Mercy Gunderson

Created by Lori Armstrong
Pseudonyms include Lorelei James

One-quarter Minneconjou Sioux MERCY GUNDERSON is a former U.S. Army Black Ops sniper who lost an eye in Iraq, and has returned Stateside to lick her wounds and run the family ranch in South Dakota, in the series debut, No Mercy (2010).

But things don’t work out so smoothly. A dead body shows up on the ranch, and hunky local Sheriff Dawson doesn’t seem to care much about investigating it. So Mercy, still reeling from PTSD, decides to poke into things.

But they poke back.

It’s a great story (Hell, the whole series is great—imagine a female Jack Reacher, but with roots) but I’m still not quite sure why Armstrong won a Shamus for Best Novel for it. She isn’t a private eye in it, and as the series has continued, she’s been an amateur — if deadly–sleuth, a bartender, and in Merciless, a traineee FBI agent.

But never quite a private eye, no matter how much ass she kicks.

Then again, you try telling Mercy that

Those looking for a more legit P.I.–albeit a milder-mannered one–from Armstrong should check out her Julie Collins‘ series.


Lori Armstrong is the three-time Shamus Award, twice for her Julie Collins mystery series, and once for No Mercy in the Mercy Gunderson series. She is also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romances written. Lori, her alter ego Lorelei, and her gun guy hubby, all live in western South Dakota with their spoiled corgi.



Report submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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