Merciless by Mary Burton
January 25, 2011
Paperback, 416 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I did my job very well Detective. If you had done yours better we wouldn’t be here.”
Dead prostitutes don’t even send a ripple through the city’s crime beat but when a vicious killer makes his presence known by taking the life of an actress, Detective Deacon Garrison and Detective Malcolm Kier are once again pulled back into the deep and disturbed mind of a serial killer.
When bones are found by a couple of boys in a park, Detectives Kier and Garrison learn that they belong to a semi famous actress who has ties to a previous case and suspect which makes them suspicious. When another body is found, Angie Carlson drawn is into the case when the body is identified as a former prostitute that Angie cross examined during a trial. A trial that released a suspect Kier had worked hard to put away. The connection between Angie and the dead bodies has Kier thinking that Angie will be the killer’s next victim. Throughout the investigation, past and present emerge and collide with staggering revelations that will leave you stunned at the convoluted set up of this plot.
Merciless follows on the heels of Mary Burton’s first book-Senseless. Though both can be read as a stand alone, it helps to read Senseless first as the characters and storyline bleed over. In here the focus is placed on Detective Malcolm Kier and Angie Carlson. I enjoyed Merciless as much as Senseless. Perhaps more. Full of dark suspense and tension, this taut police procedural grips you from page one and doesn’t let go. The fast pacing and smooth conversational writing style was enhanced by the different POV’s we were treated to. The plot is an intriguing read, set up with multiple sub plots that build the suspense layer by layer until you reach the stunning conclusion that shocks you with it’s deception. I found the over all lay out fuller and the characters more personable and engaging this time around.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Malcolm and Angie in Senseless and was pleased to see this one focuses more on them. Angie is Eve’s half sister and a lawyer. Intelligent and courageous, she is dealing with the guilt of Eve and their childhood, some cases she had in the past, and a failed relationship. As she begins to inadvertently help Kier and Garrison with their investigation, she discovers some family secrets that ties back into Eve’s incarceration.
Malcolm is more developed here and we are given much insight into his personality and devotion to the job. Intelligent and tenacious, he has a strong sense of justice that Angie has stepped on many times. They are a lot alike and it was humorous to watch them snark at each other.
The chemistry between Kier and Angie is fabulous. No awkward scenes or guessing in this one. You sense it from their first encounter and Ms. Burton uses it skillfully to blend and enhance the storyline. Malcolm has never forgave Angie for defending and getting his suspect off on attempted murder charges. The sparks of their attraction set the pages on fire as these two go from enemies to adversaries. The physical scenes are almost non existent but in a story like this, the romance is a bonus, not a requirement.
The secondary characters are as rich and inviting as they were in Senseless. The dynamics between the characters were crisper, and more defined. The cast is a solid foundation in which our two protagonists work and build from. We see some old friends from Senseless– Eve and Deacon, King and Bobby; plus meet some new ones that help explain some lingering questions from Senseless. The villains here are truly amoral. Deceit and deception; wrapped in a normal intelligent package. The inclusion of their POVs makes for some gripping scenes.
Merciless is an exhilarating action packed thriller that submerges us into the twisted minds of two killers who’s ties to Eve and Angie lead us to stunning conclusion that will leave even the most jaded reader shocked and thrilled.