Mercy by David L. Lindsey (1990)

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A Novel of Psychosexual Suspense

by David Lindsey
Publisher:  Doubleday
Copyright:  1990
First Edition

Carmen Palma is a homicide detective in Houston, Texas, a strong woman in a world that's still predominantly male.  Two weeks after a wealthy Houston woman is found murdered in a hotel room in a strange and singular manner, Palma is faced with a second victim in an almost identical scenario:  "The woman was nude, waxy pale, and only slightly gaseous as she lay in the middle of the bed from which all the covers had been stripped except the bottom sheet.  A pillow had been placed under her head, and she had been positioned in a funereal posture . . . Slightly discolored furrows encircled her wrists where ligatures had been, broader furrow punctuated with small reddish welts where the belt holes had been.  Her eyes were open.  Her blond hair seemed to have been freshly combed, and her battered and bloated face was freshly made up, the cosmetics expertly applied:  eye shadow, eye liner, powder, and glistening lip gloss . . ."  Palma instantly knows that these killings are the work of a sexually motivated killer -- "She knew because of instinct, that indisputable feminine exertion that tugged at her pelvis and pulled at the sides of her eyes.  It took all of her self-control not to react, not to let them know she had seen this before, and that it scared her" -- and she knows too that the two deaths are only the beginning.

When a third woman is murdered, and Palma discovers that the victims are all part of an underground network of upper-middle-class Houston women living secret, double lives, Palma realizes that she's in way over her head.  Special Agent Sander Grant, one of the FBI's most renowned analysts specializing in "criminal personality profiling" -- getting inside the minds of serial killers -- is flown in to help.  As Palma and Grant gradually learn to work as a team, Palma senses that to solve the case she must immerse herself in two strange and frightening worlds:  Houston's dark underground of bisexuality and sadomasochism, and the twisted mind of the killer.  As she becomes increasingly familiar with these shadowy worlds, Palma is led toward a realization that is totally beyond the imagining of her fellow officers or even Sander Grant, a realization that ultimately shocks her as much as it will shock you.

Brilliantly written, and based on extensive and groundbreaking research with the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Mercy's complex psychological suspense, vividly evoked settings, and unforgettable characters make for superb, page-turning entertainment.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover is lightly discolored and shows shelf wear.  Pages are tanning from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the short title page.


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    • ISBN 038524813X
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