Julia 'Jules' Farentino knows that her teenaged half-sister, Shaylee, has been having problems lately. But when she learns of her mother's plan to send Shay to an elite boarding school in southern Oregon, she's skeptical. The Academy is a remote, secluded institution with a reputation for turning wayward kids around. With its emphasis on structure, discipline, and building self-reliance, it claims to succeed where other schools fail. But one of its students went missing six months ago and has never surfaced. And the further Jules digs into the school's history, the more concerned she becomes.
On impulse, Jules applies for a teaching job at the Academy, and once there, her suspicions grow. Another student disappears, and two more commit suicide in strange circumstances - or were they murdered? Something sinister is lurking beneath the Academy's serene façade. And uncovering the truth will mean confronting a powerful force of evil that's willing to kill, again and again.
When I received Lisa Jackson’s Without Mercy, I was looking forward to reading it. Now I realize that there are other popular authors with the first name of Lisa who are frequently classified as being mystery/suspense genre writers. I thought I had read lots of Jackson’s work, but partway through Without Mercy, I was stumped. This was not the writing of an author that I enjoyed. What the heck was going on? Upon reviewing my library at LibraryThing.com, I realized that it’s Lisa Gardner who I like. I’d only read one other book by Lisa Jackson. And Without Mercy will most likely be my last.
The book is chockfull of “Wow—what a coincidence moments.” Jules had a failed love affair with a rodeo rider turned cop turned private investigator who is posing as a teacher at the same school. (I’m not kidding….) Of course, when they meet up, sparks fly. The evil bad guy has the lamest evil plan since that guy in the last James Bond movie. (Remember him? The guy who’s evil plot involved raising the water rates in a third world nation? Oh for the days of bad guys who want to take over the world…) But hey, he’s the bad guy, ergo he's crazy, so he doesn’t have to make sense. But wait….ooohhh…bad guy is caught well before the book ends. Is that a surprise twist at the end? Who didn’t see that coming?
Jackson appears to be a romance writer who specializes in that genre known as “romantic suspense.” You may remember my opinion of the genre from a previous review, (Heather Grahams The Killing Edge). I’d also suggest that someone take Jackson’s thesaurus away from her, smack her editor upside the head with it and then burn that sucker. I don’t believe that this author has ever met an adjective she didn’t like.
…Jules wouldn’t allow a fate as brutal and macabre as Nona’s or Maeve’s to happen to her sister. Or anyone else. She had to stop the obscene killing spree…..
…as sunlight began to stream over the mountains, the long-awaited dawn chasing away the night…
Or my personal favorite…
…to rescue her sister, to spirit Shaylee away from whatever dark presence was lurking here……
And. don’t get me started on the overuse of the exclamation point! It’s like reading a book written by a very excited teenager! Where every little thing must be emphasized! Because it’s so important and the reader must not miss it!
I’m hanging my head in shame; I have way too much fun smacking around yet another “romantic suspense novel.” In my defense, though, books of this particular genre NEVER call themselves romantic suspense. I wish I had picked a different read from the “teetering tower o’ to-be-read books”, but what’s done is done. Moving on to a different and (please Lord) better book.
Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson; read it if you’re a fan of hers and you feel you must. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(Review copy provided by Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting)
My rating :