Internet mogul Robert Magellan’s life has been torn apart by the disappearance of his wife, Beth, and their baby son, Ian. Beth took Ian with her to her cousin’s baby shower, joined in the festivities and then left for home, only to seemingly vanish into thin air. Somehow, in spite of a lengthy and exhaustive search, the woman, the baby and a Jeep Cherokee are nowhere to be found.
Over a year later, Robert’s cousin, Father Kevin Burch, shows up asking Robert to pay for an investigator to locate the missing teenage grandson of his parish secretary, Mary Corcoran. Mary’s grandson, Ryan, met his three closest friends from Our Lady of Angels High at the Dexter Street playground, a place they had frequented since childhood, on a lovely April evening. However, this night would be different from those previous meetings, because two high school seniors, Adam and James, were shot to death, and two others, Ryan and Courtney, disappeared.
Robert is struggling with his own demons and disappointments, and is not particularly enthused about financing the search. His experience with private investigators left him convinced that there are none who are competent or trustworthy. But his close relationship with his cousin and the plight of Mary Corcoran convince him to cover the costs if a reputable investigator can be located.
Enter ex-cop Mallory Russo. Mallory was rising through the ranks quickly when rumors and scandal put an end to what was shaping up to be a promising career. Now she’s off the force and working on a true-crime book. The last thing she wants is to return to active detective work. However, when an old friend and colleague recommends Father Burch contact her about the missing teens, Mallory is too intrigued to resist the challenge of helping these young people and their families.
Mallory is not working alone for long, though. Before her investigation has barely begun, she crosses paths with Charlie Wanamaker. Charlie is from the old neighborhood but recent years have seen him on the Philadelphia police force. Now he’s back and joining the Conroy force in order to care for his wildly dysfunctional family.
Not only do Charlie and Mallory make a dynamic duo on the crime front, they develop a chemistry that reaches beyond professional simpatico. Before they know it, they’re comparing notes, tracking down leads and hot on the trail of the teens and a killer. As if they don’t have enough on their hands, there is also a sniper loose in Conroy, keeping the citizens scared and on edge.
It’s a race to the finish as they try to solve the mystery of the killings and locate the missing kids, the only ones who hold the answers to the horrific crime that has shaken this small community.
MERCY STREET is a gem in the ever-growing selection of romantic suspense novels. Mariah Stewart has created real characters with flaws and problems. They are memorable and likable, stay with you, and make you wonder what they’re doing long after you close the book. She also has tied together three mysteries into one fascinating story, and I for one can’t wait for the next installment in the Mercy Street Foundation series.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 7, 2011