I bought this edition -- the first three books in this series -- on a whim, figuring it would be something quick and fun to read between other books. I was a bit worried that it was going to be a Laurel K. Hamilton knock-off, . Though it is certainly in the same vein (ha!) of Hamilton and Kelley Armstrong, et al., I think it's certainly strong enough to stand on its own. Where it diverges from Hamilton the most is that it's not an orgy. I know that's going to disappoint some of you, and I'm not saying it doesn't have its fair share of sexual tension. But it's more realistic with it. Briggs doesn’t go overboard describing the “beefcakes” the way some authors (ahem, Hamilton) do; they are there, but you can flesh them out to your tastes, which is a good choice on Briggs’ part. The Anita Blake books are brief periods of fighting, zombie raising and sleuthing in between bizarre sexual and quasi-sexual encounters, and entertaining as that may be, sometimes it's just too much. With Mercy, you have a strong female lead who is independent almost to a fault. She doesn’t let people push her around, she’s strong and she’s smart, and she doesn’t know when to give up, which is fabulous in a series like this. The paranormal elements in the books are believable and not over done, and have elements of real world nature in them. Briggs did her homework, thought out the world, and it shows. I think that she was smart, too, in not keeping her paranormal characters too much in their own world. The fae have “come out” to the public a decade before the story begins, the werewolves are on the verge of coming out, and though the vampires have no plans of coming out, that’s not surprising, as they eat people. The struggles of the paranormal community to be accepted rather than feared and attacked by the human world is realistic as it mirrors humans’ own very real civil rights struggles; the addition of werewolf Warren and his lover, Kyle, adds a nice layer, as it links the two struggles and shows tension among the werewolves, too. Like real life, even those who are targets of bigotry themselves can be bigots themselves. Briggs makes great layered choices, adding depth and realism to bolster her stories.Certainly an author to watch.