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Merciless (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #3)
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Merciless (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #3)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,716 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Richard Montanari's The Echo Man.

On a frigid December night, Karen sits at the edge of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, dressed in a flowing gown, like a visitor from the distant past. A beautiful and shining young woman, she gazes up at a bone-white winter moon like a fairy-tale princess frozen in time. At first glance, one mig
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Narrator: Scott Brick

I wasn't as enamored of this as many have been. It's intricate and the plot is solid yet I did not enjoy it as much as I have lesser books in the subgenre. Even Brick's narration did not help but perhaps that's because the characters weren't suited for Brick's talent with snark.

I KIV'd this series because I had read so many good reviews but my own experience hasn't quite borne that out. It was heavy and plodding through much of the book wit
Melissa Lenahan
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
3rd book in the series! They just keep getting better and better! I highly recommend this series. Can't wait to read more!!
Wayne Simmons
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book just grabs you from page one and never lets go.

Bit of a cliche, that, but it's pretty much what happened with BROKEN ANGELS, my first dip of the toe with Richard Montanri's Balanzo & Byrne series, yet the third book to star the enigmatic detectives. It's a police procedural, two cops on the tail of a theatrical serial killer known simply as Moon. Nothing eye-catching about that - there are a million cop vs serial killer books out there - but this book is awesome. Pure and s
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I have to tell you something, I like New England clam chowder. Now as far as canned chowder goes Progresso brand makes a decent chowder. One year, many moons ago, my wife and I were taking some time off of work in Long Beach California. We happened to stop in for dinner one evening at this restaurant, the name lost to the ravages of time that tear at our memories, and I had a bowl of chowder that, no matter how much time passes, I shall always remember. I am sure that the atmosphere and company ...more
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Normally, I don't read this type of mystery novel, but it was recommended to me by someone at a garage sale and I thought I'd give it a try. I can say it was good, but not a favorite. It's harder than the cozy mysteries I tend to read, which is to be expected, but I think it contributed to why I wasn't in love with it. I really enjoyed the fairy tale angle and would like to see that theme more often. I recently ordered a Grimm's Fairy Tale book because they are amazing to read as an adult, espec ...more
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime
Another brilliant Montanari thriller, the plot twists keep you guessing right until the very end and the characters are well written with their own back stories occasionally coming through making them all the more real. The use of the Anderson fairy tales makes this book even more chilling as it takes something from your more innocent childhood days and twists it into something hideous and terrifying. A brilliant fast paced page turner of a thriller
Joanne Nock
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me ages to get over the last book I read by this author as the level of violence was so gruesome, but yes, I went back for more. Another in the Kevin Byrne / Jessica Balzano partnership where a serial killer recreates fairy tales. I thought I had this figured out quite early on, but was delighted to discover that there were twists in store and my initial theories were rubbish.
Tia Lock
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone into crime or fans of Richard Montanari
This author keeps getting better. It carries on the story of the characters Byrne and Jessica but you don't have to have read previous books. It challenges the mind which is the best part of these books.
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is practically a perfect suspense novel, with intriguing murders, three-dimensional characters, brilliant writing, and twists that even I didn't see coming (and that's not easy to do!).
Eve Nolon
Another re-read and I enjoyed this one much more than I remember. I absolutely loved the addition of Vincent toward the end; for some reason I have a tendre for him.
Alyssia Cooke
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, contemporary
It is rare that I pick up a murder mystery book of my own choosing; I usually stick with fantasy, sci-fi or biographies. I'm not a big fan of gore and blood so will do my utmost best to avoid genre's which are likely to hand it to me on a plate; unfortunately many murder mysteries do as authors abandon detailed and interesting plot times in favour of overwhelming the reader with gruesome accounts of the death and corpses of the victims of the novel. So this was an odd one for me to pick out, and ...more
I've read quite a few of the Byrne/Balzano novels now, though completely out of order so half the time I'm not sure what has happened and what will happen, regardless, I've enjoyed them. Unfortunately I wasn't overly enthused about 'Broken Angels'. While it progressed the personal development of both Byrne and Balzano, I felt that the criminal investigation was rather lacking.

