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Mercy Seat

Once a renowned investigative journalist, Joe Donovan’s life fell apart when his six-year-old son disappeared without trace.  Now a virtual recluse, Donovan is abruptly thrust back into the limelight when a teenage boy makes contact, in desperate need of his help.
On the run for his life, Jamal has in his possession something that holds the key to Donovan’s past, a past that can only be unlocked by forcing him to make a terrifying journey into the present.
As long-buried secrets emerge and the bodies pile up, Donovan finds himself caught up in a harrowing web of fear.  In order to survive and uncover the disturbing truth at the heart of the dangerous world he’s found himself in, he puts together a team to help him, a team of outsiders that doesn’t care which side of the law it operates on.

And Donovan will surely need their help.  For he and Jamal are being hunted by a ruthless killer.  A killer with a 100% success rate.  A killer who doesn’t know the meaning of the word mercy.


“First in a series of hard-hitting contemporary crime thrillers…from one of the UK’s brightest new talents. Could prove a rival for Mark Billingham.”  Maxim Jakubowski, The Bookseller

“This is ultra-violent, brutal, hard-hitting stuff set against a backdrop of sordid Newcastle landscapes, very noir. The critics love him.”  The Bookseller preview

“The seriously hard-edged Mercy Seat will surely give the actor and writer the breakthrough he’s be due for several books now.”  Ladsmag Magazine
“From one of the country’s brightest crime writers comes THE MERCY SEAT – the first in a new series of hard-hitting crime thrillers from Newcastle born author Martyn Waites. The book houses an audacious energy and if you are in any way a fan of Ian Rankin or Stephen Boothe, this mesmerising effort will be right up your street.” Accent Magazine
“The leading light of a new generation of hard-hitting contemporary crime novelists has produced a cracking but bleak thriller. It’s about a man haunted by the disappearance of his son, and his eventual, harrowing steps to find out exactly what went on. Long buried secrets come brutally back to life … and death.” Daily Mirror, (Four Stars – A+ Entertainment)
“If you like gritty crime noir in the style of Ian Rankin, then this is the book for you. THE MERCY SEAT is a gripping (and sometimes gory) thriller following investigative journalist Joe Donovan, as he tries to get his life back together after a family tragedy. Local author Martyn Waites has produced a wonderfully paced thriller … this is a riveting whodunit that you really won’t be able to put down.” Lifestyle Magazine
“As John Harvey did for Nottingham and George Pelecanos does for Washington, D.C., Waites uses real places in a city he knows intimately to portray an underside even many residents wouldn’t recognize. Highly recommended for adult mystery collections.”  Library Journal US
“This is a very dark book, but one full of compassion and insights into the world without law, that co-exists with our own.  The terrific plot is bolstered by vivid characterisation and a three-dimensional landscape that makes this essential reading for 2006…If you miss The Mercy Seat, you’ve missed one of the most important crime novels of 2006.”  Ali Karim
“It’s a fantastic and rare moment: You can feel the author’s grip tightening, the emotions driving various characters weaving the plot into cohesion. But the important feature of Waites’ environment is that the reader can suspend disbelief and be carried along by the plot. And, as in the very best crime fiction, one can “learn” something on the journey…I’m glad that Joe Donovan will return in a sequel Bone Machine, next year.” The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A beautifully written and constructed thriller that courageously avoids using sentimentality to balance despair…Raw violence explodes on almost every page and there are some artfully awful villains. But what readers are likely to take away from this potent first of a new series is the resilient power of Donovan’s feelings.” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“The poignant hero, no superman but an honourable and righteous figure, is scheduled to be featured in another novel next year, and I’m looking forward to it already. The skilful dialogue, at such perfect pitch that you can almost hear it…with the new crop of British crime writers, it’s hard to tell which is darker and more horrific – their cities or their brains.” Otto Penzler, The New York Sun
“Waites’s sixth, the first to be published in the US, crosses the pond dripping noir…Waites delivers the answers in that blend of hyper-prose and staccato-speak that’s the lingua franca of neo-noir.” Kirkus Reviews
“In a tale that won’t spare the details, however savage or meticulous, THE MERCY SEAT (Pegasus Books, $25) introduces British novelist Martyn Waites…Waites’s staccato prose drives the action with white-knuckle suspense, making for a breathless read that entices from page one. Set in the seedy underbelly of modern Newcastle, England, a playground for crooked cops, jewel-toothed assassins, drug-addled rent boys, their grotesque pimps and closeted jacks, THE MERCY SEAT is a portrait of filth, fear, and frenzy, unrelenting in its delivery and unapologetic for its raw-edged depiction of crime and corruption.” Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
“This is a novel which announces the advent of a new protagonist for Martyn Waites. If The Mercy Seat is anything to go by, then we are all in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride! The pace is fast and the book starts with someone being tortured, which is uncomfortable to say the least…” click here to read the rest of the review