Acts of Mercy (Mercy Street Series #3)

( 34 )

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards.

Former FBI agent Sam Delvecchio brings the keen skills of a profiler to his new position as a Mercy Street Foundation operative–and not a moment too soon. His first assignment, the cold-case murder of a local soup kitchen volunteer, has all the telltale signs of a serial killer’s work. That grim suspicion is confirmed when ...

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Acts of Mercy (Mercy Street Series #3)

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards.

Former FBI agent Sam Delvecchio brings the keen skills of a profiler to his new position as a Mercy Street Foundation operative–and not a moment too soon. His first assignment, the cold-case murder of a local soup kitchen volunteer, has all the telltale signs of a serial killer’s work. That grim suspicion is confirmed when FBI agent Fiona Summers shares the details of two other killings with eerie similarities to Sam’s case: The bodies in all three cases have been carefully posed. And when a fourth victim is discovered, the two investigators realize they’re pursuing the same twisted quarry.

Local parish priest Kevin Burch, Mercy Street founder Robert Magellan’s cousin, recognizes the posings for what they are: The killer is staging the church’ s seven Acts of Mercy (“Feed the hungry, clothe the naked . . .”) with the bodies of his victims. But as Sam and Fiona race to prevent the final three murders, taunting messages from their target lead to the most chilling realization of all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A fantastic new series . . . The author’s finely drawn characters, and her rapid-pace, intelligent stories, keep the suspense flowing and the pages turning.”—Fresh Fiction
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345506146
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Series: Mercy Street Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 218,250
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Mariah Stewart
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning author of the Last series: Last Look, Last Words, and Last Breath; the Truth series: Cold Truth, Hard Truth, Dark Truth, and Final Truth; and the Dead series: Dead Even, Dead Wrong, Dead Certain, and Dead End; as well as Forgotten, Until Dark, and The President's Daughter. She is the recipient of the Golden Leaf Award and the Award of Excellence presented by the Colorado Romance Writers, and has been a finalist for the Holt Medallion. Her books have been nominated for several awards from Romantic Times magazine, including Best Contemporary Romance and Best Contemporary Novel. Stewart is a native of Hightstown, New Jersey, and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two daughters.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Her high heels clicking across the hardwood floors, Mallory Russo walked through the quiet foyer of the handsome Tudor mansion that served as home to business mogul Robert Magellan, as well as being her place of business. Uncharacteristically silent, the house seemed to reflect the sad spirits of all who’d come under its roof today. Earlier that morning, Mallory and her coworkers had gathered here before filing into the limousines that would take them to Our Lady of Angels Church a few miles away in Conroy, Pennsylvania, where Father Kevin Burch, Robert’s cousin, conducted the memorial service for Robert’s late wife, Beth.

Mallory removed the wide-brimmed black hat she’d bought for the occasion and walked the length of the hall to the wing of the house where the Mercy Street Foundation offices were located. She snapped on the overhead fan as she entered the room and went straight to her desk. She tossed the hat on a nearby chair and tried to remember if she’d ever owned such a thing before. Under the desk, her feet kicked off the heels she seldom wore and her cramped toes wiggled in the hopes of bringing back the circulation.

She wasn’t sure when the others would be back but she hoped to get some work in between now and the time those who’d been invited back for a luncheon began to arrive. No one had seemed in much of a hurry to leave the cemetery after the service, gathered around chatting as they’d been, but she’d been ready to leave even before the priest had begun to speak. There was something unsettling about holding a funeral for a woman who’d been dead but not buried for well over a year, so when Charlie Wanamaker, her fiancé and a detective with the local police force, had whispered in her ear that he’d be taking off, she asked him to drop her off on his way to the police station.

One would expect that, as a former detective herself, Mallory would be beyond the point where death had the power to spook her, but there was something about this death that rattled her right to her soul. Beth Magellan and her infant son had been missing for many months, but the car they’d been in had only recently been found in a deep ravine in the mountains of western Pennsylvania. Beth’s remains still were strapped into the driver’s seat when the car was discovered, but there’d been no trace of the baby other than his car seat. That someone had come upon a dead or dying woman and had walked away without calling for help was beyond Mallory’s comprehension, but the knowledge that this same person had most likely been the one who’d walked away with the woman’s child was haunting her. Had Beth been alive, even conscious, when Ian had been taken? Had her last breath been spent calling for her son? Had Beth been aware that she was dying? The horror of it sent a chill up Mallory’s spine. Robert was a good man, and she’d grown very fond of him. He didn’t deserve to suffer like this. She suspected that the only thing that kept him going now was the knowledge that Ian most likely was still alive. Somewhere.

