Acts of Mercy by Mariah Stewart is the third book in the Mercy Street series. I really enjoyed the first two, especially Cry Mercy. This installment started out good but in the end left me feeling disappointed.
Sam Delvecchio is a former FBI profiler, burn out by his job. He comes back to the States after a lengthy vacation and sees the Mercy Street Foundation on TV. He decides that would be the perfect place for him to use his skills. His first assignment is a cold-case murder that seems to be a serial killer’s work. He makes contact with his former co-workers in the FBI to see if there are any other similar cases. That is when FBI agent Fiona Summers pays Sam a visit with her case files of two other murders. Working together, they discover that the cases seem to be linked together as well as linked to Sam. Fiona and Sam race to prevent any more murders and catch the killer. But will they be in time?
Okay, like I said earlier, the book started out strong. Sam is a nice guy and was apparently good at his job. He had a personal tragedy which compounded his emotional weariness with encountering the dregs of humanity in his work. So he quit, took off to tour Europe. When he comes back, he sees the founder of Mercy Street being interviewed on CNN and decides to apply. He doesn’t seem to really think about the implications of taking a position where he will again be encountering the same type of lowlifes. He starts to second guess his decision as he works on the case but likes the people he is working with. When it is becomes clear that the killer is connected to Sam is where this book gets bogged down. I felt that Sam, and Fiona for that matter, are just reacting to the killer instead of figuring out who it is and stop him. I figured out who it was quite a bit before Sam put things together. The end of the book did manage to surprise me, ending in a less than predictable manner which helped my overall feelings with the book. There is also the secondary storyline with the founder of Mercy Street Robert Magellan’s missing son. I found this part of the book to be well done and very interesting. While I like the series overall, especially Cry Mercy, Acts of Mercy just didn’t meet all my expectations.
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.
From the Paperback edition.