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Publisher's Summary

On any Sunday morning in the Florida Redlands, Dee Casteel might have served you pancakes at the IHOP.

She was a hard-working, cheerful waitress, one of the nicest people you'd ever want to know. She was also a three-bottle-a-day alcoholic, hopelessly in love with the IHOP's manager, Allen Bryant. Bryant wanted his live-in lover, IHOP owner Art Venecia, dead. And Dee Casteel helped him to arrange it.

After Venecia's murder, Dee and Bryant moved into his house, forged checks, spent his money, and embezzled from the IHOP to buy gifts for Bryant's boyfriends. But there was an even more gruesome killing to come.

Without Mercy is an engrossing, bizarre true story that traces the twisted path to a loathsome crime. But it is also the story of middle-class citizens gone wrong, of an almost-perfect murder, the traumas of alcoholism, and a legal system that can be deadly in itself. Dee Casteel was an ordinary woman - who now stands convicted of one of the most cold-blooded crimes of this century.

©1989 Gail Stockwell (P)2017 David N. Wilson

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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A more human, compelling narrative.

Kevin Pierce provides his avuncular and gravelly narrative to another True Crime novel. He's personally my favorite narrator for this genre, because his readings lack arrogance and seem to strive for understanding.

Gary Provost's Without Mercy is a slight twist on the TC formula, as he travels with those involved in the crimes more than the victims, and tries to piece together how their vile and/or tragic actions came into being, allowing the reader a wide angle from which to judge the scene. This books is just different enough that it's insightful, and while I can't call it a genre busting classic, it is definitely a good book and worth a read.

I was provided a free review copy of this work.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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I Thoroughly Enjoyed This Book

Would you listen to Without Mercy again? Why?

I absolutely would. The writing was excellent. It flowed seamlessly, and felt as if it was someone just speaking. Many times with books, I find that the writing is distinctly separated from the story. It's very hard to explain, but Gary Provost has a style of writing that feels totally natural and allows you to place yourself *into* the story; as if you are standing right beside the characters, and not observing from the outside. It sucks you into the world of the story, and that is always an indicator of an excellent book.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Besides the writing, which draws you in without you even noticing, what I found most compelling was the story of a woman who found herself a key player in 2 murders. At the end of the book, I was conflicted in my feelings towards her. It's much easier to judge someone when you don't know what they've been through and what led them to make the choices they made. At the same time, she clearly made decisions that resulted in the deaths of 2 people and deserved to be punished. So at the end of the book, you ask yourself "was justice served?" I personally think it was, but part of me still felt sorry for her, and then I felt bad for feeling sorry for her. I like books that leave me conflicted. That means they have made me feel something.

What about Kevin Pierce’s performance did you like?

Kevin Pierce, as always, nailed the performance. I very much enjoy his narrations. He has a pleasant voice to listen to and uses pauses and inflection to enhance his performance. He also (Thank God) takes the time to learn how to pronounce names of people and places correctly, which I didn't know could be an issue until I heard another narrator slaughter all sorts of names in a very well-know and public true-crime case book. So now I have a whole new level of appreciation for narrators who pronounce words correctly. I don't hesitate to download any book narrated by Kevin Pierce.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It didn't make me laugh or cry, but it did leave me with mixed emotions, and that's rare for me with a true-crime book. I am not sure if that was the author's intention, but it was because of his thorough portrayal of Dee. He was able to write her in such a way that made her so identifiable. She wasn't a cold-blooded monster, and that made what she did hard to come to terms with. I was quite impressed with the impact this book had on my emotions. I didn't expect to get as involved as I did.

Any additional comments?

I received this book free of charge from the narrator in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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i couldn't stop listening

This was a very interesting story. The way the author wrote the story was perfect!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Entringing True Crime !!!

If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read/listen to this book. I can’t wait to read the next book by this author. Once I started listening to this book, I didn’t want to stop until the end. “I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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GREAT book within the True Crime genre

Without Mercy is one of the best True Crime stories I've listened to in awhile.

It was very intresting to hear how a seemingly everyday blue collar woman found herself wrapped up in such a bizzare murder plot.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the AMAZING narration from Kevin Pierce. He nails it every time!

I would recommend this book for any fan of the True Crime genre!


I was voluntarily provides this free review copy by the author, narrator, or publisher.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Wasted Lives

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. This is very sad story about murder. I felt as much compassion for Dee as I did for the victims. The story moves quickly with in depth character development that adds greatly to the story and the reasons for the actions by the main character, Dee Casteel.

What did you like best about this story?

It gave new insight into the tragedy of alcoholism and the way in which it can totally change a persons personality and moral decisions. It brings down barriers that affect judgment and lead to horrors. This is what makes the main character, in my opinion, deserving of understanding and compassion. Her final plea to her daughter, Susan, to tell the truth and thereby seal Dee's fate shows the changes in Dee after her abstinence from alcohol during her time in jail prior to her sentencing.

