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THE MERCY SEAT by Martyn Waites


by Martyn Waites

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-933648-00-7
Publisher: Pegasus

Waites’s sixth—the first to be published in the U.S.—crosses the pond dripping noir.

Joe Donovan, once a crack investigative journalist, is a dead man walking. At least, that’s how Maria Bennett sees him when at last she tracks him to the Northumberland shack he calls home. Back in the day, they’d been colleagues and friendly rivals, speeding along a greased career path neck in neck, most Herald Magazine staffers would have said. Maria had rocketed to the top editorship. Joe had tumbled into near-alcoholism. Not that Maria was unsympathetic to the event that had turned Joe’s world upside-down: the mysterious and shattering disappearance of his six-year-old son. But that was two years ago, ancient history in their souped-up world, and now she needs him desperately. There’s been another disappearance—a star reporter working on something big and explosive, though no one at the Herald knows just what it was. Days of frustration and anxiety have been followed by a phone call offering information. But the only reporter acceptable to the informant is the one stuck in the bottle. Will Joe shape up, help spike the guns of an evil conspiracy and find redemption? Waites delivers the answers in that blend of hyper-prose and staccato-speak that’s the lingua franca of neo-noir (“Each could feel the other’s breath. Naked. Raw. Vulnerable”).

Unrelentingly dark and more than a little dreary.