Kristal Stittle has a handful of titles under her belt prior to Merciless, but this is my first visit to her imagination. This dark thriller enters quickly onto a quaint, rural landscape, ready to set the tone for trouble. If a woman home alone in a cottage isn’t the easiest topic in reach, I don’t know what is. Despite the been-there-done-that theme, it’s easy enough to become engulfed in the chase of this story. Stittle writes with a no-nonsense style with occasional spikes of flair that kept the pages flipping without an eye roll. Good thing.
The protagonist, Mercy, carries on her back the majority of book, hiding, running, thinking and she does so with a kind of charm that opens while reading as if it takes terror to invoke a personality.
Much of it I’ve read or seen before and I could imagine where it’s going, like a flight plan. Inviting in expectation might be what makes this trampled trope wheeze out a little more gas. Sensing, guessing and assuming permits the reader to become prey to the grand finale.
A finale I did not foresee. A finale needed for this book to set itself apart from the subject being the literary thriller (and horror-flick) equivalent to freezer pizza.
In the end, it was an entertaining read, entertaining, lightning fast and offered a genuine Sinister Grin.