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Merciless    by Richard Montanari order for
by Richard Montanari
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Richard Montanari is an international bestselling author in more than ten countries, and foreign rights for his novels have been sold all over the world. His newest novel Merciless (he's written five others) brings to the printed page a deranged killer who is hung up on children's bedtime fairy tales.

His method of killing is chilling and the hunt for him is thrilling. Homicide cops Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano handle the case one that affects them both emotionally, as much more than just their jobs. Finding a dead young woman posed on the banks of the Schuylkill River, dressed in old fashioned garb and missing her feet, would be enough to cause sleepless nights for anyone.

Bryne and Balzano follow this killer's trail from one murder site to another, not realizing that nasty past crimes are linked to present day ones. Merciless has a tightly written plot with well fleshed out characters some of whom you hope you would never meet. The fast-paced action takes place in and around Philadelphia. Montanari's use of the city where I was born made his make-believe plot even more real to me. He uses locations effectively to further his storyline.

Richard Montanari is a masterful storyteller with a talent for bringing his background and characters alive. Engrossing, absorbing, gripping, riveting, enthralling. Whatever adjective one picks, Merciless is all that and more.

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