Beth's Book Review

Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass

3f33dcbd7afa796522c1_Without_Mercy.jpg
3f33dcbd7afa796522c1_Without_Mercy.jpg

Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Harper Collins, 2016)

In James Patterson's Master Class, an online course which I recommend highly to aspiring authors, Patterson talks about the validity of writing with a partner. Patterson notes several well respected creative teams like Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkle, and explains that combining the creative juices of two people is a great and productive idea. No where in the writing of crime fiction is that more true than in the case of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, pen-name Jefferson Bass, who have been collaborating on the Body Farm series for ten years.

The theme of Without Mercy is contemporary and biting. The initial crime that Dr. Bill Brockton, forensic anthropologist and founder of the innovative and educational Body Farm on the University of Tennessee campus, must solve is a horrific hate crime. An unidentified victim has been tied to a tree out in the wilderness, kept alive and tortured for weeks, and ultimately smeared with bacon fat and left as bear bait. The scattered bones have been found in Cook County, not far from the UT campus, and are brought for examination to Brockton's lab.

Sign Up for E-News

With the assistance of his graduate assistant, Miranda, on whom Brockton has come to depend heavily for her insights in the study of forensics, the pair make dark and disturbing discoveries. After painstakingly putting together the shattered femur of the victim, Brockton and Miranda discern that the victim is young, male, and may be African American. A broken coin necklace found at the scene further points to the possibility that the perpetrator is a white supremacist. The forensic team work feverishly to identify the victim and to ascertain the identity of the killer who devised such a cruel and torturous death.

As Brockton, a lonely widower, is working on this disturbing case, an even darker twist comes into play. Nick Satterfield, a serial killer who has been imprisoned for twenty years and blames Brockton for his demise, has escaped from prison, taking out a doctor, an emergency ambulance attendant, and members of their families during his flight. The FBI, local police, and Brockton's team realize that Satterfield could never have orchestrated such an escape alone, and that the vindictive and crazed monster will be seeking revenge on the man he deems responsible for putting him behind bars. Together the law enforcement agencies try to puzzle out who are Satterfield's accomplices and how best to protect Brockton and his loved ones.

In her research into hate crimes, the brilliant Miranda who has now finished her doctoral thesis and is looking to spread her wings and leave her post as Brockton's right hand to work for the FBI, locates disturbing video and racist commentary on the darkest websites of the internet. She and Brockton talk about the increasing venom being spread throughout the country. Miranda comments, “All these race-baiting, race-hating posts---some about blacks, some about Jews, but more and more in the past year, about Muslims.”

Brockton nodded. “It does seem like we've turned some kind of corner since the San Bernardino and Paris shootings.”

“And since Donald Trump made racism and fascism seem patriotic,” she said, her voice venomous. (p. 194)

The thread of hate crime is carried even into one of Brockton's classes at the university, when one of his students openly taunts a Muslim girl in class. Brockton seizes the moment to teach his students about dignity, forgiveness, and human understanding. The moment, although tense and deeply upsetting, illustrates how we, in a free society, can build understanding by treating one another with dignity, rather than hatred. Jefferson Bass have incorporated a “teachable moment” that underscores the powerful theme of Without Mercy.

As with all of the books in the Body Farm series, this one is a page turner that must be devoured in one or two sittings. For crime buffs, those who thrive on television shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, and CSI, the Without Mercy is a must read.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Join the Fight, Morris: Water + 7 Days = Mosquitoes

May 23, 2018

With the sun finally expected to show itself starting tomorrow and over the Memorial Day weekend, Morris County residents can reduce the number of all mosquitoes, including the aggressive Asian Tiger variety, in their own backyards by taking action now.

The ankle-attacking, aggressive Asian Tiger variety transmits viral disease and bites all day long, unlike many other varieties that come out ...

May is Older Americans Month: Time to Give Back to Morris County’s Seniors Every Day!

May 23, 2018

The June 5th Primary has entered the home stretch.  For the first time in 8 weeks, there is no where I need to appear other than at the doorstep of a registered voter to ask for their support in the election booth.

Since I decided to pursue the open Freeholder seat in March, I have been all across Morris County.  I have been out and away from my family every day since, attending such ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...