Review: Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart.

Posted July 17, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Hero: Charlie Wanamaker
Heroine: Mallory Russo
Grade: 4 out of 5

New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart crafts compelling stories of romantic suspense, full of richly imagined characters, dazzling plot twists, and breathless action that keeps the pages turning. Now Stewart begins a thrilling new series–with a novel that proves to be her biggest and boldest yet.

On a balmy spring evening, four high school seniors–three boys and a girl–enter a park in the small Pennsylvania city of Conroy. The next morning, two of the boys are found shot to death, and the girl and the third boy are gone. After three weeks with no leads and no sign of either of the two missing teenagers, the chief of police begins to wonder if they too were victims. But with no other suspects, the authorities conclude that one of these kids was the shooter.

The missing boy’s grandmother, a secretary at the local parish church, maintains his innocence. On her behalf, the parish priest, Father Kevin Burch, hires former detective Mallory Russo as a private investigator to figure out what happened in the park that night. Mallory had ended her nine-year stint with the Conroy police force some time ago after becoming a target of a smear campaign. Now a true-crime author, Mallory is surprised to receive the priest’s offer–and highly intrigued by the case. She can’t help but accept the challenge–especially when she learns that her investigation will be financed by Father Burch’s cousin the reclusive billionaire Robert Magellan, a man whose own wife and infant son disappeared without a trace a year ago, a man who understands the heartache of not knowing what happened to a loved one.

Detective Charlie Wanamaker is facing another sort of tragedy. He fled Conroy years ago with no plans to return to what he considered a dying factory town–until a family emergency brought him back. Finding the situation much worse than he’d thought, he trades his job as a big-city detective for one with the Conroy police department. Assigned to the park shooting case, Charlie quickly realizes that the initial investigation left a lot of questions unanswered. Unofficially, he teams up with Mallory to uncover the truth and find the two kids, dead or alive. What Charlie and Mallory discover will take them down a twisted path that leads to an old unsolved murder–and justice for a killer with a heart of stone.

This is another one of my firsts for a new to me author and I was really excited about reading this one. I’m knee deep in a romantic suspense reading binge right now and this book kept the momentum going.

Everything you need to know is in the blurb of the story which is written above. I’m going to jump right into what worked for me and what didn’t work for me.

This book started off really good, I was completely intrigued by Rob’s story and even though I felt for him and the loss of his family, I really, really wanted him to somehow end up in love with Susannah, his assistant. I guess since this is the first book of the Mercy Street Foundation books, we’ll get to see more of Rob and Susannah’s romance over the course of the books and that alone makes me anxious for the next one.

This book was about Charlie Wannamaker and Mallory Russo. They’re thrown together to work on a case of 2 missing teenagers. The grandmother of the missing boy contacts Father Burch (Rob’s cousin) and wants to hire a PI to find her missing grandson. Frank makes Rob pay for the PI and they find a capable ex-detective (Mallory) to do the job. Mallory is working for the grandmother and Charlie is the new detective on the Conroy Police Force and he’s been assigned to the case as well. Mallory and Charlie work together and they’re both anxious to resolve this case.

It’s one of those cases that you can’t just walk away from…until you’ve got all of the puzzle pieces and you’ve put the entire puzzle back together again.

I really felt that Mallory was a good heroine. She was strong, dependable and good at what she did. Nothing got by her and she did whatever it took to solve this case and I liked that she was fair and honest in everything she did. She didn’t cheat her way to the top, she was by the book but she wasn’t a square because of it all. She was caring and she was honorable. I don’t remember too many heroines where they’re made out to be made of honor, honest yes, but the way that MS wrote Mallory’s character, it was obvious that Mallory was one of the good guys and she was honorable and I really enjoyed that.

I thought Charlie was a good hero as well, but he wasn’t the OMGOSH HE’S THE BEST kind of hero. Not the kind that is in your face great because though I knew he was a good hero, it would have been nice to get to know Charlie, the man better. I got that he felt guilty about his mom and his sister and I got that he was diggin’ on Mallory but that was about it to his character. I felt like MS just skimmed the surface with his character….but I still enjoyed getting to know him, I just wish there would have been more.

The main characters for me were Rob and Suse. Those were the two who’s story that I kept reading on for. It was like this was the beginning of their story and Charlie and Mallory’s romance was thrown in for more umph. For me, it was Rob and Suse’s story that I want to read. It was what they were doing that mattered to me, everything else was secondary.

I enjoyed the storyline about the two missing teenagers and it was a treat to read about Mallory and Charlie getting closer and closer to solving the case and it was also a delight to read about those two falling for each other. But I knew what was going to happen before it all went down so there really wasn’t much of a mystery there, but even though I knew how everything was going to happen before it happened it was still an enjoyable read but for me, the draw was Robert Megallan and Sussanah.

I wanted to know what Suse was doing on her weekends away from Robert. I wanted to see how Robert was dealing with the loss of his family and I wanted to see him grieve when nobody was around, that’s what I really wanted from this book.

There wasn’t much romance between Charlie and Mallory wasn’t this long drawn out affair. There was no running away from their feelings, there was no drama. They were attracted to each other and they went for it, clear and easy. I liked that. The down side however was that there really wasn’t much romance in this book, just hints of a romance and one over before you can blink love scene but whatever, it was still a good book.

I’m still going to read the next book in the series and I’m going to be excited to read more about Rob and Suse (hopefully) in future books. I also look forward to more Mallory and Charlie. So yeah, I’m sure ya’ll will enjoy this book.

This book is available from Ballantine Books. You can buy it here or here.

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4 responses to “Review: Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart.

  1. Lori

    This is one I’ve been holding out for RWA to buy. I really dig Stewart’s books. They are never heavy on the romance, though Wena, so if you’re expecting more from the next book, get out of that mindset now. It’s always secondary, sometimes almost nonexistent.

  2. Rowena

    Oh really? Alright then, consider myself out of that mindset because I did enjoy the story and do want to read more from MS. So thanks sweets!

  3. I used to read Romance Suspense that was light on the romance and more of a suspense read. I got burned out from them and now prefer books that have an intense romance in them, high sexual tension as well. I recently read Cindy Gerard and so love hers! She has that all along with a great suspense plot!

    This does sound great with the plot! A great suspense for those who enjoy those!

  4. I’ve been on a romantic suspense binge myself since about April and it shows no signs of letting up. I think I’ll check out this one as well because I really enjoy a series where there are recurring characters and you get to see the relationships build over time. I’m reading an interesting one right now, 3 Aces by Richard Ide. I’d never considered romantic suspense written by a guy before, but so far it’s really good and I’m really enjoying it.

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