RogerBW's Blog

A Merciful Silence, Kendra Elliot 23 January 2022

2018 romantic mystery, fourth in the Mercy Kilpatrick series. Skeletal human remains turn up in a blocked culvert, with a pattern of injury consistent with a killer from twenty years ago. And in this small town, many of the people who were involved back then are still around now.

Back to relatively straightforward mystery in this fourth volume: maybe the guy locked up for the killings wasn't the guilty party, and/or maybe someone is imitating those killings for some reason. The prepper angle is almost missing here, except as minor background detail; we do however get a bunch of Sovereign Citizens, whom Elliot attempts to portray as something other than entirely stupid and violent, and almost succeeds.

There is one piece of evidence that nobody seems to notice: perimortem damage to teeth and a skull would look quite different from long-postmortem damage, even some years later. This isn't crucial to the plot but it's a pity.

Meanwhile, romantic hero and police chief Truman gets kidnapped, and Mercy falls apart, which may be terribly emotional but to me was unsatisfying; the Mercy we've met in these books seems like someone who would get on with stuff and fall apart afterwards. Yes, I realise that after a point there's nothing more she can get on with and she just has to wait, but even so, it felt a little off.

It's an odd situation but the tension works and the resolution is satisfying. It's quite a dark book but it has several characters who are bright spots (and some of the good guys don't necessarily go all-out to cooperate with the police, which is refreshing).

All right, it would have been nice to acknowledge even in passing that the guy who didn't do it is now going to be released, having lost twenty years of his life to false imprisonment, but it's an axiom of this series that Cops Are Good and I think one just has to accept this while reading.

An afterword mentions that this was intended to be the final volume (and it ends with a proposal of marriage), but the series has been doing well enough that Elliot will write (has written, now) two more. I shall continue.

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Previous in series: A Merciful Secret | Series: Mercy Kilpatrick | Next in series: A Merciful Fate

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