It was this last part that added an extra layer of sadness to the morning’s service: where was somewhere?

Robert Magellan had founded—and funded—the Mercy Street Foundation to provide private investigative services to those for whom law enforcement agencies were making little or no progress finding missing loved ones. Robert knew the pain of not knowing what had happened to the two people he loved above all others—his wife and his son—but circumstances had blessed him with the means to hire professionals to search for them. That they had failed hadn’t diminished the fact that he could afford to take those steps.

Not that any of the PI’s Robert hired had had any success, Mallory reminded herself. It had been Susanna Jones, a member of Robert’s own staff, who’d eventually found Beth’s missing car. But the point was that he could afford to hire an army of investigators. Most people were not that fortunate. The Foundation was intended to do for them what they could not do for themselves: get the best investigators on the case.

While still in its infancy, the Foundation had taken only two cases, but both of those had met with success. There’d been an overwhelming response to their solicitation of applicants for their services, as well as their call for experienced law enforcement personnel to add to their staff. Mallory was charged with the task of sorting through all the applications and pulling out those cases that might best benefit from their services. She was also responsible for reviewing hundreds and hundreds of resumes to find those individuals she thought might best meet the Foundations needs.

On her desk, she had both their next case and, she hoped, their next hire.

The letter from Lynne Walker had captured her imagination even before she’d read through the news articles that accompanied it. Lynne’s husband had been murdered under very odd circumstances, and the cop in Mallory couldn’t help but be enticed by the challenge. Even now, she couldn’t stop herself from reading through the file again: the body of Ross Walker, a construction supervisor, had been found behind the soup kitchen where he and Lynne volunteered one night every week. The torso had been stabbed repeatedly and left posed, seated against the fence with a very large hamburger from a fast food restaurant stuffed into his mouth.

The police investigation had been at a standstill almost since the very beginning. Whoever had murdered Ross Walker had been careful to leave no trace of himself, and interviews with the folks who’d been in and out of the kitchen had proved fruitless. No one had seen or heard anything.

Yet someone had gone to a lot of trouble to kill Ross Walker and leave his body in plain sight. The man’s widow had submitted it to the Foundation for consideration. After more than a year, she wanted to move on, wanted her children to be able to start a new life. But not knowing who had killed her husband and why was keeping them all stuck in that moment when the doorbell rang and her seven-year-old son had opened it to find two police officers standing on their front porch.

Yes, this case would do nicely. Mallory hoped the others on the selection committee would agree.

Mallory turned her attention to the second folder on her desk and opened it. Over the past several weeks, she’d reviewed hundreds of resumes from law enforcement officers from every agency and just about every state. She’d been separating them into two piles: interview and toss. At the top of the interview pile sat the resume of Samuel J. DelVecchio, who had spent the past sixteen years with the FBI, most recently as a profiler.

A resume like that moved Sam DelVecchio to the very top of Mallory’s most-wanted list.

For one thing, she reasoned, a former FBI agent would have a lot of contacts within the Bureau, contacts that could prove invaluable, not only for this case, but for future cases as well. For another, he’d worked just about every kind of crime imaginable, and would bring a wealth of experience to the Foundation. Kidnappings, sex crimes, white slavery, serial killers—Samuel DelVecchio had seen them all.

Mallory went back to Ross Walker’s folder and pulled out a newspaper article that included part of an interview the local chief of police had given three months after the murder. That the body had been posed carefully suggested that the killer was sending a message, he was quoted as saying, but what that message was and who was supposed to receive it, well, no one had figured that out. Mallory figured an FBI profiler might be able to do exactly that.

Yes, Samuel DelVecchio looked like he just might be the right guy.

