“Rage and Mercy: Part One” by Scott Dresden

rage and mercy cover

“This thrilling book delivers a violent tale that is ultimately as surprising as it is gruesome.” Kirkus Review Sayer didn’t expect his life to go any further than wherever his wealthy clients told him to drive to, until he worked for Diana Westcherry. The young, beautiful, epileptic woman stubbornly imposes her kindness on Sayer, exposing a life that could’ve been, if she’d been his mother. Through Diana, Sayer learns that nothing determines a man’s life more than the mother he was born from. And when drug fiends murder her for purse change, Sayer will slaughter all of them to immortalize her, the mother he was denied. But knowing now that the greatest gift a father could give his child is choosing the mother of his child, he abducts Amanda to create the child he was supposed to be. Rage and Mercy is the story of Amanda and Sayer. Amanda is a born again Christian on a mission to shepherd lost souls to God. Sayer is her black kidnapper, determined to give his future child the white, Christian mother he never had. While there is nothing Sayer wouldn’t do for his future child, Amanda must discover if she can endure impossible horrors to prove that no child of God is beyond redemption.


Kirkus Review:

A debut novel, the first installment of a series, focuses on one man’s quest for retribution.

Los Angeles in 2002 is plagued by drug fiends. More than mere addicts, these thugs are a particularly vicious and pathetic group. Readers are told: “There’s nothing a fiend wouldn’t do for the next high.” While such a statement would seem to apply to substance abusers of many eras, these creatures terrorizing the city are more akin to zombies than Alcoholics Anonymous attendees. A case in point comes with the brutal murder of Diana Westcherry, daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate named Vlad. Shortly after she gives a fiend a brownie, she is bludgeoned to death for her kindness. If that were not enough, passing fiends further disgrace her body in ways that are better left unmentioned. What is one to do with such a tragic and disgusting situation? Once he gets wind of what has happened, Diana’s chauffer, a former Marine named Sayer, decides he will take matters into his own hands. He begins killing the fiends with gusto, taking care to carve Diana’s name into their cadavers so that she will be remembered. It would be a dangerous vocation under normal circumstances, but with Vlad’s blessing and financing, it becomes a profitable enterprise. So the stage is set for a story that turns even stranger and grislier as it progresses. Interspersed with grand statements (the idea that “fiends spread their belief in annihilation through their worship of chaos”), it is truly a dark tale from start to finish. Although long conversations can stymie some of the intensity (do not get Diana started on the concept of “self-soothing” or Vlad on the discipline required for love), the reader can never be quite sure what horrific scene lies just around the corner or what new character may surface next. Dresden’s late addition of an attractive, born-again schoolteacher named Amanda offers new opportunities in what would otherwise be a story of frenzied revenge. Of course, if what happened to Diana is any indication, the beautiful certainly fare the worst in a world populated with so many twisted individuals.

This thrilling book delivers a violent tale that is ultimately as surprising as it is gruesome.


San Francisco Book Review:

Scott Dresden’s Rage and Mercy: Part One is an intricate fictional work that will engross a reader’s attention start to finish. The murder of Diana, a young, virtuous woman, triggers Sayer, her former driver to embark on the systematic extermination of an unwanted population of drug addicts, referred to as “fiends.” The novel follows Sayer, Diana, Norris, and Adams, the detectives investigating the murders, Margot, a photographer who stumbles across the story, and Amanda, an entwined acquaintance of Diana. Reflective one-liners pop up throughout the narrative, offering thought-provoking concepts, such as “’Catch the devil before you cuff the suspect’” and “’…the most consequential decision a father can ever make for his child is to choose the mother who bears it, and the best fathers do not ask permission or apologize for what they do for their children. I became wealthier than nearly everyone by yielding to no one but my family.’”

Each chapter incorporates another layer to titillate and enthrall readers. Dresden’s work requires a mature audience to appreciate and comprehend the graphic material woven throughout the novel. Dresden boldly engages the themes of rape and murder in a very candid, up-front manner, while avoiding the tendency of some authors to romanticize the acts. Moreover, he considers these themes through the lens of motherhood in a manner not typically utilized. Readers will have to decide for themselves the character, composition, and impact of a “good” mother. Situations like this arise throughout the narrative, encouraging readers to reconsider self-determined truths, like where the boundary between good and evil truly falls. Readers may find themselves sympathizing with, or even rooting for, the vigilante as he tries to avenge the honorable life stolen before its time.

Rage and Mercy: Part One will leave readers on the each of their seats anxiously awaiting the next installment of Dresden’s premier work. Clearly identified as Part One, the novel leaves many questions unanswered at the close of the first installment. How deep into the story will Margot probe? What will happen to Amanda after she escapes captivity? Will Sayer walk away before his vendetta consumes him? We can only hope Scott Dresden does not delay. Rage and Mercy: Part One weaves an elaborate narrative of deceit, desire, hope, and destruction that many readers will instantaneously begin again. Ideal for sunny days at the beach or stormy nights with some popcorn, this book will prove an excellent addition to any adult’s reading list.

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