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on February 1, 2011
The saying "Never make a deal with a scorpion, it will sting you every time" proves to be very true for Angie Carlson. "First One" and "Other" target Angie for their diabolical scheme. They are merciless--a terrifying pair.

Angie, called the barracuda by some because of her tactics as a defense lawyer, pulls out all the stops to get her clients cleared of all charges. The idealism of her youth has faded but her dedication to her clients holds strong. However, she comes to question her wisdom in getting Dr. James Dixon set free as a new series of crimes start.

After Detectives Malcolm Kier and Deacon Garrison rescue her half-sister Eva from a tortuous death, Angie is more inclined to help them when the bones of young women start showing up for all to see. When one of the victims turns out to be one of her clients, Angie becomes totally involved in the search for the criminals.

Malcolm Kier is more cynical and brusque than his partner and makes no bones about hating Angie Carlson for getting Dr. Dixon set free. Some of the names he calls her are harsh but she `gives as good as she gets'. In time, Kiser's hate morphs into an entirely different emotion that subtly weaves its way into their shaky-truce relationship. They like to spar, talk, and make love, but a permanent relationship seems impossible. Their strong attraction to each other has to duck, dodge, and sometimes hide as the bone-chilling crimes create a dangerous, terrifying environment with suspects galore.

Many of the characters in Senseless along with additional characters from Angie and Eva's past ratchet up the terror, suspense, and horrifying happenings as every aspect of law enforcement in Alexandria, Virginia works around the clock to find who is killing young women and cleaning their bones to pristine condition then displaying them in a prominent place.

Other characters like baby David and his grandmother Vivian Sweet add a new dimension to this complex story. They give Angie a different perspective on life.

Mary Burton's writing style with its realism, strong sense of place, and diverse characters makes Merciless throb with life. The twists, turns, surprises, horrors, and vast range of emotions make this story breath-taking, heart-pounding, super reading.

Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
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on January 27, 2016
This is a re-read for me. It's been over a year since I read it, but I kept it on my shelves knowing I wanted to read it again sometime.

Merciless is the sequel to SENSELESS and is the story of Angie Carlson and Detective Malcolm Kier.

Young women are disappearing and they happen to be clients of Angie, who is a defense attorney. The bodies are found a few days later .. well, actually, it's only their bones that are found, usually artfully arranged in very public places.

Angie and Malcolm are no strangers to the things that human monsters can do. The story really gets interesting when the thread seems to lead back to murder and madness 20 or so years in the past. And the closer Angie gets to the truth, the more danger she's in, and the more protective Malcolm gets.

Lots of twists and turns in this one ... with a major one that's explosive. I enjoyed the characters of Angie and Malcolm. Malcolm does not like her at all. She's a defense attorney who got a vicious rapist set free. He's always sniping at her, but she's got thick skin and gives as good as she gets.

The bad guys are just plain evil! And just when I thought I had it all figured out, up would pop another of those twists to send me down a different road.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes a good mystery/thriller or a Romantic Suspense.
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on January 25, 2011
If it's not bad enough finding a dead body, imagine how awful it would be to find a pile of bones, completely stripped of all skin, flesh and muscle, then bleached and piled neatly on a picnic table? A pair of sick and twisted killers is making their presence known in Alexandria. One of them hunts down a victim, has his perverted way with them, then leaves them for the Other to perform the ultimate kill, finishing with a ritual so sick it will leave even the veteran thriller-reader sick to their stomach. This time the victim is an actress who had been missing for days, who just happens to have a six-degrees-of-separation connection to attorney Angie Carlson. Just back from a weekend away, Detective Malcolm Kier and his partner, Deacon Garrison are assigned to hunt down this deranged killer.

