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Meet the Angel of Mercy

Veterinarian Jim Briggs' dad was a devotee of Jack Kevorkian, M.D., known as the Doctor of Death. Dr. Kevorkian assisted 130 people in committing suicide over a decade. Eventually, he was jailed after admitting guilt in one death—his way of putting an exclamation point on his belief that people have a right to choose how and when they die.

After Kevorkian's death, a group of his followers, known as Jack's Angels, which included Briggs' dad, carried on the doctor's work, secretly giving people a pain-free death.

The young Briggs accompanied his father on two assisted suicide missions—events that left an indelible mark on the boy.

When he grew up and graduated from veterinary medical school in Portland, Oregon, Briggs moved to Chicago for an internship. During his six years as a surgeon in a canine emergency hospital, he provided free care to the dogs of people experiencing homelessness and assisted 10 of them in a pain-free death.

He was known among the residents of Lazy Acres, a Chicago homeless encampment, as the Angel of Mercy. A Chicago homicide cop had a different name for him: serial killer.

Angel of Mercy is a battle between these two views as both the detective and Briggs work separately to solve the murder of a homeless woman, who is a former New York Times best-selling author.

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