If you love Stephen King’s books as much as I do, or even if you’ve never read his books before, you definitely need to check out his Bill Hodges trilogy! I’d categorize this series as detective mystery/thriller with a slight horror vibe. Here’s everything you need to know about Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, which begins with the first book titled Mr. Mercedes!
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Who is Bill Hodges?
Bill Hodges is a Stephen King character who’s first introduced in the book Mr. Mercedes. He’s a former police officer who is brought out of his (unhappy) retirement when he receives a letter from someone claiming to be a killer.
As he races to stop a terrible crime from happening, he meets the enigmatic Holly Gibney – an intelligent, neurodivergent young woman who ends up playing a big role in the series.
Bill Hodges is the protagonist throughout the Bill Hodges trilogy, and is mentioned in subsequent Holly Gibney books like The Outsider and Holly. (Here’s a guide to Stephen King’s Holly Gibney series, which is a spin-off of the Bill Hodges trilogy)!
Check out this post for Stephen King’s best non-horror mysteries and thrillers.
Bill Hodges Trilogy Books in Order
And now, here are the Bill Hodges books in order of publication! This is also the best order to read them in.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Book 1)
Synopsis: Months after a man in a stolen Mercedes commits a terrible crime, ex-cop Bill Hodges receives a letter from someone claiming to be the perpetrator. The killer has a new plan – something even worse than before – and Bill might be the only one who can stop him.
Finders Keepers by Stephen King (Book 2)
Synopsis: When a disgruntled fan breaks into a popular writer’s home, he finds a safe full of cash and handwritten notebooks containing priceless unpublished novels. After killing the writer and stealing the goods, he’s arrested for a different crime and put in jail. The notebooks stay hidden for decades. One day, a teenage boy named Pete happens upon them, unknowingly putting himself and his family in the sights of a dangerous killer who’s just been released from prison. Bill Hodges and his associates (including Holly Gibney) must put themselves in danger to protect Pete and his family.
End of Watch by Stephen King (Book 3)
Synopsis: The series comes full circle in the final installment of the trilogy, where the Mercedes killer returns – not in body, but in mind – to destroy his enemies one by one. This puts Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney in a very dangerous position, as they are very high on that list.
Do you have to read Stephen King’s Bill Hodges books in order?
I definitely recommend reading these books in order, to avoid plot spoilers and also to follow the characters’ arcs as they grow.
Additionally, it’s best to read the Holly Gibney books after reading the Bill Hodges trilogy, for the ideal reading experience, though it isn’t necessarily essential.
Is there a TV show or movie adaptation of Mr. Mercedes or other Bill Hodges books?
Yes! David E. Kelley created a show titled Mr. Mercedes, based on the Bill Hodges trilogy. Three seasons have been released.
It stars Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges and Justine Lupe as Holly Gibney. (A different actress – Cynthia Erivo – plays Holly Gibney in The Outsider TV series).
What genre is the Bill Hodges trilogy?
It’s hard to classify the exact genre of this series. It’s definitely part detective thriller, but it’s also darker than your average mystery/thriller book. Goodreads also classifies it as horror, though the first two books don’t contain supernatural elements – but they are definitely chilling in that they delve into the psyche of some very dark characters.
It’s not all dark, though. There are characters with good hearts who are trying their best, and you’ll quickly find yourself rooting for them.
I love so many of the characters in this book series. I hope you get a chance to check it out if you haven’t yet!
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