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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

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  • Stephanie
  • 08-02-17

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Manda
  • 05-02-17

i couldn't stop listening

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

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Philip
  • 25-01-17

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 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Polly Poizendem
  • 20-01-17

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan
  • 02-02-17

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 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • richwire
  • 29-01-17

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelly watley
  • 25-01-17

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • deborah
  • 24-01-17

Good true crime story

If you're a fan of this genre, then add this story to your library. Well written and great narration. I received this book at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cafurg
  • 24-01-17

A True Crime Story

What did you like about this audiobook?

This was an easy listen, moved quickly and smoothly.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

I could not understand how Dee Casteel allowed that guy to convince her get so deep into this mess.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

Kevin Pierce is an outstanding narrator.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Nothing wrong w/the narration. At all.

Do you have any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator for an unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 20-01-17

No Mercy

I always enjoy Gary Provost's True Crime novels and this was no different. The storyline was compelling and informative although a bit sympathetic to the main character - Dee. Written primarily from her perspective, I tried to understand her involvement and how she allowed herself to play such a large part in this murder for hire while seeing her role as insignificant all along. Dee's alcoholism seemed to be a key player, almost becoming a character of its own. Well written, also highlighting the inner workings of the judicial system and forcing you to ask questions of its inconsistencies.
Narration was excellent and did not disappoint. I am always pleased with Kevin Pierce, as he has narrated many of the True Crime works I've enjoyed.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. This did not impact my reviews or ratings in any way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful