I’ve learned something about myself while reading this book, something that really wasn’t all that big of a surprise to me. I can’t get in to Westerns. it’s just not for me. Cowboys, Native Americans, ranches, cowboy slang…blerg. That said, I actually enjoyed the first 3/4 or so of Merciless by Diana Palmer. What’s funny to me is that the cover isn’t necessarily relevant to the ultimate plot of the book. Sure, our hero has roots as a cowboy, but his life as an FBI agent takes front row, here.
Merciless is the story of Joceline Perry, paralegal and assistant to Jon Blackhawk. Joceline has harbored a crush for her boss for years, though Jon has managed to master distancing himself from all of those around him. He’s a conservative man. However, he’s not entirely blind, and to say he hasn’t noticed his sarcastic, brilliant assistant would be something of a lie. The rapport between this two is downright comical. Joceline is a take-no-nonsense kind of woman in the workplace. She’s adamant, however, about keeping her private life private, and talks very rarely of her young son.
When a former suspect is released on acquittal and begins to make threats against Jon and his team, the two of them are forced to work closely together in somewhat intimate circumstances. Secrets begin to surface, and before long, Jon and Joceline are forced to deal with skeletons they had formerly pushed far back into cluttered closets.
The first half of this book read very much like a thriller. I thought the legal and law enforcement aspects of this book were really fun and grabbed me from page one. Joceline is hysterical. Jon’s dealing with her is just as comical. But when things turn heated, we the reader begin to realize there is more going on here than what meets the eye. The only one that can’t seem to figure that out is Jon, and it really bothered the hell out of me. Joceline harbors a pretty huge secret, one that becomes fairly evident toward the halfway point of our plot, and at times I wanted to smack both Joceline and Jon for their complete and total ignorance.
My interest fizzled about 3/4 of the way through. Conversations dragged, action lacked, and I began to see the predictable ending barreling toward me. Don’t get me wrong – I like happy endings. But sometimes…damn. I don’t know. It’s just too cliche, I guess. I also had a hard time dealing with pop culture references. Perhaps there’s more going on here that stems from previous books, but as someone coming into the series as a newbie, the references to gaming and gaming lingo were somewhat off putting. I can imagine a mention here and there, but it was a bit much.
Romance: 2/5 Raunch: 1.5/5