Book club

Updates on ‘Mr. Mercedes’

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope your week is going well so far. It’s time for another update on “Mr. Mercedes.”

For reference, I just made it to chapter 4, in the part of the book titled “Poison Bait.”

Since last week, we learned some more about Brady, the Mercedes killer. 

He lives with his mother — and he actually killed his younger brother years ago — and his mother helped cover it up. But we don’t know what caused this murder or how he did it. 

Brady spends a lot of time in the basement of his home where he works on his creations. One of them is a remote that he used to change traffic lights so he would never hit a red light. 

We also learn he works in an ice cream truck so he can easily drive around Hodges’ neighborhood to see what Hodges is up to. 

Hodges has been pretty busy. He was contacted by Mrs. Trelawney’s sister, Janelle Patterson.

Hodges goes to Janelle’s house where we learn Mrs. Trelawney also received a letter from Mr. Mercedes, who blames her for leaving the key in her car. He said if she wouldn’t have done that, he would have never had the chance to kill all of those people at the job fair. 

Shortly after receiving this letter, Mrs. Trelawney committed suicide after feeling imense guilt. 

Janelle hires Hodges as a private investigator for her sister’s death. 

Hodges contacts Mr. Mercedes through a website called “Debbie’s Blue Umbrella,” where people can chat anonymously to others on the site. 

Hodges’s plan is to get Brady frustrated so he sends “Withheld evidence [to prove] you are not the Mercedes Killer.” 

This, in fact, made Brady very angry. He wants the credit for the mass murder but doesn’t want to actually get caught. 

Brady is a complex character who can change his attitude in an instant. 

For example, one of the times Brady was at work in the ice cream truck, a little boy came up asking for chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. 

Brady’s inner dialogue said, “F*** up your cholesterol all you want, I give you until forty and who knows, maybe you’ll survive the first heart attack.”

Then he said to the child, “You got it little buddy. One chocolate with sprinkles coming right up. How was school? Get any A’s?” 

That event clearly shows how unstable Brady can be. He has a couple moments like this throughout these pages.

Brady understands he is mentally ill, but he said he doesn’t want other people to know this. 

King writes, “Brady accepted that he is mentally ill, of course he is, normal people don’t drive into crowds of people. But abnormal men don’t like other people to know they’re abnormal.”

So I guess that explains when he hides his real thoughts. 

Nothing too exciting has happened yet, but with King’s writing style I am always captivated by his books. 

I am most interested in Hodges’ character, I want to know how he is going to catch Mr. Mercedes. Is he going to do this solo? Is he going to ask his old partner for help?

Come back next Tuesday to find out. 

Olson can be reached at [email protected].