Monday, January 2, 2012

Dangerous Mercy by Kathy Herman

In this novel, the second in the Secrets of the Roux River Bayou series, eighty-five year old Adele Woodmore has moved to Les Barbes. She is a wealthy woman and has downsized to a much smaller home, having lost her husband some years before. She routinely hires men from Father Vince's half-way house nearby to do maintenance and repairs.
Then a series of murders rock the small community. Someone is murdering CEOs of companies who have had to lay off employees during the recent recession. Then the CEO of a bank noted for its foreclosures is murdered.
One of the men from the half-way house comes under suspicion. Adele is convinced he is innocent, continuing to believe even when her housekeeper and companion quits, believing Adele to be too naive in the midst of such evil.
But Adele has a heart of compassion. She knows she is exercising “dangerous mercy,” helping those who are down and out. “Mercy is risky,” Adele says. “I guess that's what makes it mercy. There's always a chance someone will abuse it.” (254)
And abuse it someone does. The murder kidnaps Adele when it becomes clear the authorities are on to him. Yet Adele continues to have compassion for the man, sharing the gospel with him in the midst of her own pain. Will she be rescued before he murders her?

I like the way Herman writes, and this one did not disappoint. We learn who the murderer is about three quarters of the way through the novel so the last part is the tension of kidnapped Adele and the now reluctant murderer. This is a great story of trust, trusting humans and trusting God. Sometimes humans betray our trust, but God never does. It was through pain and deep hurt that Adele learned to trust God. Now she wants to share that with others God has put in her path.

Herman has added a great Afterword, reminding us that Adele never forgot God's mercy to her. She didn't hesitate to extend that mercy to those who needed it most. It was a dangerous mercy. How often, Herman asks, do we fail to extend God's mercy because of our own fear?

There is a discussion guide at the end of the book so this would make a fine choice for book groups. There would be much to discuss about trust, mercy, discernment, etc.

Find out more about Kathy Herman at www.facebook.com/kathyherman or www.kathyherman.com.

David C Cook, 416 pages.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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