I am a little late in discovering this novel; it was suggested by a reader of our blog, Gelati’s Scoop. I am glad they made the suggestion. Let’s get right to the pertinent information on the novel, first
the author, Lori Armstrong. ”Lori Armstrong is proud to be a fourth generation
South Dakotan. Lori left the firearms industry in 2000 to pursue her dream of
writing crime/mystery fiction. The first book in the Julie Collins mystery
series, BLOOD TIES was nominated for a 2006 Shamus Award for Best First Novel
by Private Eye Writers of America. HALLOWED GROUND was nominated for a 2007
Shamus Award and won the 2007 WILLA Cather Literary Award. SHALLOW GRAVE was
nominated for a 2008 High Plains Book Award and was a finalist for the 2008
WILLA Cather Literary Award. The 4th book in this series, SNOW BLIND, was
recently nominated for a 2009 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original. Lori
lives with her family in Rapid City, South Dakota.”
And now inside the covers of the novel: “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.”
My thoughts on this are as follows:
-Excellent character in Mercy and her band of Indian friends on the rez and off.
-The setting is described brilliantly. She made me feel like I was sitting on someone’s front porch taking in all the action and local landscape.
-The narrative was strong and filled with confidence. Perhaps Lori Armstrong did some special things in her time in the arms industry, hmmm.
-Do Indians really like taco’s that much?
I really enjoyed the read and look forward to adding Mercy to my rotation of characters to read and follow. Life on range and the rez doesn’t sound easy, but give it a little Mercy and it makes it easy to visit.
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