Whilst on holiday in Cyprus me and my fiancé went looking in a local supermarket for gifts and trinkets. We found some overpriced cigarettes, little wooden cats with their interictally painted ‘back-end features’ and Cypriot delight that was drier than the beach. We purchased the cats (they’re in our home right now) and the cigarettes. Grace also went spinning around the book rack and found a Stephen King I had never read, Finders Keepers. I had heard of King’s hard-boiled, noire-esque detective novels, but never had read one. I must say that, like all of King’s previous novels, I was enthralled and wholly engaged with it throughout its entirety.
Finders Keepers is split over three time periods, 1978, 2009 and 2014 and the plot mainly revolves around Morris Bellamy and Pete Saubers. Bellamy is the typical King villain, psychopathic and obsessive with a well-formed past that gives an insight into who and why they are the way they are. Yet, King manages to keep the reader at arms-length from developing any form of emotional attachment towards Bellamy. King has always managed to create the big bad beasties that lurk under your bed and the evil humans who want to steal your sweeties and push your Nan over. Bellamy, however, felt different. He is a fully formed character with an encompassing character arc and certain parallels between himself and the endearing Captain Ahab can most definitely be drawn. He wasn’t a Jim Dooley from Lisey’s Story, the crazy man who’s mad just because. Bellamy has a full past and his trials and tribulations are fully experienced by the reader but no sympathy is felt for him. This epitomises King’s ability as a writer, he has created a man who we should feel empathy for, yes he’s a bastard but a tragic bastard. But you just can’t. Why? Because of Pete Saubers.
Saubers is your intelligent, above average, apple-pie, going to something someday, more American than a bald eagle teenager. He’s everything you’d want to your teenager to be, i.e. not an absolute cock and his heads on straight. Saubers is a ‘good kid’ and starts getting drug through King’s mucky world of demons and death because of his discovery of a certain Jimmy Gold stash. Yes, it’s clichéd, but it’s not blue jeans and ‘baby rhymes with lady’ clichéd. Saubers is the antithesis to Bellamy, likeable to the end and no matter how objectively you aim to read Finders Keepers, you’ll end up routing for him, crap moustache and all.
The reason I love anything Stephen King does is because you can read anything of his in a blind test and would know that it is King. He has managed to put his own unique spin on a genre that, like all others, has been done to death. Maybe I’m biased, maybe King can do no wrong and I’m such a fan-boy that I can’t see the literary flaws that may exude from every other syllable. I don’t care though. I thought that it was a thoroughly enjoyable romp of King’s brain that left me with my heart pumping faster than it should’ve. Finders Keepers was the most enjoyable detective novels I’ve read since The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. The only main criticism I can think of was how Bill Hodges was underutilised. Great character, not enough air time.
Basically, give it a go. If you are not a fan of the horror genre but want to experience the joys of Stephen King, give Finders Keepers a go. If you don’t like it then I’m sure you will be able to find another one of Kings 782 novels to enjoy.