A Merciful Secret – Mercy Kilpatrick #3 by Kendra Elliot

REVIEW

Secrets and mystery surround Mercy Kilpatrick as she delves into the world of witches, Wicca and wonders.

After finding a distressed young girl on the side of the road near her hidden cabin, Mercy finds herself desperately trying to save the life of the girls grandmother who has been repeated slashed.  As the old woman’s life begins to slip away, Mercy hears her chanting a strange string of words that make no sense. When a second victim is found with identical markings, an old friend and fellow FBI agent, Ava McLane, works alongside Mercy and Truman to discover the full story behind the secrets in the woods.

The story was exciting and bordered on the mystical.  I loved the twist towards the end and I’ll be honest I did not see it coming, especially the connection between Salome Sabin and Christian Lake.  I have found that quite a bit with Kendra’s books, the ending is not predictable at all and it is often the last person you would expect.

It was great to have a character appearance from another series – Callahan and McLane – in this story, but this was not the only ‘guest’ appearance! I do enjoy when an author has a bit of a cross over with their other work.  I find it brings the imaginary worlds together and gives me a little insight into what some of my favourite characters are doing since their own series finished. I’m very much a person who once they find a good series wants it to go on forever, but even I know that this is not practical and everything has to come to an end, so to have them pop up every so often is lovely.

Mercy and Truman’s relationship is going from strength to strength, long may it continue, as is the relationship with Mercy and Kaylie. I also love Rose, I have great respect for her and really hope that she finds someone to settle down with, Nick Walker sounds promising.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt.

Synopsis

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.

In a cabin near her hideaway, Mercy encounters a young girl whose grandmother is dying from multiple knife wounds. Hundreds of miles away, a body is discovered slashed to death in a similar way. The victims—a city judge and an old woman living in the woods—couldn’t be more different. With the help of police chief Truman Daly, Mercy must find the killer before the body count rises. Mercy knows that the past has an edge on her. So does her family. How can she keep her secrets now…when they’re the only things that can save her?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34868170-a-merciful-secret)

A Merciful Truth – Mercy Kilpatrick #2 by Kendra Elliot

REVIEW

Mercy and Truman are back in the next exciting installment of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.

Truman Daly is investigating a series of Arson attacks which bring on bad memories from his past.  When a couple of his deputies are killed during one such attack the FBI are brought in to assist.  Mercy Kilpatrick leads the investigation into the murders and working alongside her boyfriend, Truman, they uncover the works of a possible militia group formed under the guise of preppers.

Mercy’s character is great and I love how she is determined to stay independent but also desperately wants to be loved by Truman, Kaylie and the rest of her family.  Although she does not fully follow in her family’s way of life she has never been able to give up on the prepper life completely. Truman is definitely one of the good guys and is so perfect for Mercy.  He loves her completely but knows he cannot push her. He embraces her way of life and her family.  He loves how she has taken on Kaylie and watches the struggle into forced motherhood that she has taken, but will only intervene when Mercy really needs him.

This story, like the first, had a very unexpected ending.  There are lots of secrets being held in this small town of Eagle’s Nest, in particularly within the Kilpatrick household, but bit by bit they are being uncovered.  Mercy is becoming more accepted by members of her family, although one of them is still very reluctant.

Engaging and exciting.  I really enjoyed this story from start to finish.

Some violence and strong language. No intimate sexual scenes.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt.

Synopsis

Raised by a family of survivalists, FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick can take on any challenge—even the hostile reception to her homecoming. But she’s not the only one causing chaos in the rural community of Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. At first believed to be teenage pranks, a series of fires takes a deadly turn with the murder of two sheriff’s deputies. Now, along with Police Chief Truman Daly, Mercy is on the hunt for an arsonist turned killer.

Still shunned by her family and members of the community, Mercy must keep her ear close to the ground to pick up any leads. And it’s not long before she hears rumors of the area’s growing antigovernment militia movement. If the arsonist is among their ranks, Mercy is determined to smoke the culprit out. But when her investigation uncovers a shocking secret, will this hunt for a madman turn into her own trial by fire?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32885178-a-merciful-truth)

A Merciful Death – Mercy Kilpatrick #1 by Kendra Elliot

REVIEW

Mercy Kilpatrick briefly appeared in the Callahan and McLane series by the same author.  I am please that she has now got her own series and this opening book promises to hold some exciting stories for Mercy. I have previously read all the ‘Bones Secrets’ series and ‘Callahan and McLane’ series, so I was very much looking forward to starting this one.

