Today I have a review of The Merciful by Jon Sealy. Thank you, Caitlin Hamilton Summie, for the gifted copy. Make sure to check out the beautiful cover for this one HERE.
What a unique mystery with a side of courtroom drama. Set in a coastal South Carolina town, The Merciful opens with a teen being the victim of a deadly hit and run.
The truth of what happened is murky, though, and everyone has a story to tell. The Merciful gives each of these characters a voice while also addressing the American Dream, data analytics, and some other topics that were new to me.
Overall, The Merciful is very much a story about our morals as a society and also how, in an instant, lives can be forever changed. I found The Merciful an original and thoughtful novel with a hearty dash of mystery and suspense.
I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
A lonesome highway. A hit and run. A coastal town in turmoil
In the vein of Russell Banks’s The Sweet Hereafter and Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, Jon Sealy’s The Merciful explores a hit and run in a coastal South Carolina tourist town and the subsequent trial, providing both a gripping courtroom drama and a probing look at questions of justice and mercy in our era of social media, fake news, and online outrage.
When 19-year-old Samantha James is killer by a driver while riding her bike home from work one night, the town sets out to crucify the alleged culprit, Daniel Hayward. The headlines tell a compelling story, but the truth is much less clear. As in the film Rashomon, everyone has a “story” about what happened: the media, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Daniel, and Samantha’s family.
As the book examines these myriad perspectives, The Merciful’s stunning scope ranges from characters striving for a kind of American success that’s just out of reach, to questions of data analytics, brain emulations, and the very survival of humanity. Ultimately, however, the novel is a morality play about one moment, one accident, one decision, and the way an instant can change the course of a life forever.