Beg for Mercy
For a book that centers on a pending execution, Beg For Mercy was surprisingly non-political. Instead, it was about devotion, trusting your instincts, and defending the ones you love.
Megan Flynn and Detective Cole Williams were very quickly falling in love when something big came between them: Cole arrested her beloved brother for murder. Three years later, Sean Flynn’s execution date is set, but Megan is still convinced he is innocent. Sean does not remember the night that he supposedly raped, mutilated, and murdered a young woman. Time is running out, and when a serial killer starts killing women in a way similar to Sean’s purported victim, Megan decides to do whatever it takes to prove her brother was framed, and that the real murderer is still out there and dangerous.
Cole hates his role in Megan’s pain, mourns what they almost had, and just wants her to move on with her life. He never doubted that Sean was guilty, but as Megan starts putting herself in danger to find the truth, he reluctantly supports her, and as they learn more about the current murders the “slam-dunk” case against Megan’s brother weakens, bit by bit.
Cole and Megan are both wonderful characters — realistic, flawed, and caring. The ache they both feel for their disrupted potential was palpable, and their chemistry sizzling. Being in Megan’s head was interesting because the author managed to both show her point of view, while also conveying how others see her. The reader feels her frustration and sees her logic behind her theories, yet can also see her from outside and how desperate, perhaps delusional, she can appear.
The devotion Megan feels for her brother is remarkable, and their relationship is, in some ways, stronger than hers with Cole. Sean is interesting himself. Some time is spent in his point-of-view, and his unique and terrible situation touched me and really made me think. I get the feeling he will be a future hero of Jami Alden’s, and I’m excited to see that possibility (especially since his counterpart looks to be the prosecutor that got him wrongly convicted).
While Megan had occasional TSTL moments (she tended toward amateur sleuthing, to her own and others’ danger), the mystery was otherwise gripping. I guessed the villain before the end, but it wasn’t obvious; I’d say it was the perfect amount of foreshadowing in that it didn’t come out of nowhere and leave me blindsided, but nor was it so easy to guess that it insulted my intelligence.
I am familiar with a number of death row cases in which there are doubts of guilt, or at least where those close to the convict firmly believe in his or her innocence. It’s an interesting dilemma, and one that is not as uncommon as you might think. It makes for a realistic, compelling story that is made all the better by the strength of the romance between Cole and Megan.