The Absence of Mercy

“Using his experience as an emergency room physician, Burley skillfully uses the step-by-step discovery of evidence to ratchet up the tension in his debut novel. . . . A smart, disturbing and heartbreaking thriller.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[A] chilling debut. . . . Burley sensitively portrays parents dealing with damage and loss . . . in this relentlessly readable thriller that will leave readers of suspense waiting for more.” (Booklist)

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AbsenceMercy_PB_cJohn Burley’s The Absence of Mercy is a harrowing tale of suspense involving a brutal murder and dark secrets that lie beneath the surface of a placid, tight-knit Midwestern town.

When a brutally murdered teenager is discovered in the woods surrounding a small Ohio town, Dr. Ben Stevenson—the town’s medical examiner—must decide if he’s willing to put his family’s life in danger to uncover the truth. Finding himself pulled deeper into an investigation with devastating consequences, he discovers shocking information that will shatter his quiet community, and force him to confront a haunting truth.

With its eerie portrait of suburban life and nerve-fraying plot twists, The Absence of Mercy is domestic drama at its best for fans of Harlan Coben, Laura Lippman, Jennifer McMahon, and Lisa Gardner.

About The Author

JOHN BURLEY grew up in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. He worked as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter before attending medical school in Chicago and completing an emergency medicine residency program at University of Maryland Medical Center and Shock Trauma in Baltimore. He currently serves as an emergency department physician in northern California. He is hard at work on his next novel.

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