In Armstrong's sharp second mystery to feature former army sniper Mercy Gunderson (after 2010's No Mercy), Mercy stumbles late one night on the shot and slashed body of Maj. Jason "J-Hawk" Hawley, who once saved her life in Indonesia, outside Clementine's, the bar where she's been stuck for months in a dead-end temporary job. When her boyfriend, Eagle River County (S.Dak.) sheriff Mason Dawson, doesn't do enough to investigate, Mercy goes into action. Concerned that J-Hawk's murder may have been related to his job as a front man for Titan Oil's controversial project to run a pipeline through the county, Mercy uncovers some disturbing information about her old army buddy. While the flashbacks to Mercy's military career slow the action in places, an intriguing new character, FBI agent Shay Turnbull of the Indian County Special Crimes Unit, will leave readers eager to see how their relationship plays out in the next installment. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“With a gutsy heroine, sharp humor, and a strong sense of place, Armstrong has created a winning series. The female veteran perspective is particularly fresh—not unlike a young V.I. Warshawski gone rural. Craig Johnson and C.J. Box fans should like it, too. Highly recommended” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Another surprisingly twisted tale leads readers into a thicket of relative good and evil.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Sharp…an intriguing new character, FBI agent Shay Turnbull of the Indian County Special Crimes Unit, will leave readers eager to see how their relationship plays out in the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly
“This is a harsh tale filled with hard people but, like the South Dakota landscape, it’s compelling and difficult to walk away from without being changed.” —RT Magazine
“[A] tough-mouth novel…[readers] will enjoy Mercy—tough, funny, and hardly a girl in a guy suit.” —Booklist
Ex-Army Ranger Mercy Gunderson owes her life to Jason Hawley, and when he is murdered on her watch, her hair-trigger reaction launches this briskly paced, immensely satisfying mystery. Both had been struggling with postmilitary adjustment to civilian life. Jason worked for the hated oil company that wants to build a pipeline through Mercy's South Dakota county, while she tends bar, worries about the family ranch, and carries on a clandestine affair with Sheriff Dawson. Angered by the sheriff's seeming indifference to the case, Mercy decides to run against him in the upcoming election, using the ruse of campaigning to sniff out potential murder suspects. Add to this volatile mixture the arrival of Mercy's Army buddy Anna, who just happened to be Jason's lover. All signs point toward the drug-dealing element on the nearby Indian reservation, but Mercy learns more about her beloved home—and herself—than she expected on this mission. Verdict With a gutsy heroine, sharp humor, and a strong sense of place, Armstrong has created a winning series (No Mercy). The female veteran perspective is particularly fresh—not unlike a young V.I. Warshawski gone rural. Craig Johnson and C.J. Box fans should like it, too. Highly recommended.—Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., Fairfield, CA
A former sniper can't settle down to South Dakota life without stirring up trouble. The military didn't prepare Mercy Gunderson (No Mercy, 2010, etc.) for life back home.
Instead of battling Iraqis, the vet is stuck as a bartender/bouncer in her old friend John-John's local spot, Clementine's. And in spite of the fact that she's hooked up with Sheriff Mason Dawson, the man her late father hand-picked as his replacement, Mercy still can't help but get involved in investigating local crime. This time, it's the murder of her Army buddy Jason "J-Hawk" Hawley, which Dawson insists was a mugging gone wrong. Not only does Mercy have a personal connection to J-Hawk, her old friend Anna "A-Rod" Rodriguez's former lover, but she's forever indebted to him for that one crazy night where he ended up saving her life. Seems to Mercy the least she can do is repay the favor by investigating his death. But her adversaries aren't limited to J-Hawk's former employer, the unpopular Titan Oil, or locals from off the reservation. Mercy is dealing with her own demons in the form of a bottle of Jack Daniel's. Things only get more complicated when town locals encourage Mercy to run against Dawson for the sheriff's job while the poor vet is still learning the ropes of her family's farm. Her hapless sister Hope is no help, too caught up in her new baby, Joy, to offer assistance.
Another surprisingly twisted tale leads readers into a thicket of relative good and evil.