Reviewed by Dan
Warning: Includes almost constant references to prison guards brutally raping prisoners and violent prisoner beatings.
TITLE: Mercy’s Prisoner
SERIES: Life Prison #1
AUTHOR: Dusk Peterson
PUBLISHER: Love in Dark Settings Press
LENGTH: 264 pages
“‘You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'”
A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.
All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men’s worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.
A runner-up in the Rainbow Awards 2014, the book bundle “Mercy’s Prisoner” can be read on its own or as the first volume in the Life Prison series. Friendship, desire between men, and the costs of corruption and integrity are examined in this multicultural speculative fiction series, which is inspired by prison life at the end of the nineteenth century.
I’m not sure what to say about this book. I really didn’t like it much. It took me days to finish, and I’m usually a book or more a day guy. The book is actually, I think, supposed to be five intermixed stories, but nothing ever reaches a closure, none of them have an ending, and characters don’t necessarily flow to the next story.
I think the writing is above average, sentence structure, etc., is spot on, and the author seems very astute at understanding the minds of both criminals and brutal guards. That said, there were almost constant references to guards raping the prisoners and leaving them bloody and sobbing, and this being an expected way of controlling the prisoners. There were details of how Merrick, the main character, plotted and murdered his young female relative with knife. There were multiple details of whippings and beatings perpetrated on the prisoners. It was almost horrifying to read. More horrifying was that I stopped paying attention to the rapes because there were so many references.
As I mentioned above, the book has no closure and ends almost in mid thought. There isn’t enough money on the planet to make me pick up the next book and read it. I don’t recommend the book to any of our blog readers. I’m going to rate it 2.5, based on an average of the author’s writing, which I thought was above average or 3.5 and my personal view of the book itself which I will be honest and say I would give a 1.0, because I strongly disliked it. I would read other works by the author, because of their writing style, but I would not consider another from this series. If you are into historical fiction, set in an alternate land which the author says is loosely based on western Maryland in the late 1800’s, with a plethora of brutal rapes, and dropped story lines, then give it a try. But remember, it is against my advice.