Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Shades of Mercy

Shades of Mercy by Bruce Borgos
7/16/24; 352 pages
St. Martin's Press
Porter Beck Mystery #2

Shades of Mercy by Bruce Borgos is a very highly recommended un-put-downable procedural/mystery/thriller set in the high desert of Nevada. This is the second book in the Porter Beck series and is just as excellent as the first, The Bitter Past. Shades of Mercy can most definitely also be read as a standalone novel.

The fentanyl crisis has hit Lincoln County when a childhood friend of Sheriff Porter Beck dies from an overdose. At the same time a hacker takes control of a military drone and explosively disrupts the 17th birthday party of Shiloah Roy, daughter of Jesse Roy, another childhood friend of Beck and a very successful rancher/owner of the Double J Ranch. After the drone hacking, Special Agent Ed Maddox of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations arrives. Jesse had a prize bull killed by the drone and Maddox is quick to want to compensate him for his loss.

Beck's investigation into the hacking leads him to a juvenile detention center where Shiloah’s friend Mercy resides. Mercy Vaughn is a brilliant 16-year-old hacker who is locked up with no computer access. Brinley (Brin) Cummings, Beck's sister, works at the center and she thinks Mercy is innocent, but Beck has his doubts after meeting her. Then the political intrigue increases when we learn that Dal Cho, a South Korean political consultant, has been ordered to go to Lincoln County and find Mercy.

Shades of Mercy is a lightning-fast-paced intelligent and complex procedural that keeps both the intrigue and the action sustained throughout. The action is truly non-stop as the complex case is investigated. Expect an immersive plot that moves quickly while the reader's engagement remains high. Twists abound in the narrative as discoveries and new information are uncovered. The setting is a major part of the story. Anyone who has lived in or spent time in the high desert of Nevada will understand the fire danger and the dry heat. 

I love all the characters Borgos has created. Beck is an intelligent, astute, and resourceful character. He's nobody's fool and can read people like a book. He also has retinitis pigmentosa which means he has trouble seeing at night and decreasing peripheral vision. Brin and all the other varied supporting characters are portrayed as unique, fully realized individuals. This outing introduces a canine companion, Columbo, who is a perfect addition to the cast of characters.

This is an absolute winner and a wonderful addition to the series. I'll be looking forward to another Porter Beck procedural! Thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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