Bradley is having an unsettling day. For someone who loves his routines, the fact that everything started off out of sync isn’t making the accountant very happy. The fact that he feels uneasy for the first time in his quiet neighborhood doesn’t escape him, especially not as he drives past the stranger digging around in his car and their eyes meet—evil, that is what Bradley sees in the depths of the man’s eyes, pure evil. When it is discovered that a grisly murder has taken place inside the house that the man had been parked in front of, Bradley knows he caught a glimpse of the killer.
As Bradley himself falls victim to the serial killer on the loose, the only thing standing between him and the madman is a grumpy, sarcastic cop, Max Donohue. Max may need some real help with his bedside manner and he may be difficult to like and hard to work with, but Max is good at his job and right now that means catching a killer and keeping Bradley, their only living witness, alive.
With brutal intensity, author Brittany Cournoyer unleashes a new murder mystery with At a Stranger’s Mercy. With incredibly graphic crime scene descriptions and an edge-of-your-seat pace, the novel unfolds the murder spree of an insane man who not only decapitates his victims, but takes pieces of them as trophies. This novel is not for the faint of heart by any stretch of the imagination. This is a fast and furious story that doesn’t shy away from describing every move the killer has made and every horrifying detail of the crime scenes left behind. It is also not really a romance, although there is the beginning of a very possible relationship between Max and Bradley by novel’s end. There is no cliffhanger per se, but rather a promise of future encounters between the two main characters and the revelation that Max is invested in winning back Bradley’s trust.
What there is though is a really well-constructed mystery and one that kept me guessing until the end. Even though Max is pretty rude to most everyone he meets, he is a darn good detective and, as he puts the pieces together, we are constantly tantalized with subtle clues that something happened in his own past to make him as we see him today—distant, angry, and calculatingly cold when it comes to both the job and his private life. Whereas Bradley is an open book—an accountant who likes his rituals and life organized, Max is a wild card and it makes me really eager for the next book in this series to learn more about him. That, coupled with the attraction that has begun to simmer beneath the surface between Max and Bradley, means we will be seeing more of these two as the series progresses.
While Brittany Cournoyer is a new author for me, I can safely say that I will be checking out her future work. Despite the graphic content, I felt each depiction of every crime scene was warranted in order to make the tension and fear Bradley felt plausible and realistic. I really enjoyed At a Stranger’s Mercy and will be waiting with baited breath for the next story to drop.