Created by Stephen King
When Stephen King finally delivered on his promise to one day write a hard-boiled detective novel, he pretty much blew everyone away with the Edgar-winning Mr. Mercedes (2014), which played it almost straight, and introducing retired Ohio cop Bill Hodges. When we first meet him in Mr. Mercedes (2014), he’s bored and miserable. His wife has left him, his estranged daughter lives far, far away and he has no real close friends. He’s lonelier than anyone should be, and he’s slowly eating and drinking himself to death, and every now and then he thinks of pulling the plug. But he rises to the occasion when he’s drawn into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a sociopathic killer in Mr. Mercedes and its two increasingly woo-woo sequels, Finders Keepers (2015) and End of Watch (2016).
By the end of that first book, Hodges had found a new lease on life, officially becoming a private investigator, and sets up Finders Keepers, a detective agency with HOLLY GIBNEY, a relative of one of the killer’s victims. Holly’s a young, emotionally unstable woman, with some pretty savvy detective chops of her own. She’s an odd little bird, a compulsive list maker and a computer whiz, without any apparent social filters, but she’s curiously likable.
So it was good news when I heard that Holly plays a significant role in King’s The Outsider (2018), and even better to discover that the agency she and Bill started is still going two years after (SPOILER!) Bill’s death, and that her new partner is Pete Huntley, Bill’s partner when they were on the force. Mostly they chase bail jumpers and trace missing persons, but things take a sudden twist when, out of the blue, Holly is called in (halfway through the book) to investigate a local angle on behalf of a lawyer defending a man in Oklahoma charged with murdering a child; a murder that seems to pretty much define an “impossible crime.”
Holly plays a major part in the rest of the book, and there are plenty of rumours that King plans to use her again in the future, which is just fine with me. Holly rocks!