Book Review: A Merciful Death, by Kendra Elliot

merciful death book review

Another day, another book review. This one is much better than the last one (Camino Beach is honestly my worst read of 2017 so far).

The book this time is A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot. It's available via Kindle Unlimited if you want to read it on a budget! 

Here's the blurb: 

FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout…

This book easily falls into the category of being one of the better FBI/procedural books I've read. Often times, you have to suspend disbelief at every step (especially when FBI agents end up solving their own cases or things like that) and, again, FBI agents would never be assigned to a case related to their own family. 

A lot of the reason I enjoyed this book is because it's set just outside Bend, Oregon. Hey, hello, I'm an Oregonian. I live in a small town not unlike Eagle's Nest. I know tons of people like those described in the book. 


I know a TON of preppers and people who describe themselves as freemen. So on that level, I was really into this book. It does a good job of walking the line between calling preppers crazy (they're not, they just have super specific beliefs and ways of living) and being realistic in terms of what prepping is really about (dedicating your life to something hazy that may never happen). 

I really liked Mercy as a character. Although, there were a few odd moments in regards to food that I'm not 100% sure about. In restaurants, Mercy only orders salads. With no cheese. Is she a vegan? Preppers (and Mercy, spoiler alert, is a secret prepper still) definitely don't fall into the category of vegan, that's for sure; it's not sustainable lifestyle energy wise in the prepping community. She doesn't get dinner the first night in the hotel and instead eats celery, almond butter, and jerky out of a backpack. Is... Mercy ok? Does she have an eating disorder? Or is this an attempt, by the author, to suggest that Mercy is a delicate little lady flower who could not POSSIBLY eat a big, manly burger? Gasp! What would the menfolks think if an FBI agent ate PROTEIN? I started to get a little annoyed by it, because the lines were so stark: Mercy gets salads and apples and celery; the men get burgers and beer and casseroles.

A lot of Mercy's storyline centers around the treatment of women in the prepping community, so WHY would Mercy still be buying the idea that there are foods men eat and foods women eat? And if that's not the case, why doesn't Mercy order a burger or even just a sandwich once and a while? Maybe she just likes salads, but I'm sorry, no one likes eating warm celery, almond butter, and JERKY in a hotel room by themselves. NOBODY. Don't lie to me. It's just a strange characterization and I cannot see where it fits in within the story, especially given Mercy's other traits of preparedness, doggedness, and focus on physical strength and health. Anyone knows that eating a salad with just salsa, tortilla chips, and olives is not a well-rounded meal; there is no protein in that meal. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the plot. For the first time in a long time, the reveal of the "bad guy" felt like an actual surprise. I didn't guess it 1/4 of the way through like usual. I can't wait for the second in the series to come out on June 6.