In this satisfying but fairly predictable conclusion to the Bill Hodges Trilogy, the most rewarding part (as it often is in King’s work) is the relationship between characters, and the characters themselves. To me the strongest volume of this trilogy is the second, Finders Keepers, but the overall story arc is tidy, well presented, heartfelt, and not overlong. End of Watch has absolute crackerjack pacing, spot on, nothing wasted (such a joy to be able to write that about King!). I do think that if you’ve been reading the whole trilogy carefully, nothing about the ending should have been much of a surprise. But it feels like the conclusion of a journey with good friends.
I rarely write reviews that contain spoilers, but I’m going to this time, because this was possibly the most important thing about the book to me: I am so grateful that the trilogy ended with Hodges’ natural death from cancer. It was made very serious very quickly (and pancreatic especially is no joke – anyone getting 8-ish or so more months after a diagnosis like that actually had a damn good run), so it seemed clear Hodges’ story was truly over…but I feared some sort of ugly death at Brady’s hands to save Holly or something trite. This was much more true to the so-human characters that have always been King’s best strength.
Come to speak of the death angle, I was also extremely satisfied with Brady’s end. No complicated police stuff to clean up. A clear scapegoat since no one would believe/could prove the “real” story. And Brady being squished under Jerome’s “heel” not-quite-literally-but-grossly-close at the end, and the last touch? Nice. Satisfying.
Just like the whole story. A nice, satisfying, not-earth-shattering read with people you’ll wish you got to spend more time with.