Sam DelVecchio stopped at the gate that blocked entry onto the grounds owned by Robert Magellan and waited for the guard to wave him through. The gate swung aside and Sam drove his rental car along the drive that wound past an island of newly planted trees. When Magellan’s Tudor mansion came into view, Sam hit the brake. Although he’d seen pictures of the house on the Internet, he hadn’t been prepared for how impressive it was.

“Nice.” He whistled appreciatively. “Very, very nice.”

He parked on the right side of the drive, as he’d been instructed, and got out of the car, pausing to put on his suit jacket and straighten his tie. It had been a long time since he’d been on a job interview, and he wanted to make a good impression. What, under the circumstances, could be more appropriate than basic FBI black? He walked to the door and rang the bell. Almost as an afterthought, he removed his dark glasses—perhaps a little too MIB?—and tucked them into his jacket pocket as the wide front door opened.

A woman of indeterminable age stood at the threshold.

“Samuel DelVecchio?” she asked.

“Yes.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2013

    All 3 series a must read

    I am familiar with this writer and always enjoy her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    love

    I love anything written by Mariah Stewart. You can never go wrong with her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    Sad reading

    After reading her other two books in the series I found it to be boring. Why, maybe it was the character from the FBI. Not much of a personality, drab, an Oh, well, type of person. Too much other stuff going on, but I guess that's what happens sometimes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    I really enjoy the entire series. Easy to read, nice character d

    I really enjoy the entire series. Easy to read, nice character development.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wow and Wow

    This was my favorite of the three (make sure you read Mercy Street and Cry Mercy first, before reading this one, as the stories are intertwined.) And, wow...I loved it! The plot was very original, a serial killer who based his killings on the seven acts of...yep...you guessed it...mercy. The identity of the killer and the reason for his rampage was also kept well hidden until his reveal. I am usually good at naming the culprit, but was left wondering here. Couldn't figure out who or why. I enjoyed the suspense. The characters were strong and likeable, some loose ends were tied up, but left just a little more to be said (as in, the next book in the series.) Ms. Stewart, if you are still writing the next volume...how about getting Robert and Suze together, finally? :) Looking forward to the next in the series.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A pleasure to read.

    An easy and enjoyable story, with strong characters and clear - idea based chapters. An excellent book for reading in short periods of free time!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    Great addition to series

    Third addition to the Mercy series tied up most of the loose ends, but still left you dangling. Perhaps a fourth is in the works?

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Acts of Mercy was a quick, fun read. It kept a good pace, kept the suspense. It also kept the suspense close enough that pages were turned quickly.

    I recommend any of Mariah Stewart's books. She is a very good writer. She keeps her books packed with suspense, romance and always one or two surprises. If you like rainy day books, suspense, and a good mystery! Please read anyone of Mariah Stewarts thrillers. They are detailed and the facts are believable.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent thriller

    Mallory Russo of the Mercy Street Foundation hires Former FBI profiler Sam Delvecchio. His first case is a cold case where he looks into the murder of Ross Walker; based on what he learns Sam ponders whether a serial killer did the deed. Sam compares notes with FBI agent Fiona Summers; they agree the same psychopath has killed at least three times including the Walker homicide; a fourth similarly posed corpse is found. However, time and place offers similarities to his life and that shakes Sam to his bone marrow core.

    Mercy Street founder widower Robert Magellan seeks his missing two years old son, Ian whose body was not found at the site of the car crash that killed his wife Beth in Western Pennsylvania. Meanwhile Robert's cousin Father Kevin Burch realizes the serial killer's victims are being arranged to represent the Seven Acts of Mercy. Sam and Fiona struggle to prevent the final three murders while their predator taunts them.

    The third Mercy Street thriller (see CRY MERCY and MERCY STREET) contains two strong subplots: Robert's effort to find his son and the serial killer's avenging ACTS OF MERCY. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action and suspense that will have the audience begging for more from Mariah Stewart.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Anticipated Release

    I am looking forward to the release of "Acts of Mercy" by Mariah Stewart. Her other books in series "Mercy Street Foundation" Series were excellent. Her writing style is appreciated by many. We share her books at work by passing them on to others when we complete reading them. All have appreciated the characters that she developes, the story lines, and many times the surprises that she throws into the the story. They are unexpected and keeps everyone engrossed. Her other Series are also well written and enjoyable to read.

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    Posted December 24, 2009

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