The Absence of Mercy

(winner of the National Black Ribbon Award)

Wintersville, Ohio is a small midwestern town much like any other—a place where neighbors feel more like family, where the chief of police knows the residents by first name, and where the sound of children’s laughter echoes along neighborhood streets as the evening sun settles upon the horizon.  But when a brutally murdered teenager is discovered in the suburban woods not far from his own home, pathologist Ben Stevenson becomes enmeshed in an investigation that forces him to weigh his professional obligations against the safety of his family, to explore the secrets of the quiet community in which he lives, and to ultimately confront a truth that will haunt him forever.


Praise for The Absence of Mercy :

“In the tradition of Robin Cook and Kathy Reichs, John Burley brings murder to small town America. And like those bestselling novels, The Absence of Mercy  is written by an expert who can also tell a really good tale. This one oozes authenticity.”  (Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker's Wonderland)

“It's become a cliche to say you read a book in one sitting, and it's not true here.  I had to get up in the middle of The Absence of Mercy  for a drink to calm my nerves.”  (Linwood Barclay, New York Times bestselling author of Never Look Away)

“Harlan Coben meets Patricia Cornwell in an idyllic suburbia stalked by a predator that will leave an indelible mark long after the final page is turned.”  (Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepwalker)

“Will send chills down your spine. A taut psychological thriller . . . pushes the boundaries of our understanding of the lengths a parent will go to protect their child.”  (Alice LaPlante, New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind)

“Riveting, disturbing and complex, John Burley's The Absence of Mercy  is impossible to put down.  The suspense starts early and is unrelenting until the very end.”  (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence)

“Using his experience as an emergency room physician, Burley skillfully uses the step-by-step discovery of evidence to ratchet up the tension in his debut novel. . . . A smart, disturbing and heartbreaking thriller.”  (Kirkus Reviews)