By Lisa Reardon (2004)
Lisa Reardon is known as the queen of redneck noir and Mercy Killers is actually the second novel of her’s that I’ve read – Billy Dead being the first – and, like Billy Dead, it’s no cake walk. The world she creates is a grim one rife with abuse, death, drugs, poverty, alcoholism and hopelessness around every corner.
The time is the late sixties and the novel follows a group of trashy friends from early tragedy to the Vietnam years. Some of them go into combat, none come back the same. I won’t give too much of the plot away but, suffice to say, bad things happen to bad people.
What makes the book so readable (albeit depressing) is Reardon’s voice, which somehow makes the characters compelling and sympathetic or, if not exactly sympathetic, at least understandable in their rottenness. After doing some research on the author after finishing the book, I may have figured out why she’s so in tune with the sordid world she depicts!
Just a few months ago, Reardon was jailed for attempting to murder her father with a shotgun. He survived the attack, a fact that prompted her to say “I just cannot believe I missed. I will never get another chance.” Read the full article here.