No Mercy

No Mercy

Book - 2019 | First edition.
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Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season. "A gripping and powerful read. It is what we call an edge-of-your-seat, rollercoaster of a thriller. You will not be able to put it down before you finish it."--The Washington Book Review on The Vanishing Season No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen's heart-pounding second novel. Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than "getting in touch with her feelings." For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker. Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer's closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn't quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job--stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone's past but her own--a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781250297365
Branch Call Number: FIC SCHAFFH
Characteristics: viii, 305 pages ; 25 cm


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Jan 26, 2019

No Mercy is the type of book I try not to read anymore; a crazed killer, a damaged heroine, and a slight will they/ won’t they subplot. Except when the book is written by Joanna Schaffhausen. Then I am on the hunt for the book.
Evidently you can’t shoot a crazed killer in cold blood. Especially you can’t pull that trigger if you are a cop. Even if you are Ellery Hathaway, the only survivor of the serial killer that the most recent dead serial killer is emulating. Confused? Then read The Vanishing Season. Not because it is necessary to understand No Mercy but just for the sheer pleasure. Read it and weep.
Anywhohows, as my ol’ daddy would say, Ellery is on suspension and is in forced therapy. Ellie doesn’t think she needs individual therapy much less group therapy for crime victims. She won’t apologize for shooting the psychopath and she already knows she is damaged w-a-a-a-a-a y beyond healing.
Some of these members have been in this group for a good many years, which is a pretty damn depressing realization on its own merit. In order to get through group therapy hell, Ellie decides to help out a few of the other members of her therapy group.
Ellery realizes early on that she can’t help these people alone and that she needs the help of the FBI agent, Reed Markham, who saved her once. He was drawn to help the young police officer once again in The Vanishing Season. For some odd reason Reed is told that he will pay a tough professional price if he aids Ellie again. Serial killers, the gift that just keeps on giving.
Schaffhausen has written such wonderfully damaged characters with Ellery and Reed. Ellery is haunted by why she survived when no other victims did. Reed is haunted by the “if only” thoughts of why he couldn’t have been faster, smarter and saved more victims. Ellery is his victory, and maybe now his downfall. Again.
Schaffhausen certainly kept me guessing. The crimes Ellery are asked to look into aren’t unusual but they are vicious and the victims are still hoping for some kind of peace and closure. Ellery, however, knows there is no such thing. With one villain, the leads were there, with the other storyline being a true whodunit. Ellie is also reminded of the law of unintended consequences.
Reed utilizes his analytic profiling skills to help Ellie despite the professional price he might pay, which sucks as he is finally coming to accept the personal price he has paid to be an agent.
Schaffhausen’s secondary characters were intriguing and spent no time in the “flat character green room” waiting to be brought on-page. When the other characters appear, they can be mesmerizing.
There are secondary plots with surprising family issues that are just as compelling and will have you eagerly looking for the third book.
There is a hint of romance between Ellie and Reed, but it never goes anywhere because the two numbskulls don’t seem to realize there are lots of airplanes, trains and buses that travel between Virginia and Boston. Which makes me crazy.
The pace is perfect; the dialogue is smooth until it explodes in unexpected directions. This nascent series is one of the best I’ve read in recent years.
My thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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