May 16 2008
Dear Ms. Stewart:
I was really grateful to find your book on my doorstep. I admit that I had stopped buying your books when they went to hardcover because of cost and then I would forget to buy the book when it came out in paperback. This is kind of sad on my part because you are really a good writer. Mercy Street is a good blend of romance and mystery/suspense and the secondary plot line provides a very piquant dilemma for your readers. I’m still ambivalent about how I want the secondary plot to be resolved.
Four teens go into a park. Two are shot dead and two go missing. The grandmother of one of the mmissing boy is Father Kevin Burch’s parish secretary. Father Burch gets his cousin, Robert Magellan, to underwrite the hiring of a PI. Mallory Russo, a good looking blonde, was forced to retire from the local police force but remains, in the eyes of her supervisors, a superior investigator. Detective Charlie Wanamaker returns to his home town to take care of his alcoholic mother and autistic sister. Mallery and Charlie work together to solve the mystery of the missing teens.
The subplot is that of Robert Magellan, a wealthy internet entrepreunuer. Robert’s wife and child have been missing for 15 months. No sign of them has appeared and he’s half ready to give in and take his own life. His personal assistant, Suzanne, has loved Robert forever. She thought by sticking with him that perhaps he’d awaken to her as a woman. Instead he met another woman, had a whirlwind affair, and married her. Suzanne continues to work with Robert and searches for Beth and his child in the meantime, knowing that without finding them, Robert will never be able to move forward. Because Suzanne and Robert are so likeable, their story arc is very moving. There is bound to be some tragedy awaiting them both regardless of whether Beth and the child are alive or dead.
The romance is fairly uncomplicated between Mallery and Charlie but in these suspense books, I like it that way. I think if the romance was more angst filled, it would be too much drama along with the suspense. I loved that it was the heroine leading the investigation. It also made sense given that Mallery was more familiar with the people and the landscape.
My complaints were related to the resolution of the mystery. First, I thought the solution was pretty obvious at the beginning and was a bit impatient for everyone to catch on. Second, I thought that the red herring was too easily resolved at the end. It was too pat and for the gravity of the situation, too emotionless.
When I finished, I was anxious for the sequel. B