Author: John Burley
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: November 2013
Just west of the Ohio River, lies the peaceful town of Wintersville. Safe from the crime and congestion of city life, it is the perfect place to raise a family . . . or so they thought.
Life as the town medical examiner is relatively unhurried for Dr. Ben Stevenson. With only a smattering of cases here and there-car accident victims, death by natural causes-he has plenty of time to spend with his loving wife and two sons. That is until a teenager's body is discovered in the woods and Ben, as the only coroner in the area, is assigned to the case. But as the increasingly animalistic attacks continue, the case challenges Ben in ways he never suspects.
I thought that The Absence of Mercy was a pretty good mystery. The story flowed pretty easily and was well written. The book is told through the points of view of Ben, his wife and the teens in the town. There is a killer loose in the town and it has everyone scared. It was interesting to see how the town reacted to the killings. I thought Ben's reaction to the murders was the most interesting. The way it almost paralyzed him at times and caused him to lose sleep. Being the coroner and having a teenager, the murders must have really hit home.
My only complaint was that I thought the way the murderer was discovered was a little too neat and tidy for me. It was a little unbelievable. I also would have liked a better epilogue. I felt like it left some things open. Despite that, I do recommend the book. It's a great effort for a debut book!
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About the author:
John Burley attended medical school in Chicago and completed his emergency medicine residencytraining 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.