Book reviews: King’s ‘Mercedes’; rock’s best year

Associated Press

“Never a Dull Moment: 1971-The Year That Rock Exploded”

by David Hepworth

(Henry Holt)

If there is a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hell, an inner circle is devoted for old fans who insist on telling you how the music was so much better back in the day. You know the argument: musicians were more creative, the songs were better, etc.

David Hepworth, a veteran British music journalist in his mid-60s, has essentially written an entire book making this argument. Specifically, he says 1971 was pretty much the most innovative, explosive and awesome year of the rock era. Yet “Never a Dull Moment” isn’t an overbearing trip to purgatory. It’s fun, mostly.

This book cover image released by Henry Holt shows, Never a "Dull Moment: 1971 - The Year That Rock Exploded," by David Hepworth. (Henry Holt via AP)

Hepworth knows how to tell a story, be it about Motown mogul Berry Gordy’s reaction to Marvin Gaye’s landmark single “What’s Going On” (“the worst piece of crap I ever heard”) or the jet-set hippie excesses of Mick and Bianca Jagger’s wedding.

This was the year of “Led Zeppelin IV,” the Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers,” Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story” and David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory.”This also was the year of “Who’s Next” by The Who. Hepworth argues that the lead-off track, “Baba O’Riley,” propelled by that distinctive synthesizer riff and thundering power chords, is a high-water mark of an incredible year and a precursor to what would become known as arena rock.

Michael Hill

‘End of Watch’

by Stephen King

(Simon & Schuster)

Readers who missed Brady Hartsfield in the second book in Stephen King’s trilogy about a psychotic killer will be delighted to know he’s alive — but definitely not well — in “End of Watch.”

Don’t even think about reading it unless you’ve read the previous two books — “Mr. Mercedes” and “Finders Keepers.”

This book cover image released by Scribner shows, "End of Watch," by Stephen King. (Scribner via AP)

The final installment begins where book two ended. Brady is awake in Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. The man who drove a car into a crowd at a job fair and killed eight people is still paralyzed, but his coma has lifted and his brain has never been more alive.

The story of how it all happens is too strange to summarize here. Something about cheap tablets called Zappits, blue fish and experimental brain drugs. Suffice it to say that King pulls off quite a trick, even for him. His killer can now kill again without ever leaving his bed.

Standing in his way are retired detective Bill Hodges, his partner, Holly, and their mutual friend, Jerome Robinson.

King works his customary storytelling magic, unspooling the plot threads almost as quickly as readers can turn the pages. There aren’t really many surprises, but it’s somehow all very compelling.

If you’re wrapping up the trilogy, enjoy. If you’re just getting started, you’re in for a thrilling ride.

Rob Merrill


Week ending 5/29/2016.

Hardcover fiction

1. “The City of Mirrors” by Justin Cronin (Ballantine)

2. “15th Affair” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown)

3. “The Last Mile” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

4. “The Apartment” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)

5. “The Weekenders” by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s Press)

6. “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Ecco)

7. “After You” by Jojo Moyes (Viking Dorman)

8. “Extreme Prey” by John Sandford (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

9. “The Fireman” by Joe Hill (William Morrow)

10. “The Obsession” by Nora Roberts (Berkley)

Publishers Weekly