Author: Lori Armstrong
Series: Mercy Gunderson
Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (January 11, 2011)
Description: Former Black Ops army sniper Mercy Gunderson isn't adjusting well to the laid-back rhythm of civilian life on her family’s ranch in South Dakota. To fill her time, Mercy accepts a temporary bartending gig at a local watering hole. Yet her attempts to settle in back home are tested when Titan Oil, a Canadian company proposing to run an underground pipeline through Eagle River County, sends Jason Hawley, Mercy’s former army buddy, to the area to convince ranchers to get behind the project.
While local business owners support the pipeline, Hawley’s presence riles the landowners, and Mercy is torn. After ugly threats and multiple altercations escalate tensions in the county, Mercy discovers Hawley’s brutally mutilated body in the bar parking lot. When it appears Sheriff Dawson cares more about campaigning for reelection than investigating the case, Mercy vows to find Jason Hawley’s killer—even if she has to run against Dawson for sheriff to ensure justice is served.
But Mercy soon learns her former military pal had plenty of secrets. Her search for the truth brings unwanted exposure to the county’s dark side and risks deadly repercussions for the entire community.
My Thoughts: Mercy Gunderson is out of the service where she was a sniper in a covert ops team. She is back home in South Dakota and trying to figure out her next steps. She bartending and knows that isn't what she wants for her future. She also knows that running the ranch she and her sister inherited isn't it.
Mercy has gotten over the hard drinking she did when she first got home but she is still plagued with the nightmares and flashbacks that bring her military service back to her. She is also having a secret affair with the County Sheriff Mason Dawson.
When an old army buddy shows up working for the oil company that wants to lay a pipeline through the area, Mercy is torn between her old memories of the man who literally saved her life and her hatred for the idea of the pipeline. When the buddy is found dead outside the bar where Mercy works, she wants to know who killed him. When Dawson doesn't seem to be investigating, Mercy gets involved by deciding to run for sheriff opposite him.
The story is filled with action, old friends, drug dealing, and conspiracy theories and Mercy trying to make sense of it all. The story also shows a strong love for the South Dakota landscape and lifestyle. This is the second book in the series and I really have to read the first one to find out what I missed.
Mercy is a great character. She is a loner, probably suffering from PTSD, and in the middle of a life crisis. But she is also smart, loyal, and honorable. It was great to get to know her.
Probably everyone in the whole damn county was whispering about the crazy Gunderson woman.This one is from my TBR mountain. You can buy your copy here.
Probably they were right.