger every day.
Beatricia: Room 217! From the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”! Which Stanley Kubrick sought fit to change to Room 237 in the movie version because either a) he had a sensible reason OR b) because, as everyone knows, Stanley Kubrick filmed THE FAKE MOON LANDING and the Moon is located 237,000 miles away from Earth!
Grandpa Felicius: It’s all evident now! Furthermore, if you were you add the numerals within 217, you get 3+7=10. And what’s 1 and 0? The fundamentals of the so-called “BINARY” system which led to modern computerization!!! Which is Mr. King’s subtle way of confessing that “The Shining” was not written by himself, but either by a) A MAGICAL NOVEL-WRITING COMPUTERIZED TYPEWRITER…
…or b) by King’s close friend and “editor,” Ben Harry, who passed away in 1978 when a hatchet entered his head 217 times. (That was ruled the result of an unfortunate wood-chopping accident.)
Trent: Also, if you write 217 in a calculator, and you turn it upside down, it spells “Boobs.”
Tracey: No, it doesn’t! What is wrong with this family? Is it genetic? Is anyone going to actually review “End of Watch”?
Cousin Franz: A fine, subtly original meld of fantasy, horror, and the modern investigative thriller, “End of Watch” concludes in a nail-biting, snowy shoot-out that highlights King’s hidden dimension as an out-and-out writer of ACTION.
Grandpa Felicius: And the heroic Hodges is an example to the 69-years-old-and-up crowd! Hip-fracture Hip-fracture Hooray!
Beatricia: Minus a cherry for King’s startling unfamiliarity with technology. Typical passage: “Hodges made a quick Googly-Eyed search on the Intraweb and discovered that the Nintendo Playbox can cause suicidal thoughts by Doxxing the packets of ISPs released by Instatweet to the Alternate Wikiware.”
Tracey: “End of Watch” has the pulse on non-technological conversations, though. The villain calls himself “The Prince of Suicide” and delights in pushing impressionable teenagers to self-harm through a sort of hypnotic, fish-themed variation on “Candy Crush Saga.” King is way more thoughtful than the suicide-glamourizers behind “13 Reasons Why,” and he even includes the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, both within the story and in an Afterword. 1-800-273-TALK! You’re not alone!
Hank: Hey, kiddo, you know who makes “Candy Crush Saga”? KING GAMES!
Blurbarella: “Stephen King– plowed– Stanley Kubrick;– Entered his head 217 times.”