What does Kevin Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Kevin Pierce is a very accomplished narrator. He gives feeling to the stories he narrates without being over emotional or theatrical. Pierce is engaging and definitely adds to the story telling.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, however it took me two sittings because of work. I will more than likely listen to this again

Any additional comments?

This audible book was generously given to me at no cost for my candid and unbiased review.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • bebe
  • South Carolina
  • 05-26-17

No pity for killers

Any additional comments?

The book is well written and extremely interesting It is a story of the boyfriend of an IHOP owner, and one of the waitresses, hiring hit men to kill the owner. Reason, the boyfriend, who lives off the owner, wants to be with another man. He asks one of the waitresses at the IHOP if she knew someone who would do a hit. She does and the boyfriend and waitress cook up the murder. When the mother of the murdered man begins to ask for her son, the duo get the hit men to go kill her too. Of course they get caught. It is a totally fascinating story, and also well read by the Master narrator, Kevin Pierce. I listened in one sitting.<br/><br/>Now my big complaint. The author seems to be very sympathetic to the female killer and seems to excuse her for the murders. First is, "my daddy said something mean to me one time", then "my Mama and my Grandmama did not want me", and then "it was the alcohol that I drank non stop every day that caused it". She claims that she did not really think there was going to be a murder of the IHOP owner even though she personally contacted the killers and paid them the money to kill the guy. She claims she was surprised that there was a murder. She excuses the murder of the mother, for which she also personally contacted and paid the hit men, because the woman was very old and probably would not live much longer. She also claims she ordered the hit men to kill her without pain, as if that makes it okay. <br/><br/> In my opinion the woman was a cold blooded killer and felt important because she was dealing with the hit men and the boyfriend was giving her benefits at IHOP in the way of a promotion, etc. I have no pity for her. I do feel sorry for her two sons but not so much for her daughter. The book was still very interesting despite my distaste for the author trying to romanticize the woman killer.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Very well-written book with excellent narration

What did you love best about Without Mercy?

This was a very interesting book that gave good details to allow the reader/listener to get an inside look at how Dee got herself sucked right into these murders.

Which character – as performed by Kevin Pierce – was your favorite?

This was not a book that required Kevin to perform characters. However, Kevin was an excellent narrator for this book. I would definitely listen to other books narrated by him.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Several times I got angry at Dee, rolled my eyes at her, shook my head etc. and could not believe she was doing all the crazy things she did.

Any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the <br/>author, narrator, or publisher. <br/>

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Pancakes and Scotch To Go, Please...


As I listened, I felt as though this really could have happened almost anywhere, in any small town (where there's an IHOP, Lol), when the right combination of troubled personalities come together. Dee, an alcoholic waitress, was easily manipulated by the devious young gay IHOP manager that she became infatuated with, thus was very eager to please him.

She was more than willing to do cover-up favors for Allen related to his ongoing money and love drama problems. It was hard for her to resist his charms AND the liquor he often provided her with as well. Her main goal was to impress him and prove just how devoted she was, hoping she could "win him over" and that he would romantically turn to her. HE was just wanting someone ELSE to do all his dirty work. Well, as we all know, one thing quickly leads to another - and sure enough, this ball gets rolling pretty fast!!

Dee soon becomes his "right hand" woman, cleaning up after the numerous disasters left in his wake, while he recklessly goes on living "da vida loca" with his party friends and new lover (NOT Dee)... and continuing to rob the IHOP till daily to support his lifestyle. The only thing left that stands in his way however, is his clueless long term live-in boyfriend, the owner of the IHOP. According to Allen's plans, that's a small problem yet to be remedied which will also open the door to financial gain as well. And who is he gonna get to help him with that? Dee, of course. She firmly believes that lending him a hand to get out of a jam is not something she will ever get in trouble for, since SHE is not actually doing any of these crimes herself. Her blind willingness to help him makes this story even more interesting - reminds me of that phrase "Real Friends Help You Bury The Body". Or in this case two...

I really really got sucked into this story! I still cant believe how much they (initially) got away with! Sprinkle in some bits of Santeria, AND being stalked by a victims cat out for revenge - who says that truth can't possibly be stranger than fiction? Omg. Some of the many *awkward nervous situations* described made me chuckle. I WILL listen to this one again. Yep. Loved it!!

I thought this story was very well written. The narration was wonderful as I already knew it would be. Kevin Pierce adds that "Modern Day Dragnet" appeal with his delivery that is SO perfect for this genre. Thank You for taking me on this wild ride at the IHOP! It was great! :-)

(I was provided this audiobook via publisher/author/narrator at no cost in exchange for an honest review)

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fast-paced story, felt like I was there.

I really liked this story because it didn't focus on the court case but the actual crimes themselves. At times I thought it was a bit sympathetic to Dee Casteel, when in reality she was just as evil as the others involved. Very well written and Kevin Pierce's performance brings the characters to life. Highly recommended.

“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Moimeme
  • 08-21-17

Well narrated, personalised

The writer at times veers toward second person; it's rare and insightful to hear a story from the perspective of what might have taken place in the victim's mind as they were attacked. Good length, empathetic yet objective. Overall, solidly done