Jun 12 2017 4:00pm

Review: A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot

A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot is the second book in the Mercy Kilpatrick series, where the survivalist FBI agent must investigate a local antigovernment militia before more people get hurt.

Read Corrina Lawson's review of A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot, and then make sure to sign in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the second Mercy Kilpatrick mystery!

A good mystery series has two main ingredients: a compelling sleuth and a distinct sense of place. My favorites are Spenser’s Boston, Longmire’s Wyoming, and Kinsey Millhone’s Santa Theresa. A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot—the second Mercy Kilpatrick mystery—has both these elements.

FBI Agent Mercy Kilpatrick is—like many leads in a mystery series—a person of two worlds. The first, of course, is law enforcement. But Mercy has recently moved back to her hometown, the rural Oregon community of Eagle’s Nest, after the tragic events of the first book, A Merciful Death—and that brings in her other world as well.

Mercy is a self-described prepper (a person who prepares for the collapse of civilization) and even owns a cabin loaded with supplies to live on after the end. She was raised that way, growing up with parents who always tried to live as self-sufficiently as possible.

Besides representing years of hard work, he knew the rural cabin and its contents were part of Mercy’s core. They kept her sane and balanced. He didn’t think sleeping there a few nights was any big deal. Before her trip, they’d been working to transfer some of the stores from his uncle’s old home. Upon his death, Truman’s Uncle Jefferson had left him a wealth of supplies, but he and Mercy had agreed her location was better. Remote and off the grid.

The average home had enough food for a week. Mercy’s cabin could keep them fed and warm for months.

Beans, bullets, and Band-Aids.

The three Bs of prepping.

That’s from the point of view of Truman Daily, the local police chief and Mercy’s lover—though the relationship is still fragile because of the baggage both bring into it. It’s through Truman that the reader realizes that Mercy is still largely the person her parents made her despite leaving the community in which she was raised.

At the same time Mercy is trying to readjust and reconnect with her family—including the orphaned teenage niece that’s become her ward—and sort out her relationship with Truman, two local law enforcement officers are killed by a sniper while investigating an arson. Truman is the only survivor of the assault. What follows is an investigation where Mercy’s natural instincts as an investigator, her fears for Truman, and her inherent reluctance to trust “the government” all collide.  

There may or may not be a local militia forming, but the local attitude is that it’s not a problem so long as they leave everyone else alone. While some evidence may point to the possible leader of the militia being behind the sniper murders, there is no concrete proof.

The story becomes a test of loyalty not just for Mercy and Truman but for nearly everyone around her. There’s her niece, Kaylie, who is dating Cade, a young man working for the possible militia leader; Cade himself, who is grateful for the job and likes being valued; and Mercy’s brother, Owen, who blames Mercy for, well, it seems nearly everything that’s ever gone wrong for their family.

The main villain is easy to spot, but the lack of mystery behind the reveal does nothing to diminish the quality of the story. Instead, it’s the breadth of characters that keep the pages turning. Seeing the villain through the eyes of Mercy’s friends and family adds an extra layer to the story. Plus, Eagle’s Nest is populated by so many interesting people that I was riveted even in the quiet scenes.

One of my favorite characters is Mercy’s sister, Rose. Rose has been blind since birth and is currently pregnant due to events of the first book, but she showcases a strength and resilience similar to Mercy’s own—though each sister views the other as the strongest. And I adored every scene with Officer Ben Cooley of Eagle’s Nest, an older officer who’s honest and weathered but frustrated that he’s found a case over his head so close to retirement.

As all the secrets surface, the final confrontation tests loyalties, questions who stands on the side of the right, and explores whether certain actions are legally sanctioned or not. The ending leaves Mercy and Truman in a new emotional place and alters her relationship with her family, which allows plenty to explore in future books. I’ll be looking forward to them, as this has all the makings of an excellent long-running series.

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot!

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A Merciful Truth Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) June 12, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 3:59 p.m. ET June 20, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom blog at Wired and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.

Read all posts by Corrina Lawson for Criminal Element.

