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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 47 reviews
on January 7, 2010
Mercy Gunderson is one of the few female Army snipers. Officially, they don't exist but unofficially, women can get into some hot spot better than men. Mercy's been into more than she'd care to admit. Currently, she's on leave at her family's ranch in South Dakota. Her father recently died and she's the executor of his estate. Her remaining family is her sister, Holly and her nephew, Levi.

Bad things are happening in Mercy's little county though. A friend of Levi's is found dead on her ranch. Levi seems to be having problems. Holly has a new boyfriend that Mercy just doesn't feel right about. Rumors of some kind of club on the reservation have people concerned, as do the new people that bought the ranch nearby.

Mercy has her own problems though. Besides not being able to decide if she should sell the ranch, she has medical problems from her last mission. She has the time in the military to retire but she doesn't know if she wants to. If she stays in though, she'll never be able to do the job she's been doing. She'll be forced into a desk job or a training position.

Mason Dawson was appointed acting sheriff by Mercy's father before he died. He plans on running for sheriff but right now Mercy doesn't see what he's doing to investigate the death of Levi's friend. She's not too sure she trusts him either but he is good to look at!

You can't just ease into this story, it comes at you fast and hard with a teenage death in the first few pages. This hard punching story doesn't slow down or quit from start to finish. It's fast paced with lots going on giving the reader a lot to ponder as you try to figure out who's behind all the things happening.

Mercy is not a sweet bit of fluff or even a typical ranch girl. She's hard because she's had to be. She also has standards and a code she lives by. She cares deeply for her family so don't even think to hurt them or Mercy will go hunting. She's a complex character that has so many facets that it would take a lifetime to figure her out. The military left it's mark and that mark helps make up who Mercy will become.

One of the best assets of this book are the descriptions. Ms Armstrong does an outstanding job describing the characters but her descriptions of the land, buildings and community are exceptional. I've never been to South Dakota yet I could visualize the landscape as Mercy traveled along the county roads. Buildings weren't pristine; some needed paint, derelict or just barely together while others were well loved. With just a few words, this part of country came alive.

I didn't want to put this book down. Though I was fairly sure early on I knew who the murder was, I felt driven to see how Mercy would get him and what would happen next. Well, I should have known that an award winning author would have some twists and turns up her sleeve and the answer wouldn't be as easy as I thought. Her ending was much better than I could have ever imagined.

Now, that I've been introduced to Mercy, I want more. It looks to me like life is going to get interesting in that part of the world!
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VINE VOICEon June 30, 2015
Mercy is on medical leave from the Army and back home in South Dakota dealing with things after the death of her father. She has been an Army sniper doing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan but an injury has damaged her vision in her right eye. Now she has to deal with issues at home. Her younger sister is secretly dating a newcomer to town and is pregnant. Her teenage nephew is having conflicts with his mother and with the local Indian gang he wants to join but who isn't letting him in because he's not Indian enough. Local and not so local land developers are pressuring Mercy to sell.

When a young Indian boy is found dead on her land, Mercy is encouraged by the boy's mother to investigate. The mother doesn't feel that the new sheriff who was handpicked by Mercy's father is doing enough. When Mercy's nephew is also murdered, Mercy becomes determined to find out who caused his death despite the local sheriff telling her to back off.

Mercy is an interesting character with lots of anger issues who does a lot of hard drinking to deal with them. Despite being gone most of the last twenty years, Mercy has a network of friends in the area to help her investigate. She also has lots of guilt. She missed her father's funeral but isn't able to share that she was hurt and in the hospital at the time. She has a difficult relationship with the ranch foreman who was her boyfriend before she miscarried his baby and left home to join the Army. Her relationship with her sister is also difficult. They both had awful childhoods with Mercy seeing her mother kicked to death by a horse and her sister accidentally shooting a childhood friend. There is an awful lot of trauma going around.

This was a fascinating story well set in its place - the beautiful but desolate land in western South Dakota. Mercy was also a fascinating and complex character.
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on January 7, 2013
No Mercy is the first book in Lori Armstrong's new Mercy Gunderson series, which is currently three deep and growing in volumes as well as popularity. Mercy is a Jack Reacher kind of character in the kind of territory Walt Longmire would feel at home in. In fact, Longmire's creator Craig Johnson had some very nice things to say about the book and the author.

