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Merciless: A Mystery Paperback – January 8, 2013

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Merciless: A Mystery + Mercy Kill: A Mystery (Mercy Gunderson) + No Mercy: A Mercy Gunderson Mystery
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451625367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451625363
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her first two books (No Mercy, 2010, and Mercy Kill, 2011), Mercy Gunderson, a U.S. Army sniper, returned home to South Dakota, took over the family farm, went toe-to-toe with the local sheriff, and solved a couple of mysteries. Now she’s an FBI special agent working her first case, investigating the death of the niece of the Eagle River Reservation’s newly installed tribal president. As expected (at least by readers of the previous two Gunderson novels), Mercy jumps in with both feet, soon coming to the realization that there’s only one way to catch this killer: hunt him down. The novel, like Mercy herself, is two-fisted and hard-edged, with an affable demeanor that hides a chilling darkness. We can’t help liking Mercy, even though she has some seriously troubling aspects to her, and Armstrong, who also writes the gentler Julie Collins mysteries, is a deft plotter, keeping Mercy (and the reader) in the dark until she’s ready to pull the curtain and let the light in. Another solid entry in this promising new series. --David Pitt


“People always ask me what I read and I tell them Lori Armstrong. There comes a point when I need to read her like I need a shot of whiskey at the end of a hard day; Lori’s writing is like that, unforgiving and deeply satisfying.” (Craig Johnson, author of The Cold Dish and The Dark Horse)

“Mercy is one of the best female characters around, and you can quote me on that.” (Lisa Gardner, author of Love You More and Live To Tell)

“Mercy Gunderson shoots straight onto the list of my favorite heroines. A master of snappy dialogue and twisting plots, Lori Armstrong proves again why she is an award-winning author. [Her books are] a hard-edged, fast-paced, no-holds-barred roller coaster ride.” (Allison Brennan, author of Original Sin and Fatal Secrets)

“[Armstrong] has created a grittier character in Mercy Gunderson.…Fans of the Collins mysteries should embrace this new novel with open arms, but the author could pick up some new readers, too, on the strength of this new heroine.” (Booklist)

“[A] smartly written, high-velocity tale.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Mercy Gunderson [is] a complicated and fascinating character whose presence in modern novels is way overdue.” (USA Today)

“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))

More About the Author

Lori Armstrong is a fourth generation South Dakotan. She left the firearms industry in 2000 to pursue her dream of writing crime/mystery fiction. The first book in the Julie Collins mystery series, BLOOD TIES was nominated for a 2005 Shamus Award for Best First Novel by Private Eye Writers of America. HALLOWED GROUND was nominated for a 2006 Shamus Award and won the 2007 WILLA Cather Literary Award. SHALLOW GRAVE was nominated for a 2008 High Plains Book Award and was a finalist for the 2008 WILLA Cather Literary Award. The 4th book in this series, SNOW BLIND, won the 2008 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original.

The first book in the Mercy Gunderson mystery series, NO MERCY, won the 2010 Shamus for Best Hardcover Novel and was a finalist for the WILLA Cather Literary Award. MERCY KILL, the second book in the series was released 1-11-11 from Touchstone(Simon and Schuster)

MERCILESS, book 3 in the Mercy Gunderson series, will release Jan. 8th 2013 - and check out the short story free read SILENT MERCY on Dec. 4th 2012

Lori lives in Rapid City, South Dakota.

For more info visit the website:

If you like your stories with more romance and steam, check out Lori Armstrong's alter ego ~ she also writes contemporary erotic western romances as Lorelei James ~

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 48 customer reviews
And this book keeps you guessing to the very last page!
There is also good character development and a well told and timely story.
michael a. draper
Merciless was the third book in the series and I've read them in order.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I have to say this is one of the harder reviews I have had to write, because Lori has truly outdone herself with this one!! I have to fight myself from going supper fan girl on this one! This series gets better and better with each book!! Like with the others this one got a hand hold on me, and I couldn't put it down till I was finished with it. I just really really LOVE Mercy!!!

So far the FBI hasn't lived up to the unrealistic expectations brought on by watching The X Files, and the endless lectures are getting old. Mercy may regret complaining about that though with her first case. Women are being killed around the reservation and town, and they are looking to be connected. When she tries convincing the higher ups in her office about her gut feelings in this case she ends up with grunt, and kinda puts herself at odds with fellow agent Shay Turnbull.

While her work life is kinda crazy things at home are actually going great for her. Living with her boyfriend, Sheriff Mason Dawson is going great. They have found a way to coexist, by keeping their home and work lives separate. A wrinkle does get thrown at them when Mason's eleven year old son, Lex comes to live with them. You get to see a deeper yet softer side of Mercy as she truly adjusts to her new life, but you can guarantee she still has all her rough edges we love when those she loves are threatened.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book in the Mercy series!! I find with this one we get to know Mercy on a much deeper level as she opens up more, and fights her ingrained training that would normally have her closing herself off. The relationship with Mason is truly steamy and downright truly romantic, because he understands that she isn't your typical woman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By michael a. draper VINE VOICE on January 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
Mercy Gunderson joined the FBI with images of the X-Files as her image.

She sits through unexciting briefings but then is given her first FBI murder case. She's working with the tribal police in the Eagle River Reservation. The victim is the teenage daughter of the tribal president.

Then, another killing takes place and Mercy and her FBI handler, Shay Turnbull have different points of view about the possibility of the two killings being related.

Mercy's boyfriend is Eagle River County Sheriff Mason Dawson but she can't discuss the case with him due to confidentiality.

Lori Armstrong does a good job in describing the job difficulties that Mercy faces. There is also good character development and a well told and timely story.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Branfield TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
Former Army sniper Mercy Gunderson recently became an FBI special agent. Mercy struggles to adjust to the boring training in Rapid City for new law enforcement officials and as a civilian with her love-in ranch boyfriend Eagle River County Sheriff Mason Dawson and being legally recognized as a Minneconjou Sioux tribesman due to her one-fourth blood but not accepted as a member. Adding to her chaos is his tweener son Lex who was exiled to live with them.

Mercy and her partner Shay Turnbull investigate the murder of teenage Arlette Shooting Star, the Eagle River Reservation tribal president's niece. She was found naked with a staked protruding in her heart. When she challenges tribal leaders and FBI superior officers, Mercy is exiled to researching tribal archives; where she finds cold case evidence of a probable serial killer. Unbeknownst to her, this psychopath targets Mercy as the next victim.

The third Mercy Gunderson investigative thriller is a strong entry as the protagonist, used to making her own rules on a case (see Mercy Kill and No Mercy), finds she is hampered by bureaucratic officialdom. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with action as the audience anticipates a showdown between a predatory maniac and a diligent law enforcement operative.

Harriet Klausner
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