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Laura Wilson
1. wilsonlr77
I've read a lot of Kendra's books and a huge fan. Great, well developed characters and she comes up with some really good mysteries too. I have some of her books on audio too.
Sally Kohlenberg
2. SallyK
I always enjoy a good mystery. Thanks
Sally Kohlenberg
2. SallyK
I always enjoy a good mystery. Thanks
Barbara Lima
3. barblima
This seems to be a multi layered book!
Portia Asher
5. pixie
I need a new mystery...I love a mystery.
Sharon Haas
7. kazul
I've been waiting for this one! Thanks for the chance.
Michael Carter
8. rubydog
Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Beth Talmage
9. wordygirl
Thanks for a chance to get started on this series--it looks great!
10. LabRat517
I've never read a mystery featuring preppers and I'm really intrigued. I want to understand more about that mindset.
11. LabRat517
I've never read a mystery featuring preppers and I'm really intrigued. I want to understand more about that mindset.
12. LabRat517
I've never read a mystery featuring preppers and I'm really intrigued. I want to understand more about that mindset.
Jeffrey Malis
13. bravejam
Interesting... Thank you for the article, review and entry opportunity!
pearl berger
16. beach
Intriguing and captivating. Thanks.
Pearl Berger
17. Sunshine
Fascinating and a great mystery which I would enjoy.
Barbara Bibel
20. bbibel
Sounds terrific! I want to read it.
Lori Provenzano
23. Mountainesque
Paranoia and pine cones...scary opportunities abound!
vickie dailey
26. kidcurry
there seems to be a lot of depth to the character of Mercy and lots of subplot to keep you intersted during the non- suspenseful parts of the story
Cheryl Greenleaf
27. cgreenleaf
I love a strong female character. Mercy sounds great!
32. mrstrooper
Love a good mystery!
Laurent Latulippe
34. krag48
I'm looking forward to reading it.
Terry Pearson
38. hippiechick1955
Thriller/mystery/crime , my favorites! I might be a little weird lol
Amanda Smith
40. smitaj11
I'd love to read it! I love a good mystery/suspense book!
susan beamon
41. susanbeamon
The author's name is not familiar to me, so I think she would be a new read. I'm all for that. I tend to find preppers more than a little crazy, so that would keep me reading, just to see how normal Mercy is.
Susan Morris
42. Samfor3
Kendra Elliot sounds like someone I want to read more about! Survivalists are more commonplace now and in the news. A mystery set in today's climate.
44. LStirling
The prepper aspect adds an interesting element. Sounds interesting.
Saundra K. Warren
45. shortiew
Another author I haven't read yet. Hopefully this will change that!!
Deana Kneen
46. soulless_ginger
Would love to win this! Sounds like a fantastic read!
Kyle Johnson
47. kylecar94
Looks like I should check out the first one and then drive right into this one.
Sally Schmidt
48. bigcootie
New to me author, need to read the first in the series. Sounds good.
Clydia DeFreese
49. clydia
I love to try new mystery authors. I look forward to winning! Thanks.
Clydia DeFreese
50. clydia
I love to try new mystery authors. I look forward to winning! Thanks.
51. Linda A
Been reading about this book.
Carolyn Bybee
53. CSB
Sounds like an interesting mystery!
54. Polly Barlow
I would like to start reading books by a new author. This sounds like a good read.
Sabine Blanch
55. Schlauberger
Love a good story... Thank you for the chance.
Mary Ann Woods
57. puttputt1198eve
Sounds like a great new series! Thanks for a chance to win a copy!
Julia Castro
58. jlcastro
I'm looking forward to reading this book. Review definitely piqued my interest.
johnna smith
I have a big interest in the prepper's lifestyle and have never read this author. Would love to try!! Thank you for the chance!
Tammy Brasic
60. burkhata
This sounds like a good new series to start. I love series where I get to know the characters well and experience their troubles with them.
Deb Philippon
61. DebP
Looks like a good read. Wish me luck!
Marisa Young
62. Risa
Sounds interesting - would love to read
Wanda Johnson
64. Wjoyj
Ive read only 1 of Kendra Elliot books before and really enjoyed it. So i hope I win this book
Suzanne Shields
65. AmeK
Ok, I'm sure I've read at least one of Kendra's books, but heck if I can remember which one now. I do remember I really enjoyed reading it, and I want to read all of her books.
Suzanne Shields
65. AmeK
Ok, I'm sure I've read at least one of Kendra's books, but heck if I can remember which one now. I do remember I really enjoyed reading it, and I want to read all of her books.
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