This was quite a lengthy novel, and while there were a number of murders throughout - the murders themselves were unique
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was really good, I liked it better than the previous one.
(view spoiler)
The set is awesome and I really liked the background story, I would have loved to read more about it.
The only thing that bothered me was the "baby-panic" of Jessica and he
Dave Lihosit
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Not as good as the previous books.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-firsttime, kindle, 2017
Another bone chilling novel. I think these books do a solid job of letting us get to know the characters and following the killer. Should I enjoy books about serial killers this much? I really do.
The third in the Kevin Byrne / Jessica Balzano series; by now I know to expect plenty of hard police work shoring up plot-twists and digressions, and I wasn’t disappointed. In this instalment, people are dying according to some psychopath’s inner need to recreate scenes from fairy tales and fables. This recreation of tableaux is a recurring theme with Montanari, who artfully makes it fresh and distractingly gruesome every time.

Although most of the book (particularly the partnership between Byrne
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Merciless" by Richard Montanari roars out of the gate from page one as a taunt, and chilling Mystery/ thriller. This is the third outing for the Philadelphia detective team of Kevin Byrne, and Jessica Balzano. Byrne the grizzled long time cop has several demons to overcome chasing him within this terrific mystery/ thriller. Balzano ,still somewhat new to being an investigator really progresses her skills in becoming a top flight detective. It's the Schuylkil River that becomes a killing field f ...more
This is actually the third book in this series featuring Philly detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano. Typically, I have a hard time overcoming my obsession with reading books in order, but this book came to my attention because of the serial killer and the link to Hans Christian Andersen. Risking disappointment, I chose to start the series in the middle. And actually, the author does a better job than many series authors in acquainting new readers with his recurring characters without leav ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed this book, and I would have given it a straight up 4 stars except for the fact that I kept putting it down while searching for something else to do. Therefore, it obviously didn't keep my attention as much as I would expect from a 4 star book.
Kathleen Hagen
Merciless, by Richard Montanari, B-plus, narrated by Scott Brick, produced by Books on Tape, downloaded from

This is the second one in the Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano police procedural series set in Philadelphia. In this one, the homicide squad has several crimes going on at the same time but find, as time goes on, that they all seem connected. Young girls disappear and then turn up dead posed in bizarre ways. Then there are two men making it a point to pick up and kill pedophile
Brian Krause
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well, the debut (The Rosary Girls)was excellent, The Skin Gods not quite as good and this one......meh.

The characters I'd grown to like seemed baffled and had no idea how to track down the raving lunatic psycho killer. While serial killers in this genre are NEVER easy to figure out, as in what motivates them to do what they do, the snippets we were provided by the author as "insights" into what he was doing/saying/thinking were so obscure as to be worthless.

The last straw was revealing the ident
Dee Haddrill
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, read-2011
This is the third in a series involving detectives, Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne, and was given to me to read by a friend. I'm usually a huge stickler for reading books in order but I'll be honest and say I only started this book so I could give it back to my friend. I haven't read many crime thrillers for a while and didn't expect to think too much of this one, but boy was I wrong! What an awesome book! The story was fantastic, the crimes not so gruesomely described that it creeped me out, a ...more
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
This author makes me so mad! He has this great pair of Philly homicide cops Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano - compelling, real, interesting partnership - but his cases are so absurd their laughable. I thought the case in THE SKIN GODS was bad - this one is ridiculous. Montanari's killers always have bizarre obsessions and create ridiculous tableaus with the victims. It's kind like watching villains from the 60s television version of Batman - did Mr. Freeze really have to attempt to freeze our he ...more
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, kudos to Richard for publishing a read-till-dawn novel. He has created, in my opinion, a true thriller. If I didn't have a baby, I would have stayed up until all hours reading. The characters are so relatable, though a little predictable - but aren't we all?

