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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No Mercy (Mercy Gunderson Mystery book 1) by Lori Armstrong


No Mercy is the first book in a new series. No Mercy is not urban fantasy, not paranormal romance - there are no vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, angels, or fairies. There is a Native American who gets visions, so I won't say nothing supernatural at all... but for the most part it's a straight up mystery.

Here's the blurb:

Mercy Gunderson is a straight shooter with a hard edge. On medical leave from the Army, she returns home to South Dakota, which isn’t much safer for her than Iraq. Arriving just after the death of her father, it is up to Mercy to decide what to do with the family ranch. Trying to deal with her irresponsible sister and nephew and feeling guilty that she didn’t make it home soon enough to see her father one last time; Mercy is suddenly pulled into the local community when the body of a Native American boy is found on her land. But nobody seems to be doing anything about it, especially not the local law enforcement.

When tragedy strikes again, Mercy is ready to throw all her energy into her own investigation, and she’s out for revenge. As she digs up the truth behind the shocking crimes, Mercy uncovers dark and dangerous secrets and must race to stop a killer before everything she’s fought for is destroyed forever.

I like Mercy. She can take care of herself, and she makes no apologies for who she is. She lives by her own code of right and wrong, and while I might personally have a problem doing some of what she's done... I don't have a problem with her doing those things.

I figured out the bad guys early on, with my only question being which was the one responsible. I thought it could have easily been any of a number of people, and two specifically, I just wasn't positive which. As it turns out... hmmm, guess I can't say that without a possible spoiler. Suffice it to say I was right, but that the twists involved made it okay that I was right so early in the book.

As for the writing elements:
  • The various plots are well thought out and have nice twists and turns that make for an entertaining read. 
  • Pacing had a few rough spots but overall was fine. 
  • Prose was beautiful and touching and artfully created - very well done. 
  • I had some issues with dialogue where it wasn't clear who was saying what -- I found myself going back on paragraphs going "him, her, him, her, him, her... guess she's saying it" more times than I can remember. 
  • Character development is exceptional - Mercy is a multi layered three dimensional character with lots and lots of interesting quirks and tidbits and pieces of history. 
The book was good, but wasn't quite a 10 of 10 - the pacing and dialogue problems held it back. I won't give a series rating after only one book.
  • Book Rating: No Mercy: 9 of 10
The second book in the Mercy  Gunderson series,  Mercy Kill, comes out in January. If we were still six months away then I likely would not read the second book. But with it just a month away, there is a very good chance I'll read the second book.

Mercy  Gunderson Mystery Series
  1. No Mercy
  2. Mercy Kill (Jan 11, 2011)

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