Angie Carlson has made a name for herself as a no-nonsense, tough as nails defense attorney. Determined to do whatever it takes to get her client off, even if it means making enemies with the police. Angie got plastic surgeon, Dr. Dillon Dixon off on charges of raping a prostitute (see Senseless), having ripped the victim to shreds on the witness stand, after proving she lied about her drug use. As a favor to her sister Eva, the same prostitute now wants Angie to help her get her child back, swearing she is clean and no longer hooking. But when the client doesn't show up for her court appearance, something doesn't sit right with Angie. After more bones are found, and they are believed to be that of Angie's client, it doesn't take long for the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. Adding in a slew of other prostitute murders and a 30-year-old murder, it becomes quite clear that there are three common denominators - Angie, Dr. Dillon Dixon, and once again, the Cross Family. Could Angie have helped get a madman back on the street to kill again? Or is Dr. Dixon just another pawn in this killer's sick game? Malcolm, fighting his attraction to Angie because of his involvement with another woman, knows he must do whatever it takes to protect Angie from this obviously incredibly bright killer before he takes her as his final prize. The question is, can he save her in time?

Merciless is the intense, on-the-edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Senseless. It can be read as a stand-alone book, as there are references to the previous book, but I think you will get more out of the story and the characters by reading Senseless first. I enjoyed how Ms. Burton switched viewpoints between Angie, Malcolm, and the killers. We get to see the same scenes from the eyes of the cop looking to play protector, the possible victim trying to save herself, and the devious minds of two sick, demented killers. It's nice to see that Malcolm and Angie don't rush into their relationship. They are each given the time they need to deal with issues in their lives that, when resolved, will make their explosive union even stronger. Merciless is a taut, action-packed thriller that will hook you in from word one and won't let you go until the final, mind-numbing, truly unbelievable, out-of-left-field ending.
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on July 13, 2015
A great treat to have a sequel to a story with so many twists and takes- if you think you figured it out at a point - you would be wrong. The sequel ends with a huge climax where history, family pathology and events finally reach a shocking conclusion
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on December 20, 2013
Merciless is a compelling and thoroughly engaging novel. This is a suspense/romance, it is a on the edge of your seat read, the romance part does not happen till later on in the story, but it is worth the wait. Angie and Malcolm are the most unlikely couple, the friction between them is solely based on their professions, but the romantic attraction is there. Their dislike for each other is understandable, but as much as Malcolm and Angie are at odds at first, they're actually perfect for each other. Merciless is a follow up story to Senseless, they are very connected stories. The storyline is gripping, the characters are well developed, and a very surprise ending. I recommend that you read both books, very worth the read.
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VINE VOICEon December 23, 2011
The challenge of sequels is to provide enough information to update new readers without boring returning fans. This book takes up where Senseless left off, focusing on Eva's sister Angie and Deacon's partner Malcolm. I thought the background information bogged down the suspense.

A pile of human bones is left on a picnic table in a park. The bones belong to a beautiful young actress who mysteriously disappeared. As Deacon and Malcolm investigate, they uncover troubling ties to hotshot lawyer Angie,her clients and family.As in Sensleless, the nefarious rich and powerful Cross family again plays a role in the evil doings. As the investigation heightens so do the feelings between Angie and Malcolm. Formerly adversaries, Malcolm despised Angie for her part in the acquittal of a brillant plastic surgeon and sexual sadist. But as he gets to know her, he realizes she is not the heartless fiend he thought but is in fact the perfect woman for him.

This is an okay read. It is acceptable as a stand alone novel but readers would benefit from reading Senseless. I thought there were again too many characters that failed to contribute and the back story about the Cross family and their inclusion dragged. The torture and killings and the pairing of psycopaths added excitement but the many side stories slowed things down. Angie is truly annoying and her idealistic criminal defense attorney routine wears thin. Anyone working in the criminal justice system knows that clients are found not guilty, not innocent. Big difference. Her insistence on donig pro bono work seemed fake. There is nothing wrong with being compensated for years of education and hard work. Working in criminal law means dealing with defendants. The issue is not whether they are reprehensible and unlikeable...most are...but whether the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If you don't want to swim with the sharks, stay out of the sea.

