Stephen King’s End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) wrapped up the continuing saga of the unlikely detective trio of Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson, as well as the murderous villain, Brady Hartsfield. In the beginning of the book, King hints at the eventual fate of retired Detective Bill Hodges, which drew me into Hodges’ character much more than I expected. Previous to this third installment, I was not that enamored with the characters or the depth of their personas—except, perhaps, Brady Hartsfield because King keeps us abreast of Brady’s crazy thoughts and actions. By revealing Hodges’ inner struggles and suffering, King has given us a window through which we can see the man Bill Hodges clearly. We see how Hodges’ respect for his socially deficient business partner, Holly Gibney, changes her view of herself, and the inner strength she truly possesses.
Suicide is a thick thread in the fabric of this book. King writes: Suicide may not be painless, but it is catching. This is a clear acceptable play on the lyrics from the song Suicide is Painless (The Theme from M.A.S.H). At the conclusion of End of Watch, King reaches out with a kind hand to those who may be contemplating suicide. As a Constant Reader, I was pleased that Stephen King made me dig a little deeper into my psyche before I was able to find his messages that were hidden in plain sight.