Mercy Killing Book Review

mercy killing book reviewTitle: Mercy Killing

Author:Kathryn Johnson

Genre: Suspense

Publisher: Kathryn Johnson

Release Date: July 2014 (2nd edition

Format: Kindle/paperback

Pages: 272 pages

Artist and Washington, D.C. socialite Mercy O’Brien Davis married for love and gave up a promising job as a Smithsonian curator to support her husband’s diplomatic career. But while accompanying him to Mexico City, she learns  her famous photo-journalist mother has disappeared without a trace in Ukraine. Desperate to find her, Mercy runs afoul of the U. S. State Department and stumbles into a maze of lies, crime, and international intrigue. When she appeals to her husband for help in locating her mother, he is strangely reluctant. With her marriage already on shaky ground in the aftermath of her husband’s infidelity, and the U.S. government ignoring her entreaties on her mother’s behalf, Mercy accepts help from a mysterious American agent who enlists her to spy on sexy cattle baron
Sebastian Hidalgo, suspected of heading a Mexican crime cartel. Hidalgo is determined to keep her from discovering his darkest secrets, even as he lusts for her.  Manipulated by the men in her life, and their hidden agendas, Mercy wonders if there’s anyone she can trust, and what price she will have to pay for her mother’s safe return.

Amazonmercy killing book reviewMy Review:

I am a huge fan of Kathryn Johnson’s alter ego, Mary Hart Perry, and her historical fiction, ever since I read The Wild Princess more than two years ago (check out my review).  Her blend of historical fact and romantic fiction made the stories of Queen Victoria’s daughters come to life on the page.

Mercy Killing is the first of Johnson’s new Affairs of State series, a contemporary suspense novel.  It has just the right amount of adventure, suspense, and sexual tension (with a little bit of lovemaking thrown in for good measure).  This book was a fast-paced read that left me jabbing the next button on my Kindle to see what would happen next.

As in her historical novels, Johnson seamlessly weaves current events throughout the book.  Ukrainian unrest, illegal immigration, human trafficking as well as weapons and drug smuggling all make appearances in this thrilling story.

Mercy O’Brien Davis is a strong female lead (which my regular readers know I love).  I enjoyed how intelligent and creative she was, but with the same vulnerabilities as any woman.  When she is cornered alone in a room at a party, and threatened, she handles herself coolly and calmly. Afterwards, Mercy starts to panic and starts to walk back to her husband, a couple of rooms away.

She was halfway across the room now.  The orchestra bursting into The Girl from Ipanema, of all things.  The room around her had faded into a miasma of jittery fog – all faces melting away before her eyes as she nearly ran between people, tables, and servers.  She focused on her husband.  Peter would know what to do.

Mercy is also a former athlete, and without giving away too much, I will say that some of her athletic feats in this novel are simply sensational!!

There are lots of twists and turns, oohs and ahs, throughout the book.  It stands complete in itself, which is one of my most important criteria (I generally hate cliffhangers).  Still, it leaves you wondering what will happen to Mercy next?  Thank goodness, the second book in the series, Hot Mercy is due out before the end of the year.

I highly recommend Mercy Killing to fans of the suspense genre, as well as fans of strong, intelligent women.  I give Mercy Killing five stars!!! A must read!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review through Innovative Online Book Tours.  All opinions are 100% my own.

About the Author:

mercy killing book reviewKathryn Johnson (aka Mary Hart Perry), author of over 40 published novels, teaches in Washington, DC for the renowned The Writer’s Center, and is a popular speaker at many
conferences and venues including The Smithsonian Associates programs and the Library of
Congress. CEO of Write by You, a writer’s mentoring service, she’s an Agatha Christy Award nominee, winner of the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller’s Best Awards. Recent novels include Victorian thrillers featuring Queen Victoria’s daughters. Kathryn’s new contemporary Romantic-Suspense series, AFFAIRS OF STATE, launches the first two titles in 2014. She is Vice-President of the Mystery Writers of America, Mid-Atlantic chapter, a member of the Author’s Guild, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Novelists Inc, and the Historical Novel Society.

Follow Kathryn Johnson Facebook/Goodreads/Website

Kathryn Johnson is giving away a signed paperback copy of Mercy Killing to one lucky reader.  Enter for the chance to win on the Rafflecopter below.

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Fried Polenta with Fried Tomatoes Recipe

fried polenta with fried tomatoes recipeI love polenta.  Creamy, fried, or grilled – doesn’t matter to me.  Cheesy or smothered in marinara sauce – it’s all good.  Whenever I want a treat that’s low in calories, fat and sodium, polenta is what I think of (unless you opt for the creamy or cheesy versions 😉

Lately I’ve been lazy and opting for the store-bought version.  But store-bought generally tastes a little more manufactured, if you know what I mean (read chemicals, preservatives, etc.).  So I reminded myself how easy polenta is to make and went for it.  Let’s just say I did not regret it.  So yummy!!! And I had enough leftover to leave for the kids to cook for dinner while Art and I are away on a mini-vacay (yes I’m posting recipes from my vacation.  That’s the blogging life, my friends.)

Fried Polenta with Fried Tomatoes Recipe


4 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tomato

sea salt

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a 4 cheese blend)


In a large pot, bring the water and 1/2 tsp. of salt to a boil. (You need a large pot so you have plenty of room to stir.  I used a medium pot and mine was a little lumpy.)

Pour the cornmeal into the boiling water in a thin stream, stirring constantly.

Cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 15-25 minutes, or until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan.

Pour the polenta onto a lightly greased cutting board.  Shape it gently.

fried polenta with fried tomatoes recipeLet the polenta cool for about 15 minutes.  Then cut into slices.  (This will make enough to feed 6-8 people, but the tomato recipe only serves 1-2, so if you don’t want to use it all right away, wrap the unsliced polenta in greased plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat.

Add polenta slices and fry on both sides, until golden brown.

While polenta is cooking, slice tomato.  Spread out slices on a plate and sprinkle both sides with sea salt and cornmeal.  (This will dry the slices enough so that they hold their shape when fried).

Remove polenta slices to a warm plate.

Add additional olive oil to the already heated pan.

Add tomato slices and fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Serve tomato slices over polenta and top with shredded cheese.

fried polenta with fried tomatoes recipeEnjoy!!