Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: The Absence of Mercy by John Burley

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from Harper Coollins, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

The Absence of Mercy cover


A doctor and father in small town Ohio weighs the need to catch a killer against his fears for his family’s safety in this psychological suspense novel, told in the vein of Harlan Coben and William Landay.
Just west of the Ohio River, lies the peaceful town of Wintersville. It’s a place where neighbors feel more like family, the Chief of Police knows the residents by name, and the sound of children’s laughter echoes along the neighborhood streets. But when a brutally murdered teenager is discovered in the woods, Dr. Ben Stevenson—the town’s medical examiner—becomes entangled in an investigation that will force him to uncover the dark secrets of his seemingly quiet community, and to ultimately confront a truth that will haunt him forever. With its eerie portrait of suburban life and nerve-fraying plot twists, The Absence ofMercy is psychological suspense at its best—a remarkable debut that challenges as much as it thrills.

This book is like CSI extreme combining with Family Drama 101 and a parent's worst nightmare. It is more than just a thriller, it is the study of human nature, of what a parent will do to protect their child and how because of that blinders will keep them from the truth until it is almost too late. This is not a book to read in one sitting, it's pace is much slower than you may be used to for a suspense/thriller. In fact, I accidently lost my place, and the next day after I'd read a chapter, realized I had jumped 5 chapters ahead. BUT, I was not confused, and in fact,  I just kept reading from where I was at. It's rare for me to say a book' pacing is that slow, but this one is. If you like the anticipation and slow reveal, then it's fine and you'll like it. But I like my suspense thrillers to be faster paced. I'm not sure why I didn't really connect with the characters- in the beginning I did, but as the book went on I stayed on the Sheriff's side/point of view. Some readers have complained about the ending, but I actually liked the part of the killer being smarter than the main characters, as I think that was the kernel of truth in the novel, to begin with. As this is the author's debut book, I'm sure the next will be improved. If you like medical/serial killer thrillers, you might want to give this one a shot. 

About the  Author:
John Burley attended medical school in Chicago and completed his emergency medicine residency training at University of Maryland Medical Center/Shock Trauma in Baltimore. He currently serves as an emergency medicine physician in northern California, where he lives with his wife, daughter, Great Dane, and English Bulldog. This is his first novel.

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