Mercy Street Review
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It’s been weeks since Mary Corcoran last saw her grandson, Ryan. One night, he left the house with his friend, Courtney, to meet two other friends in a nearby park. The next morning, their two friends were found dead, and Ryan and Courtney were nowhere to be found. The police suspect that Ryan and Courtney are somehow responsible—but Mary knows it isn’t true.

Concerned for Mary, his church’s secretary, Father Kevin Burch convinces his cousin, reclusive billionaire Robert Magellan, to hire someone to look into the case. They hire Mallory Russo, a former detective, to track the teens—and Mallory enlists the help of her replacement, Detective Charlie Wanamaker. Together, the two find themselves hunting a ruthless killer who will do anything to keep from being caught.

This first book in Mariah Stewart’s newest romantic suspense series builds on a cast of interesting characters—though they might actually be just a bit too interesting. Mercy Street makes it seem like everyone in Conroy, Pennsylvania has a troubled past. Mallory and Charlie both have family issues—Mallory knows very little about who she is, while Charlie returned to Conroy to care for his alcoholic mother and his autistic sister. Magellan, meanwhile, is still waiting for the return of his wife and son, who mysteriously disappeared more than a year ago. And his personal assistant, Susanna…well, she’s secretly in love with her boss. While their personal problems do make them intriguing characters, the fact that pretty much everyone in the story (except for Father Kevin) seems to have deep-seated issues makes it seem a bit unrealistic.

At the same time, though, the characters and their various backgrounds and predicaments do make for an enticing series set-up. As you get to know the characters, you’ll want to know how they’ll face their problems. You’ll want to know how Mallory will handle her issues with her family—and with the police force that pushed her out. You’ll want to know what really happened to Magellan’s wife and son. And you’ll want to know how the characters’ romances will play out. For the most part, the story is filled with likeable characters, and you’ll want to see things work out for them.

When it comes to the story, Mercy Street is a well-written police procedural, but it doesn’t offer a whole lot of surprises. Stewart does a good job of presenting the case and putting the pieces together, but the story isn’t exactly thrilling. In fact, it’s rather disappointingly predictable—so much so, in fact, that you might wonder why the Conroy detectives needed Mallory to put the pieces together.

For those who like a little bit of meat on their mysteries, Mercy Street will fall a bit flat. The intriguing characters, however, give the series promise—and I’m interested to see what’s in store for them in future novels.

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