Ballantine, May 13 2008, $22.00
In Conroy, Pennsylvania, two male high school seniors are executed with a bullet to the back of each of their heads; two other students who were with them, Courtney Bauer and Ryan Corcoran vanished. The local police led by Chief Drabyack assume Ryan robbed and killed the other two before fleeing with Courtney.
Ryan’s grandmother Mary believes the teen she raised is innocent and either is in trouble or dead; so does Courtney’s mom Linda. Mary plans to mortgage her house to pay for a sleuth to investigate. Her boss Father Kevin Burch asks his friend gadzillionaire Robert Magellan to fund a private investigator. Robert remains desperate to find his missing wife Beth and their son Ian; however, he distrusts all private investigators as those he hired provided nothing but padded bills over the past year. Reluctantly he agrees to pay the fees of true crime writer Mallory Russo, a former Conroy cop. Ex-Philadelphia police detective Charlie Wanamaker, who just came home to Conroy to help his family, assists in spite of being part of the local force after seeing Grand Canyon holes in the official inquiry.
This engaging romantic private investigative thriller is an enjoyable read made fun by a sold mystery and the attraction between Mallory and Charlie. The story line is fast-paced as the bets keep on coming as to the teens’ innocence, padded bills, and a romantic relationship between the unoffical partners. Readers will enjoy the MERCY STREET sleuthing.