Author: Kendra Elliot
Published: January 2018 by Montlake Romance
Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Book Review
Raised off the grid by survivalists, Mercy Kilpatrick believed in no greater safeguard than the backwoods of Oregon. Unforgiven by her father for abandoning the fold for the FBI, Mercy still holds to her past convictions. They’re in her blood. They’re her secrets—as guarded as her private survival retreat hidden away in the foothills.
Mercy Kilpatrick is returning from her hideaway retreat in the woods when a young girl, covered in blood, runs out in front of her car.
She narrowly avoids hitting the girl as she brakes, causing the car to spin sideways. The girl was desperate for help, her grandmother was dying. Being a prepper meant always being prepared for emergencies, so Mercy grabs her bug out bag and follows the girl through the woods.
The cabin is totally isolated with no phone signal. Olivia Sabin keeps to herself. The local townsfolk think she’s a witch but is that the only reason Olivia chose to be off the grid? Mercy does her best to help Olivia, but her injuries are too severe.
“Who did this to you?” Mercy couldn’t move. Her brain wouldn’t accept the brutal punishment that had been inflicted on the woman. The woman started to chant in a soft singsong voice, and Mercy couldn’t make out the words.
“What happened to her, Morrigan?” she asked as she dug in her duffel bag for bandages.
“I don’t know. I got up to use the bathroom and found her like this. That’s when I ran to the road for help.”
Worried because he couldn’t contact Mercy, Police Chief Truman Daly begins the drive out to her cabin. Spotting a Deschutes County Police vehicle on the roadside, he’s brought up to speed and makes his way to the crime scene. When another very similar murder, that of a retired federal judge from Portland takes place, Mercy and Truman become involved in the case despite it being passed to the Portland office of the FBI. Mercy is a witness and as such has to be seen to stand back, but needless to say that doesn’t stop her pursuing leads.
Truman keeps the investigation going locally because, although he doesn’t even want to acknowledge the fact, he knew Morrigan’s mother Salome from years ago. The narrative features sections from Salome’s point of view giving a good insight into her character.
Mercy is a complex protagonist with an unusual upbringing, and even though she’s had much time away from Eagle’s Nest she still has the prepper instinct. Her cabin is her safe, secure place and she’s prepared for any eventuality. Or so she thinks. Truman grounds Mercy and provides a good foil for her character as their relationship progresses.
Kendra Elliot brings her ever evolving characters to life wonderfully and paints a vivid picture of the town and it’s inhabitants. The murder mystery is twisty, suspenseful and well thought through with enough surprise moments to keep up the pace all the way to the shocker of an ending. It was a nice surprise when certain characters made an unexpected appearance too.
Although A Merciful Secret is classed as romantic suspense, the romance aspect takes a back seat and doesn’t overwhelm the storyline.
About the Author
Kendra Elliot grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a Pomeranian. She left the dental world after sixteen years to write full time in 2012. Her first two books, HIDDEN and CHILLED, spent months on Kindle’s US top 100 paid best seller list. HIDDEN was on Kindle’s US 2012 overall top 100 bestseller list. Two more Bone Secrets novels will be released in 2013. She’s always been fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and loves a strong Mai Tai on the beach on Kauai.