Lori Armstrong is a new writer to me, which is a good way to start out the new year, but I've been aware of her name on romance novels. I knew going into No Mercy that I would probably encounter a romantic subplot, and there is one, but it doesn't overshadow the story, kind of gives it a bite, actually.

I love Mercy's character and the military/sniper background she has. I see lots of action potential in her, but it's the kind of stuff that works. She's a hero, but not a superhero. When a bigger guy goes up against her, she doesn't miraculously beat him with ninja powers. Mercy knows her limitations and chooses her fights when she can, and she fights to win, not necessarily be fair. She's also in her late thirties, a woman who has seen twenty years of military combat and has the scars to show for it - physically and emotionally.

The author's gun knowledge and familiarity with military nomenclature is evident, but not overpowering. I also liked the fact that Mercy doesn't rely solely on weapons, but on keeping in shape and knowing what she's headed into. This isn't some babe in the woods the big bad wolves are going to easily get.

I do have to admit that Mercy's bad luck with family strained credulity. I know people in the real world have horror stories to tell too, but this book really socks it to you again and again, till I felt a little put upon to believe everything.

Still, Armstrong moves her story along at a snappy pace. The mystery holds together, though some of the suspects kind of fade out at times. There are enough twists and turns here to satisfy the mystery reader as well as the thriller fan. I especially loved the author's presentation of South Dakota. I have been through the area and it's dead on the mark. Her people are real to me because I have known people like them.

It was a pleasure getting to know Mercy, and I've already got the sequels.
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on June 23, 2017
Great story wish there were more books in this series well written great characters.
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on April 21, 2017
Strong female lead, picturesque locations very enjoyable series.
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on March 12, 2014
Be sure to read this series of books and read them in order! They are some of the most gripping mystery writing I have ever read. An added fillip is that the plots occur in South Dakota, Mercy Gunderson's home country. She is a former military sniper and a good one, trying to adjust to the civilian world. Murders are occurring on the local Indian reservation. What with Mercy trying to get over her own PTSD and her having family problems, an obdurate local sheriff and murders all over the place, believe me, you don't want to miss this one, or the next, or the next!
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on January 20, 2010
This book is fantastic! I honestly didn't want to put it down--for anything! I've read Lori Armstrong books before, so I knew that I'd have to set aside a day with no interruptions for this book. I didn't realize I wouldn't want to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom until I finished it.

From start to finish, my attention was held in Mercy's grip and long after I finished the book, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Now I can't wait for the next one to come out!
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on February 24, 2010
Not if I want to get any sleep.

This is my first Lori Armstrong book, and it will not be my last. The plot has already been rehashed, so I'll just leave you with my impressions. I loved Mercy. She was tough, closed off emotionally, but very vulnerable. I hate the description of 'kick ass heroine', but that definitely is appropriate here. I appreciate her imperfections,strength, and flat out determination.

Lori's description of the desolate landscape that Mercy both loves and hates, and portrayal of reservation poverty put me as a reader in the middle of the story both physically and emotionally.

What attracted me to the story was the premise of a female sniper, and her bouts with PTSD. I applaud the author tackling Mercy's post war emotions without beating us over the head with it. Oh, and did I mention the sheriff? Makes a girl want to go commit a crime.

I can't wait to read more about Mercy and the goings on in her corner of the world, and this author's backlist will be in my kindle without delay.

Thanks Lori, for a great read and a sleepless night.
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on March 4, 2010
Lori Armstrong's new mystery is red hot. The actual mystery of dead bodies turning up on Mercy Gunderson's ranch is interesting but it is the complex character of Mercy herself who is riveting.

Mercy is a very tough lady, but Ms. Armstrong is not afraid to show her vulnerability and her awkwardness in coping with major lifestyle changes. It is this transition from closed off solider to new civilian during the course of the book that draws you in and really makes you care about Mercy Gunderson. You aren't always sure she'll make it, but you can't help rooting for her and you have to admire the way she totally kicks ass on people who hurt her family. The other characters are equally complex, if not so finely drawn, and by the end of the novel I was enthralled and anxiously awaiting the next installment of Mercy Gunderson.
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on July 27, 2016
Love this series.
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