"You kill one guy, one time, and suddenly everyone thinks you need therapy, Ellery Hathaway thought as she stood in the biting wind of the subway T platform overlooking the icy Charles River. Doesn't matter if everyone is glad he's dead. She debated again whether to follow through on her shrink's orders to show up at the group meeting for survivors of violent crime. ... But Ellery knew all crimes were not created equal. There was getting mugged on the street, and then there was surviving an abduction by one of the world's most infamous serial killers."
Despite being on mandated leave from the police force, Ellery begins investigating two crimes involving two of the other violent crime victims in her group: an arson that took place two decades ago, and a more recent rape. She calls on FBI agent, Reed Markham, for help, needing his profiling skills. And though it puts his promotion on the line, he flies to Boston when she calls because it's Ellery. Their complicated relationship began sixteen years ago, when Markham rescued a 14-year-old Ellery from a notorious serial killer. Her scars still run deep. And as much as Reed would like to keep her safe, her own impulsiveness keeps putting her in danger. Especially when she gets a little too close to the truth on one of her new 'cases'.
No Mercy is Joanna Schaffhausen's second book about Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham. And it's just as good as The Vanishing Season (which you really need to read first). Besides Schaffhausen's compelling writing, I really like her characters. They're complex and flawed, with personality quirks and vulnerabilities that make them irresistible. I love Ellery's and Reed's tangled past and their uneasy yet growing friendship. I also love the moments Reed spends with his daughter, Tula; Ellery's basset hound, Speed Bump, is a favorite, too. And the mystery itself? It's suspenseful and clever and skillfully drawn out. And that ending! Whew. It's a good one. It makes me even more excited for Schaffhausen's next book.