Source: Review copy
Publication: 19 November (ebook) 22 January p/back from One More Chapter
A brutal murder…
When a burned body is found with its teeth missing, DC Maggie Jamieson discovers that the victim may be the husband of one of her probation colleagues.
A dark history…
As the body count rises, the team becomes increasingly baffled by how the victims could possibly be connected until a clue leads them to a historical case that was never prosecuted.
A terrible secret…
In order to catch the killer, Maggie must piece together what happened all those years ago before it’s too late.
I do enjoy this series because it has a multi-layered approach to policing, mirroring what happens in practice and allowing Noelle Holten to spread the load of a big case between agencies, with detection, probation, social services and violent offending all playing a part in her books and giving scope for a range of different characters to dip in and out of the books.
This time Maggie is working closely with the probation service. All the time I was reading this book I was getting a prickling up and down the back of my neck. There’s a layer of authenticity here that feels so real and so it was not a great surprise to me when I googled and found that the book is rooted in real cases that occurred in Holten’s bailiwick.
And that’s why these books work quite so well. You get great characters – impetuous Maggie; Nathan showing that he can handle the role of Maggie’s boss with calm and equanimity; Kat, who’s settling in to her role but is brusque and impatient. Dr Kate Moloney, consultant psychiatrist is also back now and it’s just as well, for the team have a serial killer on their hands and profiling is going to be important to pin down this perpetrator’s identity.
It’s also good to see Maggie at home, seeing how her job and her home life overlap as she worries about her brother, has a difficult relationship with her parents and is trying to work out her feelings towards the local crime reporter, Julie Noble.
But why they work is because although the actual cases in the book are fictional, there’s more than enough reality around both the policing methods and the crimes to make them feel authentic.
Dead Mercy is a dark book, dealing with some very grim crimes and it’s one of those areas where, though there’s no justification for the levels of violence and for murder, nevertheless you can’t help feeling sorry for those who were victims even if that led to more violence and further criminality.
Verdict: Dead Mercy is a sad tale of revenge, deadly intent and little mercy, despite the title. It is a tense and thrilling read. Often emotive, well-paced and incredibly intense, it combines great characters with powerful drama, but mostly it is a tale of broken people and how little we do to help them. That’s what stays with me as I think about it now.
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.