Beth's Book Review

Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass

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

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ec60039a423eee95393a_scan_0005

Sat, November 25, 10:00 AM

Roselle Park Knights of Columbus #3240 at the Church of the Assumption, Roselle Park

Blood Drive in Roselle Park

Sun, November 26, 3:00 PM

The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown, Elizabeth

Actors Shakespeare Company presents A Christmas ...

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, November 28, 5:00 PM

Center for Hope Hospice, administration building, Scotch Plains

“VA Benefits for Long Term Care” -- CEU seminar ...

Health & Wellness Other

Local Humanitarians Partner with Community Food Bank of New Jersey to Distribute Turkeys to Those in Need in Elizabeth

November 20, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ--When James Carey, the Director of Social Services for the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center Inc., received a phone call from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey informing him they were donating 200 turkeys to his agency, he replied, "I'm going to distribute the turkeys to all the parents and staff members at the Early Childhood School and whatever's left over, ...

Elizabeth Football and Cheer Program Seeks Community Support to Raise Funds for 2017 National Cheer & Dance Competition

ELIZABETH, NJ—A local, long-standing program in Elizabeth has the opportunity to compete in the 2017 National Cheer & Dance Competition in Orlando and they are seeking donations from the community to make it happen.

The Football and Cheer Program is a part of PAL (Police Athletic League). Elizabeth PAL was started in 1947 by a group of caring police officers that wanted to make a ...

Tree-Lighting Ceremony to Kick-Off Holiday Festivities -Santa Comes to Elizabeth

ELIZABETH, N.J.--It’s that time of the year, twinkling lights, festive decorations and a chance to visit with the most important guy in a red suit you’ll ever meet.

The Elizabeth Avenue Partnership (EAP) has announced the lineup of holiday events on Elizabeth Avenue this season starting with the Official Tree-Lighting Ceremony at Union Square Plaza on Tuesday, November 28 from ...

Learn How to Defend Against Cyber Bullies

Springfield, N.J.--With the continued rise of social media, an alarming number of children and teens are targets of online bullying. To learn more about cyberbullying tactics and how to fight back against them, parents and caregivers are invited to attend “Bullying & Our Children,” a free public discussion.

This special presentation will be held on Monday, November 27, from ...

Redesigned Elizabeth Train Station on Hold-Mayor Says Fire NJ Transit Executives

November 10, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ—The Governor-Elect already has a decision to make on his first day in office.

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage is calling upon the Governor-Elect to remove the New Jersey Transit Executive Team of their positions and appoint pro-active, capable individuals, who are in favor of rail improvements. The Mayor has requested that this action be taken in response to New Jersey ...

Fanwood Police Officer with Law Enforcement Team in Puerto Rico Finds Misery and Optimism

November 11, 2017

FANWOOD, NJ -- Like many other visitors to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, Fanwood Police Officer Elliott Bernard says the images seen on TV and online simply don’t capture the enormity of the damage, even two months after the storm. Roads with giant fissures, downed utility poles, epic food and water shortages and the lack of power make day to day life exhausting.

“Every day, you ...

Greater Union County United Way Participates in Giving Tuesday Campaign

November 20, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ – On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, United Way of Greater Union County will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encouraging generosity and philanthropy around the world.

United Way of Greater Union County, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, focuses on providing critical resources to children and ...

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman (St. Martins Griffin, 2016)

 

Author Lynda Cohen Loigman states, “The Two-Family House is a story I thought about for at least ten years before I ever wrote a word. I spent countless hours over a full decade thinking about how Rose, Helen, Abe, and Mort would behave in difficult situations, and how they would feel when faced with ...

Sustained, Severe Cuts Equal Setbacks at NJ Department of Environmental Protection

November 8, 2017

Trenton, N.J.--Long-term budget and staff cuts have severely impacted the ability of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to carry out critical work to protect New Jersey’s environment and residents. This has serious implications for wildlife, public health, and our economy. DEP is charged with managing and protecting the State’s environment and natural ...