Dying for Mercy
Mary Jane Clark
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Buy *Dying for Mercy* by Mary Jane Clark online

Dying for Mercy
Mary Jane Clark
400 pages
August 2010
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Dying for Mercy's interesting front cover (a rainbow-reflective gloss over a picture of a spiral staircase) and the back-cover blurb about a house which has a puzzle built in all looked promising. However, I found this Mary Jane Clark suspense novel ultimately disappointing.

Eliza Blake co-anchors a television show, and at the beginning of this story, we discover that her daughter was previously kidnapped. She has now been safely restored to her (I assume this was a previous book) and Eliza is getting back to normal life, which includes preparing for her new weekend home in Tuxedo Park, a moneyed estate in New York. When she attends a party at a newly-refurbished house in Tuxedo Park, though, and the host commits suicide in a strange manner, a many-years-old mystery begins to be uncovered and Eliza is in the thick of it.

Dying for Mercy is strangely written with exceedingly short chapters (many of them were two to three pages long, James Patterson style) and with multiple points of view. It feels like the reader is following the story from a dozen different people. The large cast of characters is off-putting; I would have preferred to just focus on one or two. The behavior of many characters doesnít feel authentic - the journalists seem able to find people who will tell them everything they need to know, for example. The central premise - that the party host would build a puzzle into his house so that people could solve it after his death - runs a bit too far-fetched. Parts of the book are okay, but overall I didnít get to know any of the characters particularly well, and the puzzle/murder mystery didnít interest me much.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Helen Hancox, 2011

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