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4.4 out of 5 stars
No Mercy: A Mystery
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 28, 2010
Mercy Gunderson has returned home to her family's ranch in South Dakota. She receives quite the welcome home when a dead body is found on the ranch. The body is a relative. It seems no one really has an interest or they aren't speaking up about the body. It is up to Mercy to find out why there is a dead body on her ranch. It is going to be a shoot um up time.

No Mercy is book one in a new series by author, Lori Armstrong. This is the first book I have read by this author. I liked Mercy. She had a take charge attitude and was deadly as well as dangerous with a gun. She is like a modern day wild, west sheriff trying to take down the bad guys. Though I liked this story, I wished that I felt more of a connection with the rest of the characters. This would have helped me have more of an interest in why Mercy was fighting for justice and doing the things she was doing. Overall, I still thought this was a pretty good book and I would check out more books by this author.
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On medical leave from Iraq, former army sniper Mercy Gunderson returns to her home in South Dakota shortly after the death of her father. She must decide what to do with the family ranch, but before she can take action, a young Indian boy is found dead on her land. When the new sheriff doesn't seem to be doing much to find out what happened to the boy, Mercy reluctantly begins her own investigation.

Armstrong is a wonderful writer and she describes ranch life and Mercy with grace and simplicity:

The sun seared my skin. As I gazed across the flat, open area between the halting house and the half-dozen of buildings -- metal, wood, antique, and new -- I reconnected with my eighteen-year-old self and the realization I'd been trapped in a life I hadn't chosen.

So how was it I'd traveled to all those exotic locales of my youthful daydreams only to find myself back here on the ranch? Facing responsibilities I didn't want, with a sinking feeling I'd gone no place at all?

A mourning dove cooed. Another answered. I lifted my face to the blazing sky, wishing for a draft of cool air to carry earthy scents of freshly mowed hay. But with the dry conditions all I caught was another nose full of dust.

This is an engrossing mystery and Mercy isn't the typical investigator who either knows it all or else never loses her way. She is realistically portrayed with plenty of faults that mar her many admirable qualities. Although the identity of the killer wasn't a surprise, getting there was worth the ride.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2010
I've read and enjoyed almost everything that Lori Armstrong (and pseudonyms) has written, and this time she's bitten off more than she can chew. The plot is stilted and we don't get enough time with any of the intriguing characters that surround Mercy. Dawson gets the most ink, but he's the least interesting of the bunch. The Julie Collins books - even her Cowboy books - had better characters. And when there is the obligatory roll in the hay - she fades to black with a chapter break! What's up with that?

Armstrong is a good writer, and I'll count this one as a mis-fire. There are characters and setups here that could be explored, so I'll still read the next one when it comes out.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I enjoyed parts of the book. However, Mercy's involvement with Dawson was totally unbelievable. As a reader, up to that point, I thought Mercy was supposed to be smarter than that. If Dawson is to be her Achilles heel and/or lover, I would not be interested in reading any more of the series. I found the sheriff unlikeable and could not understand the attraction between him and Mercy. I hope the author sharpens her pen and has Mercy go in another direction for love and affection. And I am not a big fan of blasphemy. I know for a fact that there are many military men and women who do not find it necessary to take the Lord's name in vain. Tame four letter words once in a while is understandable, but GD this, etc. is offensive and not necessary. It certainly does not enhance the story line or improve the plot. When that kind of profanity is used as often as it is in this book it is usually because someone (the author) has run out of ideas. Who the main perpetrators are is obvious early on in the story - very few surprises here. I will watch for reviews of future Mercy editions and may not choose to go along for the ride.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2010
Fast read but big on gruesome deaths and slight stereotypes. I enjoyed the basic story but the gore made me sad and distracted from the plot. Decent read but the sisterly bond needed more time and less of gang rape.
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