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Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel


Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel

When it comes to thrillers featuring state-of-the-art forensic anthropology, there are not many authors better than Jefferson Bass. The tag-team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass continue to churn out impressive thrillers featuring the renowned Body Farm at the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Center.

The head of the Body Farm is Dr. Bill Brockton, an interesting, deeply layered character who always seems to have too much on his mind. To begin with, he is still not over the loss of his wife to cancer 10 years earlier, and it seems like the only people who can get close to him --- outside of the legion of deceased he spends so much time with --- are his research graduate assistant, Miranda, and his long-time secretary, Peggy.

"The climax of WITHOUT MERCY will leave readers breathless, and the danger in which Brockton is placed is so palpable and treacherous that you will be sweating right along with him."

In WITHOUT MERCY, Brockton faces his most daunting and vicious case to date, and it all starts with him being asked to take a look at some remains in the woods of nearby Cooke County. It takes the keen eye of Dr. Bill to see that the remains, as well as the markings on the tree where the body was found, indicates someone who was tied to the tree and brutalized. It is only after further examination that Brockton finds evidence that the victim was also used as bear bait --- a horrific way to go.

Initially it is thought that this poor individual had to be African-American and the victim of some white supremacist group out of control. Further research turns up evidence that the victim at the newly labeled Tree of Death was of Middle Eastern descent. Suddenly, the novel jumps directly into current issues involving the hatred many direct towards any Muslim or Middle Eastern individual, and this now presents a far wider net when seeking to catch the perpetrator behind this brutal hate crime.

Out of the blue, there is a sudden plot twist that turns the rest of the novel on its ear. Serial killer Nick Satterfield breaks out of prison in a manner that Hannibal Lecter would applaud.  Satterfield now is turning his two-plus decades of resentment towards the man who put him there --- Dr. Bill Brockton. Satterfield tortured Brockton's family years earlier and would have killed them all had he not been stopped. Once word of Satterfield's escape is made public, a team of law enforcement experts are put together with the goal of capturing the sadistic killer while protecting Brockton and everyone close to him.

Brockton looks at the cases with his victims as puzzles needing to be solved and put together. Satterfield is a completely different story and is the only person alive who can throw Brockton completely off his game. Of course, the murder Brockton had been working on is tied to some of Satterfield's cohorts who aided in his escape. They all realize that the only way to catch Satterfield is to use Brockton as bait and in an extremely public and open forum where they hopefully can control the outcome and outman the killer.

The climax of WITHOUT MERCY will leave readers breathless, and the danger in which Brockton is placed is so palpable and treacherous that you will be sweating right along with him. Jefferson Bass may have outdone themselves with this novel, and fans of the Body Farm series are in for a nerve-wracking experience as they wring each ounce of suspense out of this deftly plotted story.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 14, 2016

Without Mercy: A Body Farm Novel
by Jefferson Bass

  • Publication Date: May 30, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062363212
  • ISBN-13: 9780062363213