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A Certain Mercy (Mercy Series Book 1) by William L. Silvaneus
When his business card turns up on the bodies of two dead homeless men, Stephen Brown, the Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army in Grand Island, Nebraska, falls under suspicion of the Chief Investigator, Laqueta Ellison.
The fact that each card contains a message to the deceased raises the stakes. Soon more bodies are found. Is it suicide? Murder?
Some questions must be answered before Stephen Brown and Laqueta Ellison can identify the killer, if there is only one, and, prevent further deaths. An unidentified boy with a torn anus, an eighteen-year-old female incest/prostitution victim, a quadriplegic living in the trees despite being wheelchair bound, a developmentally disabled Native American, and a Mexican family fleeing La Linea.
Why are Grand Island’s most vulnerable dying violently?
Review by Lisa Kovanda: 5.0 out of 5 Stars Do you see me?
“Like any first-time author, I opened this book not knowing what to expect. My plan was to read a few pages before bedtime. Fast forward a few hours and I finished the last page. I’ve had to mull it over a few days before writing this review. First of all, it’s difficult to categorize. It’s not a classic murder mystery with the reader trying to guess who the murderer is. It’s not necessarily a literary style, but more of a challenge by the author to see people. Really see them. What makes them tick. His people are the downtrodden often overlooked homeless and the people who try to help them, mainly focusing on the Salvation Army, which most of us have little more than the Christmas bell ringers to base our knowledge of the organization. The author delves into their lives with calm candor and no judgment. It simply is what it is. It’s the kind of book that sticks in your craw. Do I judge the guy with a dirty backpack and a cardboard sign at a corner? I challenge you to read this book for yourself. I’m interested in your own opinions. Now I’m waiting for his sophomore offering.”
Review by Jim Arrowood: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Reads More Like Truth Than Fiction.
“Set in Grand Island, Nebraska, A Certain Mercy reads like a murder mystery that two people are trying to solve with not a lot to go on except homeless people are turning up dead under unusual circumstances. The victims apparently have little to nothing in common except they are homeless and have had varying levels of contact with Stephen Brown, the Salvation Army’s Director of Social Services in Grand Island. This, of course, placed him on the suspect list. Detective Laqueta Ellison is the chief investigator on the case and she is very good at her job. Once Stephen shows her, he is not very likely a suspect, they work together to learn the truth.
Along with being a great and well written story, Silvaneus provides some of the best character development I have read in years. He doesn’t spill everything on his characters all at once, but we get to know them in much the same way we get to know our friends, just a little at a time. Stephen and Laqueta existed more as living human beings as opposed to just characters in the story. It was also refreshing that he also developed the victims to the point that I found myself caring for them and their safety, right down to the most minor of them. Not all of the characters in the book were good people or victims, there were also some very nasty and hateful characters who were palpably repulsive in their thinking and their actions.
I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading this story, but one thing I did take away from it was a better understanding of the plight of homeless people. I never understood why anyone would choose to live on the streets or in their cars and not try to better themselves. The homeless in this story are not bad people for the most part, but they have all been victimized in some way before they became murder victims. The people are far beyond just being down on their luck or lazy and looking for a handout as a few of the characters in the book suspect. The story also illustrates there are a lot people in need of help, and there are very few willing to provide help to those in need. Fortunately for the characters in the book, there was Stephen and Laqueta who had the compassion to humanize the tragedies and give names to the nameless.
There is a light side to A Certain Mercy that will make a reader feel happiness, but there is also a very dark side to the story that is always disturbing. Many of the descriptions of scenes and events might be considered to be too disturbing for readers that are sensitive to graphic violence. While I recommend this as an excellent piece of writing, sensitive readers may want to consider avoiding it for its graphic content.”
Series: Mercy Series (Book 1).
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About The Author: We live in a world where the habit of labeling people helps us hide from their humanity, their life stories.
William Silvaneus’s whole life, whether writing or working with trauma victims and the disenfranchised, has been spent trying to smash labels and free people from the constraints those labels impose whether on an individual or social level.
His other interests include watercolor painting, creating ornamental egg decorations, writing poetry, and loving his wife, four children and thirteen grandchildren.
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