Book review: Stephen King finds more dark treasure in the basement in Holly

The master of the macabre scratches an itch by filling out characters from his Mr Mercedes trilogy, but still manages to keep the reader enthralled

Holly Gibney returns to investigate multiple disappearances in a midwestern town in Stephen King’s newest novel. Picture: Allison V Smith

“I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character . . . she just stole my heart,” Stephen King writes on the back of the proof copy of this, his 66th novel. The character first appeared in a trilogy that centred on retired detective Bill Hodges, played by Brendan Gleeson in the television adaptation Mr Mercedes.

Hodges shuffled off in that hat-trick’s final entry, End of Watch, leaving Holly to take over the Finders Keepers private investigation agency. She looked into strange goings-on in Flint City, Oklahoma in 2018’s The Outsider and chased down a reprehensible reporter in the 2020 novella If It Bleeds. Both of those Gibney adventures had elements of the supernatural, as did End of Watch when Mr Mercedes himself, Brady Hartsfield, started developing some extra-sensory skills.