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NO MERCY by Wendy Cartmell

NO MERCY (edition 2012)

by Wendy Cartmell

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Authors:Wendy Cartmell
Collections:Your library
Tags:Sergeant Crane, murder mystery, crime fiction, short stories

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No Mercy (Sgt Major Crane Novels) by Wendy Cartmell



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This concise compilation of four short stories showcases the talents of British author Wendy Cartmell who has more than a dozen crime-thrillers to her credit. Most of Cartmell’s books feature her military police investigator, Sgt Major Crane, and he takes centre stage in this collection. Crane is a middle aged, experienced army veteran who’s served in Afghanistan and now investigates murders and mysteries which affect the British military. He's summoned to a fatal fire where a military man has died in a suspicious blaze.

Cartmell draws on her personal experience as the wife of a forces veteran to bring plenty of gritty authenticity to the scenario and military procedures. ‘No Mercy’ incorporates a satisfying level of detailed observation at the crime scene, together with convincingly gruesome medical notes from the pathology report. The author employs a straightforward, no-nonsense writing style which signals exactly where the story is going in forthright fashion. There’s not much nuance or subtle suggestion in this quick thriller, but instead she quite tells it bluntly like it is.

‘No Mercy’ is an intriguing little mystery which shows Crane methodically following the evidence, interviewing suspects, solving an entirely different case along the way. It relies a little too heavily on the ‘perp reveals all under questioning’ plot device to explain what happened and wrap up the loose ends, but overall offered up a plausible plot and an engaging protagonist. Tom Crane could certainly grow on me…

The other three stories in this anthology are stand-along shorts which I enjoyed just as much. ‘What If?’ is a playful skit on how to commit suburban domestic murder, get away with it, and even tell people exactly what you’ve done. ‘Another Satisfactory Day’ explores the morals of a ruthless corporate salesman who receives his righteous comeuppance. ‘The Telephone Call’ sets up a standard blackmail scenario and then deftly subverts it with a tricksy twist in the tale.

An enjoyable afternoon’s criminal activity; not particularly demanding or emotionally gruelling.
7/10 ( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
Wendy Cartwell’s No Mercy offers a collection of short stories with the first one introducing the titular character of the author’s novel series. The stories are quick and dark, though surprisingly not a fast read, despite the urgency of swift tense changes, and immediacy of references to war in Afghanistan. There’s a veritable sergeant-majorly sense of care in attention to details of scenes, crime scenes, and characters’ backstories and clothing. And each tale has a satisfying sting in the tail, tinged with horror perhaps, sometimes guessed and sometimes well hidden.

Wounded women are frequently placed in the driving seat of these tales, and there are some fascinating characters, good and bad. But for me, the best part of this book is the preview of a longer novel offered at the end. I really wished I could read more.

Disclosure: The book was free and I’d heard of the series, but haven’t read any of the novels. I’m offering my honest review. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Feb 12, 2015 |
*Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

No Mercy has five short stories and an excerpt from Steps to Heaven, the first book in the Sgt Major Crane series.

Well-written and easy to fit into about 10 or 15 minutes of free time, each story is a good read. Short stories are my Achilles Heel. I have a hard time writing about them without giving anything away. So I will just say that I enjoyed each one. I’m not exactly sure which genre they are other than fiction, but I would feel most comfortable slotting them under suspense.

I’ve already read Steps to Heaven, so I skipped the excerpt, but of the five shorts I’d say that What If…? was my favorite. ( )
  AVoraciousReader | Dec 7, 2013 |
Short stories are a lovely way to get a taste of the novelist's art. There are 4 skilfully crafted stories in this small volume.

I've previously reviewed Wendy Cartmell's first novel STEPS TO HEAVEN and throughly enjoyed it as I did these short stories. What else can I say? Look for this short very inexpensive volume. ( )
  smik | Jan 15, 2013 |
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