Mercy Gunderson is the smart, intense and very dangerous protagonist of Lori G. Armstrong's "Mercy" series, which has one of the best female detectives in fiction today. Armstrong, who won the 2011 Shamus Award for best Private Investigator Hardcover Novel with "No Mercy" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamus_Award, the last book in the series, finally has returned for the next Mercy novel "Merciless" http://www.amazon.com/Merciless-A-Mystery-Lori-Armstrong/dp/1451625367after a two year hiatus. Its another winning entry in this series. Mystery readers who enjoy female detectives should definitely read this series. Snappy dialogue, twisty mysteries and smart characters will keep the reader engrossed.
Mercy is an ex black ops sniper, who left the armed service after an eye injury and returned home to her family ranch in Eagle River County in western South Dakota. Mercy, who is a registered member of the Eagle River Tribe, has several friends and contacts in the Tribe. Her sister, who lives on her ranch, is also married to a member of the Tribe.
After losing the election for Sheriff of Eagle River County, Mercy has joined the FBI, and has been assigned to a large area of South Dakota, because of her tribal affiliation. Almost immediately, Mercy is tested as a young girl, the niece of the newly elected tribal leader ends up staked though the heart.
Mercy and her FBI trainer/partner are assigned to investigate the odd killing. Mercy is informed by Rollie, a tribal big wig on the reservation that this has not been the only girl who ended up dead, but because the tribal police have a habit of botching investigations, nothing has been learned. In addition, Rollie, who is shacking up with Verline, a woman 30 years his junior, is not trusted as a source for information by Mercy's partner or the FBI.
Soon the FBI and Mercy's partner are ready to convict one man, but Mercy, bucking her boss, digs deeper into past unexplained deaths on the reservation at the Reservation library. Mercy's partner tries to get in her face, but Mercy, is not one to scare off or be deterred. She knows how to track down leads and figure out the killer. She uses her contacts in the tribe and goes off on her own, and follows her hunches.
Meanwhile, Mercy also has to deal with issues at home. her co-habitating Sheriff boyfriend, who has a young son from a former marriage, has brought his young son to the ranch. Mercy, who is still not sure if she will accept one of the Sheriff's numerous proposals of marriage, is now thrust into a whole new level of home life.
To further complicate Mercy's home life, there is bad blood between Mercy's long term housekeeper's family, and another tribal family, and Mercy is thrust into the middle.
When the daughter of her housekeeper ends up dead, in another brutal killing, Mercy zooms in on the killer, who threatens Mercy's family and loved ones. He challenges Mercy to go against him mano a mano in a man hunt. However, Mercy does not play fair. There are no rules in the wild.
If its going to be a manhunt, I would rather have Mercy and her gunhand on my side.