From Publishers Weekly
This compelling if prosaically plotted saga of dysfunctional family life, racial tension and liberated-woman romance, the first in a new series from Shamus-finalist Armstrong (Blood Ties
), introduces Mercy Gunderson, a U.S. army sniper who's one-quarter Minneconjou Sioux. The discovery of a dead Indian boy on Mercy's late father's South Dakota ranch complicates her return home on medical leave. (Retinal detachment threatens her military career, while wet-work mission flashbacks disturb her sleep.) Then there's Sheriff Dawson, who, as Mercy admits after he snags her nephew for burglary, raised my hackles and my interest like no other man I'd crossed paths with in the last decade. Mercy is as tough as an old army boot, with a vocabulary and weapons proficiency to prove it, but she's always had it bad for cowboys. This soft spot, along with her racial identity crisis and a piled-on assortment of family-related guilt trips, leads to a contrived gee-whiz conclusion. (Jan.)
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Well, technically there is Mercy: Mercy Gunderson, the star of this first installment of a projected new series. Mercy is an army sniper, currently on medical leave back home in South Dakota, where she is trying to figure out what to do with the family ranch, now that her father has died. But she is soon distracted by the death of a young boy—or, more accurately, she is distracted by the local police’s apparent lack of interest in solving the crime. And when Mercy’s own nephew is murdered, she determines to get to the bottom of things. Armstrong, author of the popular Julie Collins private-eye series, has created a grittier character in Mercy Gunderson, a combat veteran who brings her unique skills into her private life. 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. --David Pitt