Mercy Kill (Mercy Gunderson Series #2)

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Overview

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...

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Mercy Kill (Mercy Gunderson Series #2)

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423377573
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Series: Mercy Gunderson Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 2.81 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori Armstrong is the two-time winner of the Shamus Award given by the Private Eye Writers of America and a New York Times bestselling author of romantic fiction, written as Lorelei James. Her books have won the Willa Cather Literary Award and have been nominated for the High Plains Book Award and the Daphne du Maurier Award. She lives in western South Dakota. Visit her website at LoriArmstrong.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    super whodunit

    Late at night in South Dakota, former army sniper Mercy Gunderson steps outside of Clementine's bar where she works only to find the corpse of Major Jason "J-Hawk" Hawley. J-Hawk, who saved Mercy's life in Indonesia, was shot and stabbed.

    Mercy's boyfriend Eagle River County Sheriff Mason Dawson seems to perform a perfunctory investigation. Mercy decides she owes her buddy so she begins making inquiries. She uses J-Hawk's job as a spokesperson for Titan Oil on their controversial pipeline project as the starting point. However, Mercy begins to uncover some nasty stuff about her late hero that makes her wonder if she even knew J-Hawk. At the same time, FBI Indian County Special Crimes Unit Agent Shay Turnbull also investigates the homicide and the ties to Titan Oil.

    The sequel to No Mercy is a super whodunit as the former soldier refuses to believe the evidence that her hero did not live up to the image she has of him. The story line is fast-paced especially when the subplot focuses in the present. The speed decelerates somewhat when the story line concentrates on Mercy's military past; although that also enhances understanding of the heroine's motives and feelings with "the statue on the pedestal comes crumbling to the ground" (Blessed is the Rain by Brooklyn Bridge).

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Fun, but Mercy's a dingbat

    I enjoyed the first book thoroughly, enjoyed meeting the characters and seeing Mercy's challenges in her transition to a civilian life, but in this book...Mercy not suspecting that [redacted name] had killed [other redacted name] just makes her look stupid. Granted, she's really not a great investigator, but there wasn't just evidence, there were blinking, bright signs throughout. I liked a lot of parts throughout this book, but Mercy's blindness was annoying. Much as with Julie Collins, the beginning was great, but there's just too much deus ex machina for me to enjoy them long past their introductions.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Complex and Gritty Storyline

    Ex Army sniper, Mercy Gunderson's attempts at easing back into civilian life on her families South Dakota ranch aren't going well. To stay busy she takes on a job at the local bar, but her life gets turned upside down when her old friend and army buddy Jason Hawley comes to town. Hawley is with Titan Oil (a huge Canadian Oil Company) and there to convince the people of Eagle River County that running a pipeline through their ranches is a good idea. Needless to say, the ranchers want no part of Titan Oil or Jason Hawley.
    When Mercy finds Jason's lifeless body outside the bar one night, no one seems interested in investigating the murder, including the sheriff. Mercy knows she must track down Hawley's killer. But, as she unravels the mystery, she also uncovers a dark side to this South Dakota town.
    In Armstrong's latest novel, she paints such a descriptive picture that it feels like you are right there in South Dakota with Mercy. The story was strong, intense and gritty and Mercy, along with the other characters, is depicted as hard as the landscape.
    Armstrong writes a very complex and interwoven storyline that twists and turns where almost everyone has a motive. But, you won't know who did it 'til the very end. It was a wild ride!
    Reviewed by Catherine Peterson for Suspense Magazine

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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