David Baldacci’s latest installment in his mystery series featuring FBI agent Atlee Pine, “Mercy,” finally connects his protagonist with her twin sister Mercy, who was abducted from their shared bedroom at the age of 6. In doing so, as is his wont, Baldacci piles on the action to the point of stretching credulity. Hey, it’s fiction!
The Pine sisters are no shrinking violets. They are tall, fit and can and do fight with their bare hands and assorted weapons.
To fully appreciate the characters and their development as one sister searches for another — who doesn’t know for sure she even has a sister or what her real name is — I recommend reading the series in order: “Long Road to Mercy,” “A Minute to Midnight” and “Daylight.” But “Mercy” gives one all the background necessary to appreciate the intricate plotting.
Without providing too much of a spoiler, it can noted that Baldacci opens by backgrounding the reader on just what happened to Mercy and how she has survived for nearly three decades.
After her abduction, Mercy was enslaved and tortured for years by a sadistic woman and her husband. When she escaped years later the husband was left for dead, making Mercy a person of interest, even to her FBI agent sister. To make extra money she took up back alley mixed martial arts fighting.
Due to those MMA skills, along the way Mercy gets on the wrong side of an organized crime figure as well as the law, leading to some brutal encounters.
Baldacci weaves the events and reveals the mindsets and motivations as he takes the reader to a breathtaking conclusion.
The book came out just a couple of weeks ago but already is No. 10 on The New York Times’ fiction bestseller list, just ahead of Michael Connelly’s “The Dark Hours.” Deservedly so for both books. I highly recommend “Mercy.”