Mercy Kill

A Mystery

Mercy Kill

Former Black Ops army sniper Mercy Gunderson isn’t adjusting well to the laid-back rhythm of civilian life on her family’s ranch in South Dakota. To fill her time, Mercy accepts a temporary bartending gig at a local watering hole. Yet her attempts to settle in back home are tested when Titan Oil, a Canadian company proposing to run an underground pipeline through Eagle River County, sends Jason Hawley, Mercy’s former army buddy, to the area to convince ranchers to get behind the project.

While local business owners support the pipeline, Hawley’s presence riles the landowners, and Mercy is torn. After ugly threats and multiple altercations escalate tensions in the county, Mercy discovers Hawley’s brutally mutilated body in the bar parking lot. When it appears Sheriff Dawson cares more about campaigning for reelection than investigating the case, Mercy vows to find Jason Hawley’s killer—even if she has to run against Dawson for sheriff to ensure justice is served.

But Mercy soon learns her former military pal had plenty of secrets. Her search for the truth brings unwanted exposure to the county’s dark side and risks deadly repercussions for the entire community.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416590972 | 
  • January 2011
List Price $19.99
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Mercy Kill includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Lori Armstrong. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


  1. In the first scene of the book, Mercy is faced with a decision of whether or not to kill a sick female mountain lion that she spots during target practice. Ultimately, she chooses not to  kill the animal. What does this decision tell you about Mercy? Why do you think the author decide to open the book with this scene?
  2. When Mercy is discussing her drinking with Rollie early on in the story, she refers to herself as “just another drunk Indian.” Were you surprised that Mercy thinks of herself in this way? What does Mercy’s comment indicate to the reader about her personality and the way that she views herself?
  3. Mercy does not like Kit McIntyre, but admits that since he spends so much money at Clementine’s, she can find a way to disregard her personal issues and make nice with him. Does this decision seem out of character for Mercy? Why or why not?
  4. Given how close they were and the fact that he had saved her life in the past, were you surprised by Mercy&
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About the Author

Lori Armstrong
Photograph by Russell Lloyd Jensen / Sage Studios

Lori Armstrong

Lori Armstrong is the two-time winner of the Shamus Award given by the Private Eye Writers of America and a New York Times bestselling author of romantic fiction, written as Lorelei James. Her books have won the Willa Cather Literary Award and have been nominated for the High Plains Book Award and the Daphne du Maurier Award. She lives in western South Dakota. Visit her website at