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The Reckoning
John Madden #4
Rennie Airth

August 14, 2014/ ISBN 978-0670785681
Mystery / British / Police Procedural / Contemporary

Reviewed by LJ Roberts


First Sentence: As he was fitting a new fly to his hook, Oswald Gibson looked up and saw two figures on the ridge above, both of them carrying what looked like fishing gear over their shoulders, long, cylindrical cases of the kind that you could fit two sections of a rod in.

A bank manager is shot execution-style while fishing. A family doctor is murdered in the same with the same gun. DI Billy Styles, former protégé of his now-retired boss John Madden, receives a letter from the second victim in the name of Madden, is mentioned. After a third man is killed, the pieces begin to fall into place and they realize they must find the killer before more are murdered.

It’s great to have an opening that hooks you into the story from the very beginning. The descriptions provide a lovely, pastoral sense of place and then…you’re quickly turning to the next page.

The author presents a very good segue justifying bringing the now-retired John Madden into an active police investigation. Madden is a protagonist who is angst-free, and happily married to his physician-wife, Helen.

It’s nice to have a group of policeman who respect one another and work well together. Yes, there’s the antagonistic senior officer, but that’s to be expected. What is also nice, particularly considering the time period, is to introduce D.C. Lilly Poole; a smart, capable, female officer actively involved in the investigation. Although there are a lot of characters in the story, each is very distinct and memorable; each plays a significant role. The author has a good voice, with natural dialogue and occasional wry humor.

The Reckoning has such a good plot. The author takes us down several trails, all of which add to the suspense and an excellent climax.

Reviewed 2015