Saturday, January 14, 2017

ARC Review: A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

A Merciful Death
Author: Kendra Elliot
Series: Mercy Kilpatrick (Book 1)
Publication: Montlake Romance (January 17, 2017)

Description: FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout…

My Thoughts: FBI Agent Mercy Kilpatrick returns to the small town where she grew up after a fifteen year absence when she is assigned to a case that may have a link with domestic terrorism. Someone is killing elderly preppers and stealing their gun collections. The new police chief, an import from San Jose who used to spend summers there, is the nephew of one of the victims. He definitely wants the cases solved and is happy that the FBI, with their vast resources, has come to assist.

We gradually learn about Mercy's backstory as this story unfolds. She was raised to be a prepper -- someone who is stockpiling resources for the inevitable collapse of society. She left because of some unknown tragedy that led her parents to shun her. She has had no communication with her parents or her sisters or brothers since. In fact, when she stopped in to get some coffee at a new coffee shop she was surprised to see her that her brother and her niece owned it. Neither acknowledged each other during the awkward encounter.

We also learn about small town politics as we see the rivalry between Mercy's father and an influential local rancher who wants Mercy's family as a part of his community. After still another elderly prepper is murdered, Mercy notices a frightening connection to a couple of murders that happened shortly before she first left town. Every mirror in the victims' houses has been shattered. This brings up a connection to earlier crimes that comes very close to exposing the secret the led to her getting out of town.

She and Truman Daly, the police chief, get close as they investigate the new and old crimes. He first admires her intelligence and focus but that just leads him to want to know more about her. He is the first to consider a relationship with her. Between her investigation, her guilt over past events, and her current relationship, or lack of one, with her family, it takes Mercy much longer to appreciate Truman.

This was an excellent mystery. I really liked both Mercy and Truman. Since this story introduces new characters, I hope more adventures are planned for Mercy and Truman.

Favorite Quote:
"How do you know this?"

She shrugged. "Everyone knew. It's a small town. People started locking their doors at night."

"And the break-ins just stopped?"

"Yes." Sort of.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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