Review of A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

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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…


A Merciful Death is the first instalment in Kendra Elliot’s Mercy Kilpatrick Mystery Series.


I listened to the audible narration available with this book on Kindle Unlimited.

  • Audible Audiobook
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 36 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Narration:  Excellent narration by Teri Schnaubelt for this audiobook.  The character distinction was clear, and it was easy to understand which characters were speaking. Schnaubelt displayed good tonal range.  Text narration was very distinct from dialogue narration.  Male characters were easily distinguishable from female characters.  There was very good differentiation from one female character to the next.  Even among the male voices there was good differentiation. There were no awkward stumbles or pauses in the narration.  (5/5)

Production:  Sound quality was good. The audio was clear and sound levels were consistent.  Pauses between chapters was sufficient. There were no blips or misses in the audio.  (5/5)

Overall Experience:  Overall, this story translated to audio quite well.  (5/5)


The Story:

Other that watching a few movies or a couple of Netflix series, I’ve never given much thought to The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI). Mercy and her family, and indeed many of the residents of Eagle’s Nest seem to think of little else.  They are preppers. They make sure they can live without electricity, pipe borne water and the internet if necessary.  They ensure they can support their family unit in the event of a major disaster by being food independent.  They’ve dedicated their lives to storing food, fuel and weaponry should the worst ever happen.  In this series opening story, preppers are being killed and their guns and ammunition stolen.  Mercy, with the FBI and local police chief, Truman have to figure out who the murderer(s) is and what is his motive.

The murder mystery in this story is intriguing.  There are several suspects in a town where attitudes about government, law enforcement and even the ‘place of women’ is shocking.  Motives range from simple greed to militia building to long-held resentments and need for revenge.  Every suspect is believable and every motive is compelling. There were a couple of clues that pointed to the real culprit but a lot of text was also devoted to building up clever alternatives for the reader.  I liked that.

Mercy is a multi-layered, flawed but appealing main character.  I enjoyed reading this book and seeing her characterization unfold. She had to leave a close-knit family unit and strike out on her own at a fairly early age.  As a result, she’s fiercely independent, self-supporting and resilient. Yet, there is still a significant part of her that yearns to be part of a bigger unit… a family unit.  Her attempts at reconciliation with her family are heart touching.  I think Kendra did a wonderful job showing the wide range of emotions involved on all sides.

Truman, has also experienced traumas in his life.  One such trauma while on duty as a city cop, has left him seriously scarred. He still suffers from anxiety as a result.  There is a scene where Truman puts himself through a calming exercise he learnt from his psychiatrist. That scene is so well-written and gives an insight into coping mechanisms that can be used to alleviate anxiety attacks.  Truman seems to be an excellent counter to Mercy.  He’s open where she is closed.  He is assertive where she’s happy to stand back.  He’s a good listener when she needs to talk.

That said, Truman pretty much falls in love almost instantly, but Mercy’s reluctance keeps the romance from developing too fast in this first book of the series.

There are multiple POVs used in this story.  We see the action from both Mercy’s and Truman’s perspectives.  We also get chapters told from the POV of the culprit and from one of his victims.  I think that works well, for the most part.


Some Things I liked:

  • Getting to know about the prepper lifestyle and motivations.
  • Central Oregon setting is well-described.
  • The small town of Eagle’s Nest is also well-described… even if not the friendliest place to ‘outsiders.’
  • The Kilpatrick family is dysfunctional.  This makes them ripe for juicy storylines.
  • The journey to family reconciliation is a bumpy one.
  • Eddie is great comic relief.
  • Rose is the sweetest, strongest character.
  • That Truman has and copes with anxiety.


Some things I didn’t like:

  • Truman falls in love pretty fast.
  • Body count is pretty high.


Overall, I really enjoyed this story.  I found the pacing was good, the plot intriguing and the characters believable. I’ve already finished book 2 in the series and I’m looking forward to book 3!

I give A Merciful Death 4.5 well-prepared shots!

4.5 Shots


27 thoughts on “Review of A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

Add yours

  1. Preppers really confuse/scare me, and I’m not sure if it’s because they’re SO different and so far removed from my life and world, or because I know I’m a naturally anxious person and I worry I could easily become one of them without realising it 😂😂😂 so I don’t think I could help but have my guard up reading A Merciful Death, I’d be watching myself like a hawk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A friend was telling me recently that someone’s boyfriend is a prepper. I asked her what that meant, and I was thinking it must be a new way of saying “preppy.” 😂 Needless to say, I learned a little about doomsday prepping from my friend. This sounds like a great listen, Nina, and I love a good audio. Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another not so Cozy read for a cozy gal!! This one sounds more like a Nicole book!! Crazy people prepping for the end of the world and I high body count?? It’s like it was written just for me!!
    By the way, when I saw “prepper” in the synopsis, I thought it was another way of saying they were preppy. I was going into the description thinking they all had time on the tennis courts with their pleated slacks and sweaters tied around their necks!! 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. You’re the second person to almost think was ‘preppy’. So not! The series is pretty cool actually. Suspense not thriller… so it’s relatively light compared to some of the stuff you and Shalini read!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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