Merciless (Kevin Byrne & Jessica Balzano Series #3)

Merciless (Kevin Byrne & Jessica Balzano Series #3)

by Richard Montanari
4.6 14


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Merciless (Kevin Byrne & Jessica Balzano Series #3) by Richard Montanari

On a frigid December night, Karen sits at the edge of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, dressed in a flowing gown, like a visitor from the distant past. A beautiful and shining young woman, she gazes up at a bone-white winter moon like a fairy-tale princess frozen in time. At first glance, one might not even notice that she is dead, coated in a glistening patina of ice.

Homicide cops Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano take the lead on the case, uncovering a plethora of eerie clues–each more warped and spine-chilling than the last. Yet the identity of Karen’s pitiless killer remains a mystery. Then the next victim is found upriver at an abandoned waterworks, posed with an unlikely object in her clasped hands. Struggling to link the victims and make sense of the madman’s agenda, Byrne and Balzano follow his twisted trail, which stretches into a past of dark crimes forgotten by all but a few.

Now the past roars back into the present with a vengeance as the ingenious killer unleashes a torrent of rage upon the streets of Philadelphia. As Byrne and Balzano sift through suspects and clues, they unearth a shocking secret history: a legacy of malevolence and cold-blooded retribution dating back twenty years. And the farther they make their way up the body-strewn banks of the Schuylkill River, the closer they get to a villain from their worst nightmare, an evil as patient as it is merciless.

Lightning fast and razor sharp, this jolting thriller from acclaimed author Richard Montanari coils back in time to deliver a fiendish mystery, a shattering revelation, and one hell of a wild ride. Lock your doors and turn up the lights. Montanari’s terrifying bedtime story will keep you up all night.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345492401
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/31/2007
Series: Kevin Byrne & Jessica Balzano Series , #3
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Richard Montanari is a novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and scores of other national and regional publications. He is the OLMA-winning author of the internationally acclaimed thrillers The Skin Gods, The Rosary Girls, Kiss of Evil, Deviant Way, and The Violet Hour. Visit the author’s website at

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Merciless 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
This is my third book by Richard Montanari that I have read. He is clearly not a 'one book fluke,' because Merciless is just as good his other work. Montanari reminds me of Thomas Harris, both are master storytellers. Merciless is an excellent police procedural with great characters throughout the book. The gore and brutality in this book is not for the squeamish. If you enjoy a suspenseful thriller then you should take a chance on Merciless. Richard Monatanari is an author who I will be buying more from in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read everything from Mr. Montanari (except Badlands which is next on my list). This one may be the best of them all, and that's saying something. This may very well be one of the best books I have ever read of any genre (up there with Jurassic Park and The Cabinet of Curiosities). Mr. Montanari has quickly become one of my favorite authors ever!!! Keep them coming!!!
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
I am SO happy that I discovered this author a couple of months ago. I only wish I had come across his books sooner. I read The Rosary Girls first, then The Skin Gods and just finished Merciless tonight. Each one has been better than the last, and I can't wait to read another of his works. Fast-paced, great characters, mysteries that keep me guessing. Little bit of ooh-ick nastiness here and there. What more can a gal ask for? If you haven't read anything of his yet, do it. Now. Right now. What are you waiting for? Get to the bookstore and buy the darn books!
Imnotstinky More than 1 year ago
Any book by Richard MONTANARI is going to be fantastic, the man knows how to deliver....every page begs to be read and savoured, never really wantede any of his many books to end, there is just too much there to like...Another steller read....
Anonymous 4 months ago
Great read
jfox5 More than 1 year ago
Read this whole series!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book. I wish Richard wrote more books. He writes as though you are there, walking through the lives of his characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, the book is brilliant, only I had already read it as 'Broken Angels'. I'd have been less surprised if it were a re-issue of one of the older titles, but this was the last book I had read, in hardcover! Montanari is an excellent writer, the book won't let you go to sleep but if you already know Broken Angels - be aware that Merciless is the same book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a disappointment. It fell short of the action and suspense of the other 2 books in this series. The storyline was not interesting and there was very little interaction with the personal lives of the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! That is the one word I can easily use to describe this book very accurately. The author says this book is ¿A Novel of Suspense¿ and I couldn¿t agree more. From page one to the end there is non-stop suspense, adventure, action, and lots of decidedly great police involvement. ¿Merciless¿ takes place in the city of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Moon is a believer of magic of the Fairy Tale type. Moon researches his victims by finding people thought of as bad people from deeds in their earlier lives. He then selects his victims, gruesomely dresses them, kills them, and then poses them in various locations. Most of the story takes place around the Christmas holiday time of the year when the police figure crime usually slows down. Not for Moon. Philadelphia Detectives Kevin Francis Byrne and Jessica Balzano are the partners that begin the search for this demon. Jessica is married to a Philadelphia detective who works Narcotics, while his wife and Byrne are homicide detectives. Byrne and Balzano are called to the scenes several times regarding bodies found grotesquely murdered and they find virtually no clues to the killer. The Schuylkill River seemed to be the main areas where the bodies are found. As bodies piled up the task force was enlarged. Since it was holiday time it stretched the limits of the Philadelphia detectives. One of the strange detectives teamed with Byrne and Balzano was a young eager Amish cop, Josh Bontrager, who was not afraid to get his hands dirty. He dug in and used even his off time to research for this horrible ever-expanding ruthless killer. Roland Hannah was a pastor who helped those that were down on their luck and needed food, clothes, and help of many types. Roland had a brother, Charles, who was not completely mentally with the world. He was with Roland much of the time. They met and tried to help these people. Roland listened to them and did research on his own to try to guide their lives past their problems from a past life or their present existence. Most had been victims of a violent crime. They were all ages. Most of the victims had a moon shaped ¿painting¿ on their stomachs made from semen and blood. What kind of a vicious killer did they have running around the city leaving bodies on the banks of the Schuylkill River or in some other desolate place? The detectives expanded their search out of the immediate Philadelphia area as they tried to find someone, anyone that could give them some hint as to who and where the killer or killers were. When a newly retired cop was found dead, apparently killed by the same killer, the entire police department jumped on the case. Some had to handle their own regular assignments but their minds and eyes were on the lookout. Byrne and Balzano traveled from the worst areas in the city to some rural searches that took them quite a distance form Philly. Strip joints, dancing parlors, garages and mechanics, restaurants, motels, most of which were seedy in appearance, parking lots and garages, private homes, public institutions, hospitals, up and down rivers, under and around bridges, anywhere there was hope in getting a lead. You will travel with all the characters in this book, good and bad, with you not knowing who was the good and who might be the bad! ¿Merciless¿ is one of the best suspense stories I have read, and I have read hundreds of them. You will know who the culprit is several times¿or so you think! Think again! You will have a very hard time placing this book down and doing some chores. The chores might not get done. You might not be able to close your eyes and sleep either. Enjoy it as I did.