My experience as an Emergency Department physician came in handy during the writing of NO MERCY. The novel merges the genres of medical thriller, crime, murder mystery, and psychological suspense. It’s fueled by adrenalin, the drug that got me hooked on emergency medicine in the first place. I tried to bring a level of realism to the medical scenes, to convey the intensity of these environments and how they affect the people working there. NO MERCY is a story about bearing witness to the struggles of others, and the E.R. is a place for that, as well.
My wife is a forensic psychiatrist, and I also incorporated her experience into novel. The story involves a serial killer who terrorizes a small town. We tend to think of such individuals as extremely rare. But many serial killers are sociopaths, and what I learned through discussion with my wife is that sociopaths are present in almost all communities. About 4% of men and 1% of women fit the diagnostic criteria. They frequently blend in to the community, and are harder to identify than one might imagine. Not all sociopaths become serial killers, of course, but for many of them the potential is there. If that doesn’t make you lock your doors at night, I don’t know what will.
I try to remind myself of the basic goodness of people. But we all have our dark side, and we often keep it hidden—allowing it out only when we think no one is watching. NO MERCY is about coming face-to-face with that darkness. It’s about secrets that run like silent contaminated rivers just beneath the surface of people’s daily existence, about discovering those rivers, and then following them with a sense of apprehension to wherever they lead.
It’s hard to know what lies in wait for us at the other end. Just as in medicine, the revelations can be . . . unsettling. For although knowledge can be useful, it can also be carnivorous, slowly eating away at us from within. In time, we may wish we had never known.
The next stop on the tour is Killing Time Crime.
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