In The Merciful (Haywire Books, 2021) by Jon Sealy nineteen-year-old Samantha James is killed while riding her bike home from work in a small coastal town one dark summer night in South Carolina. It’s a hit and run, and when they learn who did it, the townspeople want Daniel Hayward, the alleged driver, to pay for his crime. The headlines are compelling, but the truth is unclear. Everyone has an opinion – the media, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Daniel, and Samantha’s family. Delving into each of the characters, the author pauses to reflect on culture, social pressures, family, and history. Ultimately, The Merciful is a morality play about one moment, one accident, one decision, and the way an instant can change the course of a life forever.
Jon Sealy is the author of The Whiskey Baron, The Edge of America, and The Merciful, as well as the craft book So You Want to Be a Novelist. An upstate South Carolina native, he has a degree in English from the College of Charleston and an MFA in fiction writing from Purdue University. He currently lives with his family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, where he is the publisher of Haywire Books. When he’s not writing or editing, you’ll probably find him lifting weights in his garage, playing “swing monster” with his kids, or rafting on a river.