Review: Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden

Posted on July 30, 2011


We interrupt my blogging hiatus with a book review that wouldn’t go away in my head.  But before we get to it, how are you doing?  Are you enjoying the summer with outdoor activities or still managing to read despite the sun’s lure?  I’ve been reading but yesterday the hubby and I played hooky from work and did a 2 1/2 hours hike out in the mountains.  Surprisingly, my legs aren’t sore and the body isn’t screaming the next day.  Yay, I still have hopes for my lazy self.  LOL!

Series: None [though the characters in the next book are connected]

Hero: Cole Williams

Heroine: Megan Flynn

He lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching . . . And once he has you, all you can do is. . .

Megan Flynn thought she was falling in love. Cole Williams wasn’t just handsome and passionate, he was one of the good guys. Or so she thought, until he arrested her brother-the only family she has left-for a murder she knows he couldn’t have possibly committed. Now, with her heart broken and her brother’s life hanging in the balance, Megan will risk everything to prove his innocence. Even if that means throwing herself into the path of a sadistic killer with a hauntingly familiar MO.

Seattle Detective Cole Williams had given up on making Megan see reason where her brother is concerned. But when she insinuates herself into the most shockingly brutal case Cole has ever worked, he can’t stand idly by. Plunged into a secret world where the city’s elite indulge their darkest desires, Cole will do whatever it takes to bring down a madman who has made Megan his most coveted prey.

Time is running out.  Megan’s brother, Sean, is on death row and only days away from lethal injection for the brutal murder of a woman.  Megan is desperate to prove her brother’s innocence.  She strongly believes that her brother isn’t capable of the crime even though it is obvious he suffers post traumatic stress from his military time.  Even though there’s damning evidence.

Megan’s convictions that Sean didn’t commit the murder is something to be admired.  At at time when the evidences are stacking high she doesn’t once question her beliefs nor does she give up hope.  The arresting officer in Sean’s case was Detective Cole Williams, a man Megan was beginning to fall for.  Needless to say, any connection they had nosedived when he arrested her brother and denounced their relationship to the public.  With no significant other, the only remaining member of her family is the one incarcerated, and any friends she had prior to her brother’s arrest long gone, Megan is very much alone in her quest to save Sean.  Even with the general public thinking that she is in denial, Megan doesn’t let any of it stop her in her resolve to save her brother.  And boy does she stand strong, becomes annoying, and make some TSTL decisions.  In any other book I would’ve stopped reading because I can’t stand heroines who think and act foolishly but Megan’s behavior is believable as I could relate to Megan’s pain.  There was a time when I was going to lose a sibling – though not for the same reason as Sean – and I would’ve put all that I could to save my family.  My sibling’s case wasn’t at the same life and death point but it was close.  The desperation, fear, hope…all the emotions Megan went through, I felt them.  And so I sympathized with Megan’s faith and determination which I found to be the drive of the story.

When a series of murdered prostitute women reveals similar patterns to Sean’s case, Megan and Cole comes into contact again. There’s attraction on both sides but no rush to get them back together or between the sheets.  It is very refreshing and much more realistic when the two doesn’t immediately override their previous commonsense with sex or inappropriate moments of groping.  Megan has a lot of residual feelings toward Cole but does a good job masking her pain when she faces him.  She stays firm to her beliefs and keep on digging for any and all clues.  As for Cole, he was unbending to Megan after he had arrested her brother three years before.  He’s a by-the-book type of guy and there was no mixing of his personal life from his professional one.  But that was then.  Though he still feels that Sean is guilty of the murder he’s now relenting to help Megan so that she could move on with her life.  That was his reasoning until Megan is nearly killed and the damning evidences are now not so damning.

While I was able to correctly guess who the villain is, waiting for the when and how was still quite a buildup of anticipation.  The pacing isn’t as nerve wracking as in reading a Karen Rose novel where I’m biting my nails and hastily reading at secondary characters scenes but there was no lull either to slow me down from reading.  This is good news since I’ve been going crazy through the repulsive-my-life-is-boring-without-books-reading-slump for the past several months and Beg for Mercy is one of the better reads to lighten that unthinkable slump.  The story, though, is anything but light – the murderer is quite insane and the method of killing is atrocious and unapologetic and the descriptions illustrative to the point.

Though much of the focus in Beg for Mercy is on Megan investigating her brother’s case I didn’t feel as if the romance was lacking. Megan and Cole has a history, one that ended abruptly and through circumstances that leave much to be desired.  When they meet again and chemistry flairs, each hesitates and question their sanity – Megan wondering how she could still want Cole when he was the one who put her brother in jail?  When he turned his back on her when she asked – begged –  for his help after arresting her brother?  And, worse, how could she have feelings of attraction when Sean has given up hope on life?  For Cole, he knows that nothing can come out of acting on his feelings for Megan because she would not give up on helping her brother and so long as he doesn’t believe in her brother – and unless there’s overlooked miracle evidence that would exonerate Sean – they would always be at odds.  But despite the obstacles and because of the overwhelming number of them, when Megan and Cole finally come together it is both so sweet and hot.

The timing and suspense surrounding the murdered prostitutes and how it connects to Sean’s case plus a certain minor character’s likeness is coincidental, at least, and requires some suspension of disbelief.  Further, the ending wrapped up fairly quick and leaves a few questions without answers but that is probably a set-up for Sean’s story, Hide from Evil, which is due out in October.  Oh, and Sean’s heroine?  She was the prosecutor of his case who called for the death sentence which shall make for an interesting and anticipated – though albeit questionable – pairing.

Beg for Mercy is a surprisingly engaging story.  I started the book with very low expectations because the book blurb didn’t sound all that interesting to me but the numerous blog reviews recommending the book intrigued me to check it out.  I’m glad I did and highly recommend Beg for Mercy to those who enjoy a good balance of romance and mystery.

Grading: B+

Posted in: B Reviews, Reviews