Estranged from her family since the age of 18, Mercy finds herself back in her home town of Eagles Nest, following a spate of murders of local preppers. Trying to keep her presence quiet it is inevitable that some people around town will recognise her and eventually she will run into her family. Working alongside the new police chief, Truman Daly, Mercy suspects a link between the recent murders and attacks that happened over 15 years ago, one of which happened very close to home.

Mercy holds her own secrets throughout this book but as her connection with Truman grows so does her trust in him, however this is a very long process.  Truman is a down-to-earth kind of guy who left the big city following a nasty incident. He has ties to the town of Eagle’s Nest and when Mercy enters his life he finds even more reason to stay.

Mercy and Truman’s relationship is a slow build, mostly on Mercy’s part, but it is (I hope) destined to stand the test of time.  They show signs of being a great complement to each other.

This is an interesting and exciting story.  The whole situation with the preppers and the reason behind what they do and why is very thought provoking in the sense of what would happen in a disaster.  It also highlights how much we all take luxuries, even the likes of electricity and running water, for granted.  The leads that Truman and Mercy follow kept me guessing as to who might be causing the attacks and the ending was a huge, and very sad, surprise. I really was not expecting that.

Contains moderate violence, some strong language. No sexual scenes.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt.

Synopsis

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…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29986740-a-merciful-death?ac=1&from_search=true)

Ashes to Ashes – DS Heckenburg #6 by Paul Finch

REVIEW

Heck is back on home turf and it’s not a happy experience for him.

Following a lead for a known torturer, Heck and the SCU team are plunged into the middle of a drugs gang war, however someone else is out to cause mayhem.  Dubbed ‘The Incinerator’, a lone figure has been burning people alive with the use of a flame-thrower.  When Heck is taken off his original case and moved to the incinerator case he is less than happy, but when the two cases collide Heck could be in more danger than he realises.

Heck is by far my favourite detective. He is not your traditional ‘guns-blazing’ hero, he gets dirty, tired and more often than not beaten up.  Like a tenacious Jack Russell, he grabs hold of a lead, shakes it around until something gives, then sinks in his teeth to leave his mark.

This story was far more personal to Heck than his previous cases.  Being on his home turf hasn’t helped but when friends become suspects and family becomes victims, Heck feels it more and to some respect it makes him reflect on his life.  The ‘chat’ with Gemma Piper doesn’t help the situation either.

The relationship between Heck and Gemma needs to advance. Part of me really wants them to get together but then another part feels that, although Gemma shows signs of the love she used to have for Heck, she will always choose her career over him, maybe the same could be said the other way round as well.  I would just really like to see Heck happy with a partner who will be there for him, help him through the tough cases, and love him for who he is without trying to change him.  If this turns out to be Gemma than I would be happy, if not then so be it (plot twist – what if Hazel from ‘Dead Man Walking’ came back in his life?)

And what’s going to happen to Shawna?  Really like her character and her link to Heck.  I think she also helps to keep him sane in a non-romantic capacity.

Another exciting and action-packed case for DS Mark Heckenburg.

Listened via Audible – narrated by Paul Thornley

Synopsis

John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.

A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25394450-ashes-to-ashes)

 

 

Dead Man Walking – DS Heckenburg #4 by Paul Finch

REVIEW

A thrilling fourth installment for DS Mark Heckenburg.

Having left the SCU for a more sedate life in the Lake District, Heck is now the local detective in a quiet village where the most excitement he gets is tracking down thieves preying on local tourists.  However, when a young girl is found shot on the hills, her harrowing account leaves Heck chilled.  The story brings back memories from a decade ago that are too close to home for comfort. As more and more horrific murders are caused by the elusive “Stranger”, Heck is determined to ensure this monster does not get away again.

This is a very different setting for Heck and a much needed respite, although it is clearly not where he belongs.  It’s not that Heck goes out looking for trouble but he is definitely a man of action and much happier when he is out on the streets bringing down the bad guys. The deaths are without doubt gruesome and graphic in their description but that is one thing I like about the way Paul Finch writes.  He does not hold anything back and approaches each scene in a very specific way by giving the reader a full character description, even if the character is not around for long, a lot of thought and detail goes into each and every one of the characters in these stories and everyone has vital role to play.   The build up and ‘getting to know’ the victim is what makes each murder even more horrifying as the reader can associate more with them and sympathise at their plight, it is almost as if you (the reader) are waiting for the hero to swoop in at the last minute and rescue the damsel, but this rarely happens.

