Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Absence Of Mercy by John Burley

Dr. Ben Stevenson lives a  normal life.  The county's medical examiner, he is married to Susan who is also a doctor.  They have two bright, energetic sons.  Thomas is sixteen and Joel is eight.  The Stevensons left the hustle of the city and traded in their stressful lives for the easy day-to-day life of a small town, one where everyone knows everyone else and not much happens.

That all changes one day when a teenage boy goes missing and is found killed in the woods.  Not just killed, but brutally mutilated.  Ben is drawn into the case since he has to do the autopsy, and he can't stop seeing the horrors inflicted on this child.  He becomes defensive, wanting his wife to take the boys and leave town but she convinces him this was a random act that won't reoccur.

Until it does.  The next victim is a girl whose attack is also savage, although she barely escapes with her life.  Her parents are close friends with the Stevensons, drawing them even further into the investigation.  A suspect is located but escapes the police.  The town starts to change, with fewer people outside and everyone starting to look askance at their neighbors.  Trust is starting to dissipate, and there are murmurs against those heading up the investigation. 

John Burley has written a chilling look at how quickly our everyday routine lives can change and how quickly neighbor can be set against neighbor.  He explores the parental responsibility in such a situation and how differing parental styles can create stress in a marriage.  The reader is caught up in a situation that he can barely imagine, and yet can imagine only too well.  This book is recommended for mystery lovers.

1 comment:

Lance Wright said...

Sounds like a really intriguing read. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about it with us.