In End of Watch, King ties up his trilogy about Bill Hodges, a retired cop turned private detective and his two sidekicks. It’s not bad, but unfortunately the trilogy ends with the weakest of the three books. I admire a lot about this series and I think the middle one is a fantastic novel, but this one is pretty predictable and pretty lackluster. The second novel kept Bill Hodges on the sidelines but this one has him front and center again and his personal plot just rehashes his plot from the first book (remember how Bill maybe had heart trouble in the first book?! Well, now, he maybe has CANCER!!). I actually like the idea of having the villainous Brady Hartsfield recur through all the books, making this almost as much a trilogy about him as about Bill, but I just didn’t find him compelling this time around. In the first book, he was terrifying and disturbing and in the second, he was kept in the shadows, but was still a brooding presence. In this book, he’s basically cartoonish and his whole plan more than strains credulity, it just blows it into a million pieces. Driving a car into a crowd is believable; so is bombing a concert. In this one, he plans to convince thousands of people to commit suicide via a hypnotic computer game. Yeah. Like that. The inclusion of a supernatural element, totally absent in the first two books, is probably not the best idea, but it might have worked if it had been better implemented. But for all these complaints, King’s prose is still incredibly readable and the final confrontation between Hodges and Hartsfield (they never actually talked to each other in either of the previous two books) is really good. Hartsfield’s ultimate fate feels absolutely right. The book is entertaining enough and all, but it’s not as good as the first two. 3 stars.
tl;dr – King wraps his trilogy up with a lackluster novel; still plenty entertaining, but lacking the heart that elevated the previous two in the Bill Hodges series. 3 stars.