Broken lives and broken hearts are left in the wake of the ‘Stranger’ and Heck is once again left to pick up the pieces and reassess his life.  What is next for DS Mark Heckenburg?

Previously read in 2015.  Listened to via Audible 2018 – Narrated by Paul Thornley

Synopsis

Beware the stranger in the night…

Consigned to a remote valley in the Lake District, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is getting used to a quieter life—a far cry from the bloodbath of his former division, the Serial Crimes Unit. But wherever Heck goes, trouble is never far behind.

Unknown to Heck, ‘The Stranger’ has returned. Last seen on Dartmoor ten years earlier, this prolific serial killer has found a new home. As a dense, frozen mist descends on the Lakes, The Stranger returns to his old ways, starting with two young women lost high on the hills. Only one girl is ever found—barely alive—but able to confirm Heck’s worst fears.

As The Stranger lays siege to the remote community, Heck helplessly watches as the killer plays his cruel game, letting off his trademark call before viciously picking off his victims.

And with no way to get word out of the valley, Heck has no choice but to play ball… 

The Killing Club – DS Heckenburg #3 by Paul Finch

REVIEW

Since reading the first Heckenburg book I was hooked on this series.  Now I am addicted to listening to them on audio.

Killing Club sees the return of the Nice Guys but with a little International influence.  Once again DS Mark Heckenburg finds himself in the center of the action despite his superiors’ best attempts to keep him well away.  As Heck starts to put the pieces together on some rather gruesome murders that are happening all across the country, others closer to home are keeping him in the dark.

We see the return of some familiar characters and find an unsuspecting hero in the most unlikeliest of places.  Engaging and action-packed, this story has us roaming from the south to north, even to the far reaches of Scotland in an attempt to prevent The Nice Guys from claiming any more not-so-innocent victims.

A surprise is in store at the end, I did not see that coming!  Love Heck and will continue to read/listen to any future books in the series.

Narrated by Paul Thornley

Synopsis

DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is used to bloodbaths. But nothing can prepare him for this.

Heck’s most dangerous case to date is open again. Two years ago, countless victims were found dead – massacred at the hands of Britain’s most terrifying gang.

When brutal murders start happening across the country, it’s clear the gang is at work again. Their victims are killed in cold blood, in broad daylight, and by any means necessary. And Heck knows it won’t be long before they come for him.

Brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21059082-the-killing-club?ac=1&from_search=true)

Sacrifice – DS Heckenburg #2 by Paul Finch

Audio Edition Narrated by Paul Thornley

REVIEW

DS Heckenburg is back in this chilling tale of brutal, ritual murders and grotesque sacrifices.

Following in the wake of the Nice Guys Club, Heck and the SCU team are still catching bad guys, or at least putting them out of commission, when a series of ritualistic murders comes to their attention.  As the crimes become more gruesome, the public more demanding,  and the ritual dates ever closer, Heck knows they need to work hard and fast to stop more fatalities especially when one of their own goes missing.

This story is fantastically graphic in its descriptions with some very detailed imagery that gets stuck inside your head, at least it does mine.  This author has a great knack for bringing characters to life, and then ultimately killing them off in some hideous fashion! There is always a great deal of detail given to every character, victim and villian, which pulls the reader into the story and makes you feel connected to them.

DS Heckenburg is by far my favourite detective (I will probably say this in every review because, quite frankly, it deserves to be said).  Although he is not old, he also knows that he is not young either and running around the countryside chasing the bad guys takes it toll on him.  Being bitten by an attack dog didn’t help matters either, however in this case Heck seemed to gain the least injuries out of the lot of them.  I’m still hoping for a little bit of loving to come Heck’s way, he deserves some tenderness in his life, and I’m secretly cheering for Gemma. She may be a lioness but I think she still has a very big soft spot for our Heck, only time will tell.

Next in the Heckenburg series – The Killing Club

Synopsis

A vicious serial killer is holding the country to ransom, publicly—and gruesomely—murdering his victims.

When a man is burnt alive on a bonfire, it seems like a tragic Guy Fawkes Night accident. But with the discovery of a young couple on Valentine’s Day— each with an arrow through the heart—something more sinister becomes clear. A ‘calendar killer’ is on the loose.

Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is up against it. With a rising body count and the public’s eyes on him, Heck must find the killer before he executes more victims.

Because this killer has a plan. And nothing will stop him completing it.

A heart-stopping and grisly thriller that will enthrall fans of Stuart MacBride and Katia Lief.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17926971-sacrifice)