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The first set of bones is discovered by an off-duty police
officer in the middle of a picnic table in a city park. They have
been displayed to send a message, and the Alexandria, Virginia,
homicide detectives are called in to investigate. After returning
from a much-needed vacation in the mountains, Detective Malcolm
Kier joins his partner, Deacon Garrison, who is already at the
crime scene.

The bleached human bones are identified as belonging to a local
actress who had been going through a divorce. As the detectives dig
into the victim’s past, eerie connections begin to form. The
deceased woman’s attorney is Angela “Angie”
Carlson, who defended Dr. James Dixon, a plastic surgeon with a
taste for violence and rough sex. Dr. Dixon also has a connection
with the deceased actress, who was a patient of his scheduled to
have plastic surgery.

Angie is a creature of habit who “lives and dies by her
routine” and is familiar with the seedy side of human nature.
Years ago, she became an attorney after her younger half-sister,
Eva Rayburn, was falsely accused of arson and murder and served 10
years for manslaughter. Eva is out of prison now and in a
relationship with Deacon. Because of Eva’s background, she is
an advocate for damaged people living in the shadows. Eva
encourages Angie to take on a pro bono child custody case to
represent the woman who was the key witness in the trial against
Dr. Dixon. But after the woman disappears, Angie and Eva put
themselves in harm’s way to find her.

With the discovery of even more bones, the police turn their
attention to Angie. Because of her connection to another victim ---
and the suspected killer --- she’s in danger herself. Malcolm
also has a special interest in Angie, and not all of it is
professional. Also on the scene is a ruthless and ambitious crime
reporter, Connor Donovan, who will do whatever it takes to get a
story, including putting the lives of others at risk.

In MERCILESS, Mary Burton brings back some fascinating
characters --- both heroes and villains --- from her previous
novel, SENSELESS, which released earlier this year. She also
introduces a few new characters, along with family secrets, a
brutal serial killer and steamy romance. Once again, she has woven
a captivating tale, this time showing the best and worst of human
nature --- love, hate, selflessness, greed, madness, murder, and
the twisted mask of evil. MERCILESS is a gripping thriller with
twists and turns, honest emotion and the perfect dose of

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt ([email protected]) on March 28, 2011

by Mary Burton

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Romantic Suspense
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra
  • ISBN-10: 1420110209
  • ISBN-13: 9781420110203