Saturday, March 5, 2016

Book Review: Merciless by Lori Armstrong

Author: Lori Armstrong
Series: Mercy Gunderson, Book 3
Publication: Touchstone; Original edition (January 8, 2013)

Description: Torn between her duties to the FBI and her need to keep her loved ones safe, former black-ops army sniper Mercy Gunderson must unleash the cold, dark, merciless killer inside her and become the predator . . . rather than the prey.

Newly minted agent Mercy Gunderson is back and ready for action— unfortunately, she’s stuck doing paperwork in an overheated government office building. But she gets more than she bargained for when she’s thrown into her first FBI murder case, working with the tribal police on the Eagle River Reservation, where the victim is the teenage niece of the recently elected tribal president. When another gruesome killing occurs during the early stages of the investigation, Mercy and fellow FBI agent Shay Turnbull are at odds about whether the crimes are connected.

Due to job confidentiality, Mercy can’t discuss her misgivings about the baffling cases with her boyfriend, Eagle River County sheriff Mason Dawson, and the couple’s home on the ranch descends into chaos when Dawson’s eleven-year-old son Lex is sent to live with them. While Mercy struggles to find a balance, hidden political agendas and old family vendettas turn ugly, masking motives and causing a rift among the tribal police, the tribal council, and the FBI. Soon, however, Mercy realizes that the deranged killer is still at large—and is playing a dangerous game with his sights set on Mercy as his next victim.

My Thoughts: Mercy Gunderson is getting used to her new job as a FBI special agent. She is also getting used to living with the sheriff Mason Dawson. Sometimes it is hard for both of them because they need to keep some parts of their job confidential from each other. Mercy's case has to do with a death on the Reservation. The niece of the Tribal Chairman has been killed in a pretty gruesome way. When Mercy starts to investigate tribal police records, she learns that there have been other suspicious deaths of women over the past few years. She goes to her contacts and family on the Reservation and finds some very conflicting information.

Her friend Rollie's live-in girlfriend is the second victim and many want to pin the murder on him. Mercy isn't buying it despite some circumstantial evidence. At home, her housekeeper and foster mother Sophie is also dealing with a daughter dying of cancer, a grandson who has visions that lead him to keep away from Mercy, and a son with big gambling debts. Mason also has to deal with his son coming to live with him and Mercy. His baby mama has had her hands full of the the eleven-year-old and is dumping him on Mason. That leads to one mixed up kid that Mercy isn't sure how to deal with.

The killer's third victim is Sophie's daughter - the one who was already dying of cancer. Mercy has her hands full investigating because she has a multitude of suspects. Is it someone who is in the loan sharking business? Is it the local drug lord? Is it her friend Rollie?

While she is still investigating, Mason is hurt in a charity bull riding event and put in a medically induced coma. This adds tons of stress but it also brings Mercy and Mason's son closer. I was completely surprised at the identity of the murderer and could totally understand Mercy's solution to the problem.

Fans of gritty mysteries with touch-as-nails heroines will enjoy the Mercy Gunderson series.

Favorite Quote:
When I'd snapped out of the haze following the death of my former army buddy Anna, a death in which I'd pulled the trigger, I realized I needed more out of my life than being a retired soldier, part-time rancher, and full-time drinker. Since my skill set had been honed behind the scope of my sniper rifle, there wasn't much in the way of career opportunities in western South Dakota. I was zero for tow on the attempted-career front; I'd made a lousy bartender and had lost when I ran for my dad's old job as Eagle River County Sheriff. When the FBI had set their sights on me, it'd been a boost to my ego&Mdash;although I'd never publicly admit that.
I bought this one on June 25, 2014. You can buy your copy here.

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