I personally found his book interesting and fast paced, which keeps the reader interested. He flicks from character to character in a way which doesn't confuse the story line. One thing I found fantastic was the villian - a crazy
John Toffee
Kevin Byrne is in a café when he recognises an old advisory. As always these things don't end up well after a stand off in the café. This becomes the side intrigue to the main case. Byrne and Jessica Balzano, his tough partner, are a fantastic series and this is another belter.
The pair are hunting a killer who leaves his victims in artistic poses wearing antique gowns. The river proves to be a common denominator as the pair weave their way around Philadelphia.
As always this is fast paced and kee
Bonnie McHenry
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such an extraordinary storyteller! To take the innocence of fairy tales and submerge them with the gruesome, twisted thoughts of a psychopathic serial killer takes you to a place that will scare the bejesus out of you while at the same time leaving you wanting more! Holding it all together is the relationship of Byrne and Balzano, 2 detectives who have each other's back through thick and thin. Also, we have the regular supporting characters of detectives that help to bring to life one heck of a ...more
Belinda Elizondo
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's always interesting to witness the development of a writer. This is book 3 in the series of 2 Philadelphia detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne,and the writer is developing very well. Best one so far! Had to stay up an extra 1 1/2 past my bedtime as I neared the climax~~and what a page-turner it was!
Other reviews can be read for the plot. I enjoyed this book and didn't want it to end. The new Amish character added some needed humor to the series. I hope he will remain in the series.
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book to listen to on Books on Tape because it takes place in Philly. However, I got so much more. This is a Murder Mystery involving a serial killer who props us his victims as characters in one of several Hans Christian Anderson stories. the writing is crisp and it keeps you guessing up until the end. In addition to the main plot, there is the personal anguish of Det. Kevin Byrne who is haunted by his failure to protect an innocent woman from another killer. Altogether it is a gre ...more
Julie Haigh
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of crime and thrillers
Recommended to Julie by: Read many of Richard Montanari's books
Excellent but same book as Broken Angels retitled for American market so don't buy if you already read that!

Excellent, fast paced thriller. I have read all of Richard Montanari's novels and this one does not disappoint. This is the American version of 'Broken Angels' retitled for the American market. Whichever one you read you'll be eager to devour the next Richard Montanari book-I couldn't put it down.
The 3rd book in the Balzano and Byrne series finds them investigating a series of murders in Philadelphia which appear to be taken straight from fairy tales. As they search for the killer they also are forced to investigate the murder of a recent retired police officer filling their plate’s right around the holidays. Didn’t like this quite as much as the first two mainly because the book seemed to have too many moving parts and plot lines and twists.
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Goodreads Librari...: I can't combine book 3 117 Jan 18, 2016 10:33AM  
  • The Dead Room (Darby McCormick #3)
  • Buried (Tom Thorne, #6)
  • The Death Sculptor (Robert Hunter, #4)
  • Dead Run (Monkeewrench, #3)
  • Midnight Rambler (Jack Carpenter #1)
  • Fear Itself
  • The Reaper (Damen Brook, #1)
  • A Garden Of Vipers (Carson Ryder, #3)
  • The Cold Room (Taylor Jackson, #4)
  • The Last Temptation (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #3)
  • Denial
  • Kill Zone (Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller #3)
  • A Visible Darkness (Max Freeman, #2)
  • Relentless (Tina Boyd #2)
Richard Montanari is the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rosary Girls, The Killing Room, The Stolen Ones and the upcoming thriller, The Doll Maker.

* Jack Paris
* Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne
More about Richard Montanari...

Other Books in the Series

Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne (10 books)
  • The Rosary Girls (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #1)
  • The Skin Gods (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #2)
  • Play Dead (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #4)
  • The Echo Man (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5)
  • The Killing Room (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #6)
  • The Stolen Ones (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #7)
  • The Doll Maker (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #8)
  • Shutter Man
  • Murder Scene

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