Zakk reviews “Mercy House” by Adam Cesare. 259 pages published by Hydra (Random House LLC).
Overall Score: 4.5/5
“This was a house of death, a nice one with decent food, but nobody came to Mercy House to get better.”
A strange occurrence is effecting the residents of Mercy House, an upscale elderly home/ hospice. The cause is unknown but the effect is a renewed vitality, vigor and savagery amongst the elderly population. Pitting staff and visitors against brutal and factions of seniors no longer held prisoner by their withering bodies.
Welcome to Mercy House.
“There was an hour or so there where Fredrick Dane thought that not dipping back into his pockets and getting high would allow him to be the hero. A bit of a hard-nosed hero, maybe. He styled himself a realist hero for an unrealistic calamity.
But then the physical therapist had to go and get his hand mangled while engaging in some real, comic book heroism.”
Mercy House, my second Adam Cesare ride, is a vicious and entertaining read. It’s brutal, in the best of ways. You get a very nice almost intimate set up to the location and characters and a great introduction to our main characters as Don & Nikki transport Harriet, Don’s mother and Mercy House’s newest resident to her new home. Right before all hell breaks loose.
When the bottom drops out, events escalate quickly, with plenty of bloodshed. You get plenty of dark and visceral encounters between the effected (infected?) and the regular folk, and if gore is your thing this is going to ring your bell. The welcoming dinner had me amped up and all shades of excited.
I also really dug how the elderly residents, after the initial revert to primal savages, began to branch off into their different factions, social classes. This made for a neat dynamic and further depth from the senior character set. I was expecting, devolution, violence, go! And I got that, then I got the buzzaro William Golding “Lord of the Flies” segregation of factions, each trying to control their place in the home while trying to eviscerate the younger, unchanged staff and family members.
I had a blast with all of the cast here. With my favorite overall character arc was that of Harriet, starting with her looming abandonment and shifting to her thirst for revenge. She was a three dimensional character the hit all across the emotional spectrum.
And experiencing the ferocious story play out is simply a guilty pleasure. It’s a ride that I would gladly take again in the future.
The only drawback that I can see is that If you need closure, an explanation of the how’s and why’s these events are occurring, how far spread the effects branch out, you may be disappointed. It didn’t bother me at all. While there are nuanced clues, there is no big reveal as to the exact cause of the epidemic. Which makes sense. You are living this sudden event along with the characters, in their time and in one location, and we only know what they know. And that is how to kill, how to survive, or how to fall apart. Which will you be?
“Lives were narratives, most times fictions where the people living them were both the authors and the sole audience.”
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
*Note: I received and read a review copy. These are my honest feelings.