No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway: Book 2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

No Mercy: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 2) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: January 15th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2

All the Best Lies—Book 3 (expected publication date: February 11th, 2020)

Where you can find No Mercy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.

No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.


First Line:

You kill one guy, one time, and suddenly everyone thinks you need therapy, Ellery Hathaway thought as she stood in the biting wind of the subway T platform overlooking the icy Charles River.


My Review:

No Mercy’s plotline was simple. Ellery is on involuntary leave after killing the person who had kidnapped four people and killed them. She is also forced into group therapy for people who have survived violent crimes. Figuring that all she needs to do is show up, Ellery is soon drawn into two different crimes. One involves a woman who survived a brutal rape and is desperate for the rapist to be found. The other crime consists of a woman who lost her son in a fire set by an arsonist, 25 years ago. The man convicted for the crime has been paroled, and Ellery isn’t sure if he did it. Instead, she thinks that someone close to the family set the fire. So, what does Ellery do? She calls Reed and asks him for his help. Will Ellery be able to help the rape victim? And will she get to the bottom of the arson?

When I started reading No Mercy, I didn’t know what to expect, plotwise. Because it is book 2, I was expecting this to be more of a filler book. I was expecting the pacing of this book to be slower than The Vanishing Season. Then I started reading it, and all of those preconceived expectations were blown away. This book was not a filler book. The pacing of No Mercy was as fast as The Vanishing Season, if not faster. I did not expect that and loved it!!!

I loved Ellery in No Mercy. She was the same wiseass woman, but there was more of an edge to her. She didn’t hide who she was or what had happened to her. That did cause some minor issues in the book. What amazed me about her was her character growth during the book. Instead of holding people at arm’s length, she started slowly letting them in. She showed empathy towards Wendy. It was beautiful to watch, knowing that her past hindered her. I hope that in the next book, there is even more character growth.

I liked Reed in this book. I liked that the author made his character flawed. There were some parts of the book where I didn’t feel bad for him, though. Like when he made promises that he couldn’t keep (taking his daughter to Disney World) or when he kept missing visitations with her. Because he was with Ellery, helping her with those two cases. But, at the same time, it was evident that he loved his daughter. He did help Ellery with her two cases. His insights lead to some significant breaks in those cases.

The one thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the romance scenes between Ellery and Reed. While it did add to Ellery’s recovery (remember she was sexually assaulted), I didn’t think it had a place in the book. I could have done without it.

The plotline with Wendy, the rape victim, was heartbreaking. To see a woman beaten down the way she was broke my heart. When she reached out to Ellery, she was nearing rock bottom. I did like how the author kept that storyline going without it intertwining with the main storyline. I do wish that there was a better ending. But, unfortunately, that ending of that plotline was all too realistic.

The plotline with Mayra and the fire was interesting. There were so many twists and turns that I genuinely didn’t know how it was going to turn out. The author had me choosing between 3 people as to who set the fire and guess what; it was neither!! I did like how she wrapped that plotline up.

No Mercy cannot be read as a standalone book. It would be best if you read The Vanishing Season before reading this book. I can’t stress this enough.

The end of No Mercy was exciting. There was a small secondary storyline about Reed and his biological mother that was intertwined with one about a family DNA test, what Reed finds out at the end of the book set up for book three perfectly. I can’t wait to read it!!


I would give No Mercy an Adult rating. There are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread No Mercy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

4 thoughts on “No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway: Book 2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

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