I do like the fact that this author shows restraint when it comes to romance. Angie and Malcolm first get to know each other and learn to love each other before doing the nasty. They are really mirror images of each other and their romance is believable. I wish sthat the author had more confidence in her characters. Heroines do not have to be paragons of virtue. Too much sweetness is sickening. I would like to see a more realistic heroine. Although this sequel stumbles, it is still worth reading.
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VINE VOICEon June 9, 2014
You know the book, you read and you know who is doing what by the third chapter.. well this one keeps you going. Very suspenseful and great.
The characters don't fell in love by the second chapter. This book was great and I had to go purchase more of her books!
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on December 9, 2015
When a set of bones are discovered sitting on a picnic table in a park, Detective Malcolm Kier is sent to investigate. Angie Carlson is a brilliant and successful defense attorney, but Kier is definitely not one of her fans. These two work on opposing sides of the law and the animosity runs deep and close for both of them. Then a second set of bones are found and Kier discovers that Angie is connected to both victims. Forced to work together to stop a sadistic killer, they get to see another side of each other. When Angie becomes the next target in a twisted serials game, its up to Kier to protect this strong, beautiful and independent woman who has somehow burrowed her way into his heart.

Ms. Burton has a way of telling a story that never fails to draw me in. This is the second in a duo (Senseless & Merciless) and I would highly recommend reading them in order. Although this can be read alone, there are so many cross-over characters and plots that it really shouldn't. I liked Angie from the start and though I wasn't a huge fan of Kier's, he did grow on me. There's big news about Kier's partner and Angie's sister (from Senseless) that I loved too! As always the writing was top-notch, there are surprises and twists, but the ending I saw coming. The romance was understated but still lovely and some leftover questions are answered. Overall it was a thrilling and entertaining read.
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on February 14, 2011
Detective Malcolm Kier and defense attorney Angie Carlson have a tumultuous "relationship". Malcolm doesn't like Angie since she got Dr. James Dixon acquitted of the murder charges that Malcolm and his partner Garrison tried to convict him of. Now a killer has struck, leaving the victim's bones as clues. Angie is somehow at the center of it all and her life is soon in danger. Working together isn't easy, but it brings them close, and that closeness leads to something neither of them could have anticipated.

Twisted killers and an unlikely romance make Merciless a compelling and thoroughly engaging novel. The animosity between Malcolm and Angie doesn't feel contrived for the benefit of the story. The friction between them is solely based on their professions, but attraction always simmers just below the surface. Their dislike for each other in the beginning makes their romance that much sweeter. Angie carries the burden of her past around with her, making every day a struggle. Her cool, calm exterior is just that--a façade. As much as Malcolm and Angie are at odds at first, they're actually across-the-board perfect for each other. Senseless (the first in this series) and Merciless are very connected stories. I highly recommended reading them both, in order. Merciless is full of danger and excitement, is suspenseful and surprising, and has a wonderful, happy ending. Mary Burton is a must-read author for me, and Merciless is another reason why

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2013
Merciless is the highly anticipated sequel to Senseless, which came out in January and I reviewed here on Minding Spot.

Angie Carlson, known as the Barracuda, for her no-nonsense defense lawyer tactics, is still feeling guilty for getting Dr. James Dixon off for allegedly raping a prostitute. Detective Malcolm Kier can't stand her for what she did; he knew Dr. Dixon was guilty.

But when bleached bones turn up on a picnic table, Detectives Kier and Garrison are on the case. The bones are bleached white, stripped of muscle and skin; the work of a sadistic killer. When one of the victims turns out to be one of Angie's clients, she decides to help the detectives out.

Working together, Angie and Malcolm's feelings towards one another begin to change, and move into a more sensual direction. Is Dixon responsible for the brutal murders? Will Angie and Malcolm be able to make their relationship work? When Angie seems to become the target for the killer, the ultimate kill, all the stakes rise.

Mary Burton is a master of writing thrillers. Merciless is the perfect ending to the two book story arc. It can be read alone, but the reader will gain much more character background if they read Senseless first. Exceptional writing, superb characters, edge-of-your-seat suspense that will send chills up your spine, and a passionate romance all mold together into a stellar good read!
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