Killing Innocence

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
414 Pages
Reviewed on 01/11/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Killing Innocence is a work of fiction in the murder mystery and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to the adult reading audience and was penned by author Merit Clark. Written as the second novel in the Jack Fariel Denver Mysteries series, we are back with our homicide detective as he explores the grisly world of human trafficking. When a single body discarded in a snowstorm leads Jack to uncover the first threads of a huge international criminal network, he becomes the target of a remorseless killer. But Jack is determined to help the young women whose futures have been stolen by the trafficking ring, even if means a severe risk to his own life.

Author Merit Clark has crafted a superb work of mystery and detective fiction with plenty of clever twists and exciting plot points for fans of the genre to follow. One of the features I found particularly interesting about the work was its sense of timing, pace, and tension, which combines the use of excellent dialogue and atmospheric scene descriptions to create some really hair-raising moments. The storyline breeds excitement as it always feels like things could turn in a moment, but Clark writes with such confidence and smooth prose that you know you’re always in safe hands. The work crosses over the gritty and cozy genres really well to produce a read that all kinds of mystery fans are sure to love. Overall, I’d certainly recommend Killing Innocence for fans of the existing series and newcomers seeking an excellent new detective series to follow.

Viga Boland

Killing Innocence by Merit Clark…if the author will forgive the pun…truly merits your attention. This fictional account of sex trafficking has one of the most complex and well-developed plots on this subject that I have ever read. It also has some of the nastiest characters committing crimes against young women, some still children, for the most unexpected reasons i.e. not every offender or murderer who is killing innocents is doing it just for money. Take the most riveting female character in the story: Ruth. A beautiful, commanding, man-hating “ice” queen, her motivations for being involved in trafficking will almost make you feel sorry for her. Almost but not quite. Her wealthy husband, Ken, is simply revolting in his justification for abusing young virgins. Throw into this deadly mix of predators a fanatically religious pimp who takes care of the beginnings and endings of young lives. And oh, we must not forget the one character who is motivated by money; the pastor.

Following Detective Jack Fariel trying to unravel the connections between these four perpetrators is as challenging for the reader as it is for Jack. Each time you think you know who is pulling the strings on these young women’s lives, something changes your mind and you keep brainstorming the clues. Merit Clark feeds us bits and pieces without giving too much away until she’s ready. As a result, suspense is on a steady incline throughout. Dialogue is brisk; emotional engagement and tension are high; chapters are relatively short, and before you know it, you’ve read over 400 pages of a rather unforgettable story about a very important, heinous, and as yet, unstoppable crime. Aside from the rather mind-blowing plot, what I learned about Muslim traditions was fascinating. Being enlightened and not just frightened when reading a mystery murder is both unique and refreshing. Thanks for the insights, Merit Clark. Loved it!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Killing Innocence by Merit Clark is a murder mystery and the second book in the Jack Fariel Denver Mystery series. A snowstorm has hit town but Detective Fariel has to get to a crime scene where a young woman has been murdered and dumped. The eventual identification of the victim leads Fariel to discover a human trafficking ring tied to the Middle East. The victim had worked for Ken and Ruth Harrowsmith, prominent people in Denver’s business circles, and it doesn’t take the police long to uncover the trafficking angle, not just by the Harrowsmiths, but other members of the Stoney Gate Church too. Looking into other young girls who worked for the Harrowsmiths, they discover the girls are all migrants, no documents, all missing. An attack and another body put Fariel and his colleagues on a collision course with the traffickers and the closer Fariel gets to the truth, the more danger he is in. He won’t let the girls down, though, and vows to do everything to stop the traffickers, no matter what the personal cost is.

Killing Innocence by Merit Clark is a complex story with several plotlines, all weaved deftly together to create a hard-hitting story covering human trafficking, a subject so many people turn a blind eye to, refusing to admit it happens. Merit Clark has dealt with the subject with compassion and respect while not hiding the horrors of it and this may make for uncomfortable reading for some. This is a gritty tale of suspense, packed with action in a well-paced plot. The characters are as complex as the story, with some truly nasty ones committing awful crimes, crimes that are unfortunately only too real. That’s how this story reads – a detective novel with undertones of reality that make it feel as though you could, at times, be reading a true-life account. This is the ideal story for those who like tough detective stories and anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone.