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  • Mercy
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 August 2011
The most amazing thing about this book is that the author manages to hold it together despite the intricacy of the plot. It starts as a simple case of a lawyer making a last-minute clemency plea for his death row client. But from there it launches into a frantic race against time as the idealistic lawyer belatedly comes to the conclusion that his client is innocent.

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.
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on 23 July 2011
"It's hard to sit still when your client is scheduled to die in fifteen hours."

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.
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on 1 August 2011
If the Geneva Convention could be applied to authors, David Kessler would be hauled before a court and tried for subjecting the reader to the exquisite torture of being held captive for hour and deprived of sleep by this compelling - indeed irresistible - book. I absolutely had to know, was the accused man guilty, who did what, when and how. Also, whether innocent or guilty, I needed to know how it ended. Was he executed or not?

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.
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on 2 August 2011
I was drawn to this eBook by the price, but after reading it I think I can safely say that it would be a bargain even at the full price. The story of a lawyer trying to save his client from the death penalty is a hardy perennial of the mystery and suspense genre. But there are so many versions that any new entrant into the field has to be extremely good to survive the test of Darwinian competition in a glutted market. This one certainly does. The characters are just perfect. The lawyer is smart but not a genius. His pretty assistant is dedicated but not subservient - in fact she has a healthy dose of "attitude". The mother of the victim is a symbol of pathos and all too human. And the condemned man is... Shall we say, an enigma. I'm not one for spoilers, so we'll leave it at that.
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on 2 August 2011
I am not a young man and so I tend to read slowly. But in this case I found it rather hard because the book cries out to be read fast. The reader is swept along by the story, by the author's enthusiasm and by the main character's determination as he fights tooth-and-nail to save his client from the clutches of a harsh and imperfect legal system.

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.
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on 10 December 2012
Saw the 'twist' at the end coming a mile off, well about 200 pages previously actually, and im sure most people did yet it carried on right up to the point where it had to spell it out and by the time it did, well, it wwas old news.

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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on 29 September 2010
I am a great fan of Peter James writing, I had not found an author that could touch his work until I read Mercy by David Kessler. Great story, edge of your seat reading right to the very end. Love it
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on 6 January 2012
Brilliant book. Gripping thriller from first to last. A fresh fast and furious race against the clock read for all!
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on 23 September 2011
I bought this on the strength of the reviews and because it was cheap, so I thought I couldn't go wrong. Mistake. The plot is ridiculous and completely unbelievable. I don't mind unbelievable in a fantasy novel but not in a crime thriller. The paragraph about the author at the end says he spent a long time getting published and I can see why. The dialogue is truly awful. Most chapters end on so-called cliff hangers that become simply tiresome after a while. I'd rather pay 5 times as much for a decent read to be honest.
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on 5 July 2011
There are several things to like about this book - it is certainly a fast paced affair with an unusual 15 hour time-frame similar to 24.

On the downside however there are many, many things to dislike:
(1) The novel is all plot and no characterisation.
(2) the plot itself is simply ludicrous. I like an unexpected twist but here they twist, then twist again, and again, and again until the sequence of events is nothing but an extremely unlikely gordian knot.
(3) Because of this, the characters themselves are constantly thinking aloud along the lines of "maybe X did Y but then that doesn't explain Z..."
(4) In similar '24'-style, despite being set in the busy metropolis of San Francisco, nowhere seems to be more than 20 minutes away.
(5) Without giving too much of the plot away, part of the tension is around the sending of a fax. A fax? This book is set in 2009! Email it!!!

Overall then it gets a disappointing 2 stars - there are many better books out there than this Dan Brown-ish nonsense.
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