End of Watch is the third and final volume of Stephen King’s series featuring retired police detective Bill Hodges. The two previous books were Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers. The end of Finders Keepers tipped off readers about the general direction End of Watch would take – not that I’m saying the book was predictable.

Bill Hodges, the lead character, is one of my favorites among King’s most recent books. He’s a little hard-boiled, but has a soft-spot where his friends are concerned. Hodges gets help from Holly Gibney – a neurotic movie buff, and Jerome Robinson, an African-American Harvard student. It’s been interesting to see how the roles of each character have changed through the series. The cast of characters isn’t as large as in my favorite Stephen King novels, but his characterization of each one is deep and memorable.

Brady Hartsfield, the villain of books 1 and 3, is also one of King’s best bad guys. Not up there in Randall Flagg territory, but still a very evil man. He’s easy to root against, and after seeing what goes on inside of his head, you’ll probably feel the need to scrub your hands.

End of Watch is really the only book of the series that features some truly “out there” material. Hodges seems to channel Karl Kolchak of the old Night Stalker TV series – when the evidence points toward something unusual, he doesn’t waste a whole lot of time resisting it.

I’m rating End of Watch 5-stars on Goodreads, and recommend it highly. It can be read as a stand-alone book, but you’ll be missing something if you don’t read Mr. Mercedes first.