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Mercy Paperback – 26 Nov 2009
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‘This will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.’ Closer
About the Author
David Kessler dropped out of school at the age of 15 and was self-educated from then on. He struggled for 25 years to become a published author before finally making his breakthrough with A Fool for a Client, a legal thriller set in New York. This was followed up by The Other Victim, Tarnished Heroes and Reckless Justice. He also courted controversy by co-writing Who Really Killed Rachel (about the Wimbledon Common murder) with Colin Stagg, the man who was falsely accused of the crime. The book is now out of print, but since then, the real murderer - who was named in the book - has been convicted of the crime.
Top customer reviews
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As you may have guessed, from the opening line, this is a book about a lawyer trying to save a client on Death Row, with just 15 hours left before the execution. It should have been obvious from the opening line, the author was going to sacrifice depth for pace. But I didn't realize to what extent, until I read it. I am not saying that we never got to learn about Alex Sedaka, the idealistic lawyer. In a book of 568 pages, it was inevitable that we would learn a fair bit about him, in brief snippets and vignettes here and there. But I would have liked to know more, even if that had made the book longer and slowed the pace down a little. The same goes for his paralegal Juanita, who seems to have an interesting history (her cousin was a gang member who was implicated in the murder of Alex Sedaka's wife). But the author teases more than he reveals.
The problem was that in his efforts to unravel the murder of a teenage girl, allegedly by the boy who bullied her in high school, the hero discovers that the case that he took over only six weeks ago is, in fact,far from straightforward. The reader's problem is that it is quite hard to digest all this complex information at the rate at which it is being revealed to us. The twists and turns are by no means arbitrary: each one leads neatly to the next. It is just that as soon as we have digested one new piece of information or its implications, we are hit by another, forcing us once again to revise our picture of the events.
In a way, this is a clever lesson in prejudice. We learn how easy it is to misinterpret one piece of information, unless we have all the other pieces. But learning about our own flaws doesn't really help our understanding. You have to be on the ball when reading this book. If you're tired, you might miss something and then have to re-read in order to understand it.
On the whole, though, I would say that,as a murder mystery this one was good. It was certainly good enough to induce me to buy the second Alex Sedaka mystery, No Way Out.
But gathering the evidence to prove it in such a taut time-frame is another matter. With the help of his physicist son and dedicated paralegal, he makes some headway, but the final goal seems tantalisingly elusive.
The ending is a stunner.
In 560 addictive, captivating pages, Kessler played with me, taunted me, misled me, tantalized me and shocked me. And there was nothing I could do except grit my teeth, hold tight and go along for the ride. I won't tell you to read it. All I'll say is this: read the first chapter. That's tantamount to saying the same thing.
Although the author resists the temptation to succumb to sentimentality, this is a gut-wrenching story, as it deals not only with guilt and innocence, but also with the various DEGREES of guilt and innocence.
Unsatisfactory ending, too many unnnecessary names and characters, too many loose ends left untied, completely unbelievable dialogue...sure, two twenty-somethings prattle on to each other about Sylvia Plath all the time dont they.
Not completely rubbish, the short chapters were a good thing, helped to create a little bit of pace & tension towards the end, which was very much inkeeping with the ticking clock storyline. However it took 250 pages to start going anywhere, had about 100 pages which gripped me, then it became obvious what the twist was going to be yet the author determined to keep toying with us under the assumption that we wouldnt know and wouldnt see it coming a mile off. I'm not the sharpest tool in the box, but i did!
That's not to say the twist wasnt a good idea, i would even have give the book 3 stars if it weren't for such a stupidly vague ending.
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