The Midnight Band of Mercy
Soho, Sept 2004, 25.00, 384 pp.
Max Greengrass is a stringer for the Herald getting paid by the column inch and he thinks he has the perfect story that will get him a permanent job as a Herald reporter. Someone is killing the stray cats in New York City in 1893 and leaving their bodies in a certain pattern beside particular buildings. He tracks the cat killings which are taking place all over the city to THE MIDNIGHT BAND OF MERCY who believe they are treating the starved, feral, and diseased felines in a humane way.
When Max goes to meet an informant who has information about the group he finds the man dead, a bullet destroying much of his head. One of the men who were in the bar where the meeting took place is later found in a barrel, cut up into pieces. Max is sure that there two people weren't killed over dead cats; he starts another investigation which takes him into the city's worst slums where he finds financial predators preying on the city's poor as a way of cutting the undesirables from the population.
THE MIDNIGHT BAND OF MERCY is a riveting historical crime thriller that captures the ambience of New York City during the gay nineties of the nineteenth century. The protagonist is a flawed but heroic figure who wants to right wrongs through his journalistic writings. What starts out as a simple human interest story turns into something so depraved and ugly that the hero is willing to risk his life to make sure his findings sees the light of day.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner