Title: Merciless by Lori Armstrong
Mercy Gunderson Mystery Book Three
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss
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.
Merciless,Lori Armstrong’s long-awaited and highly anticipated novel, is a suspenseful and engrossing mystery that fans of the Mercy Gunderson series are sure to love.
Mercy Gunderson’s first murder investigation as a Special Agent for the FBI hits close to home when Arlette Shooting Star, a teenager from the Eagle River Reservation, is found brutally murdered. Tribal politics and lack of co-operation between agencies quickly impedes the search for Arlette’s killer. Also hindering the investigation is senior FBI agent Shay Turnbull’s stubborn insistence that he knows who the killer is. With bodies piling up and her family’s lives in danger, Mercy relies on her gut instincts and her sharply honed military skills to track down the murderer before he strikes again.
Mercy’s personal and private life collide as she and Shay embark on their investigation. Long time family friends are suddenly avoiding her and longstanding family feuds are revealed. Mercy remains at odds with Shay when she uncovers information that a serial killer is possibly targeting women on the Eagle River Reservation.
Mercy’s rough edges might be a little more polished, but she is still the same gritty, hard as nails woman we have seen in the previous installments of the series. She is strong and independent, but at the same time, there is a hint of vulnerability to Mercy now that she has more of an emotional connection with her live in lover Mason Dawson. Mercy’s life and her relationship with Dawson are about to undergo a dramatic transformation when Dawson’s son, Lex, moves in with them.
Merciless is a fast-paced novel with a well executed and tightly woven plot. The investigation is quite interesting and provides a rather bleak, but realistic view of life on the reservation. Lori Armstrong’s descriptive writing brings South Dakota vibrantly to life and she fully captures the desolate beauty of the land and the spirit of those who inhabit it.
I highly recommend the Mercy Gunderson series to anyone who enjoys mysteries. The books can be read as standalone novels, but to fully understand the various characters and relationships, the books should be read in order.