cover image Mercy River: A Van Shaw Novel

Mercy River: A Van Shaw Novel

Glen Erik Hamilton. Morrow, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-256743-7

At the start of Edgar finalist Hamilton’s excellent fourth Van Shaw novel (after 2017’s Every Day Above Ground), Shaw, a former U.S. Army Ranger, gets a call from a member of his platoon, Leo Pak, whom the police are about to arrest for murder. Shaw races from his home in Seattle to Mercy River, Ore., to help, but the evidence is compelling. Pak was seen entering Erle Sharples’s gun store minutes before Sharples was shot to death. Pak tested positive for gunshot residue, blood was on his shoes, and Pak’s fingerprints were on shells found at the crime scene. Shaw realizes that Pak is withholding information, but his efforts to exonerate his friend are complicated when Pak pleads guilty. The inquiry takes a different turn when Shaw discovers that Sharples had a hidden stash of a powerful painkiller that was pulled from the market for being too dangerous. Evocative prose (Mercy River’s buildings and houses look as if they’ve “been scattered across the land like big handfuls of dice”) makes comparisons with Lee Child’s work apt. Hamilton successfully integrates a whodunit plot into an action-packed thriller peopled with fully realized characters. [em]Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary. (Mar.) [/em]