Book Reviews: The Final Reckoning by Sam Bourne, Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane and Reapers by Frederick Ramsay

The Final Reckoning
Sam Bourne
Harper, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-187574-8
Hardcover

Truth and fiction merge in this thriller about survivors of the holocaust taking justice into their own hands, seeking out Nazis and murdering them.  It comes to light when the last survivor of DIN, the secret group of Jewish resistance fighters (yes, there were some) and concentration camp inmates after the war, travels to the UN in New York from London on his last mission and is shot by a security guard.

Tom Byrne, a former UN attorney now in private practice, is retained to go to London, visit the victim’s daughter, and attempt to smooth over any claim she might have.  Instead, he becomes both romantically involved with her and involved in a scheme that eventually has severe repercussions.

Written based on actual people and events of the past, the novel provides emotional ups and downs almost equal in intensity to the horrors of “the final solution.”  It concludes with a suspense that is equally gripping, with solid prose and excellent pacing, and is recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, March 2011.

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Moonlight Mile
Dennis Lehane
William Morrow, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-183692-3
Hardcover

There is no denying that Dennis Lehane writes unusual and well-plotted novels.  Yet Moonlight Mile is a difficult book to read, confusing and inconsistent.  It may be the last of the Patrick and Angie series, since they seem to be tired of the PI business, and he is leaning toward leaving the business to undertake a new endeavor.

The plot is relatively simple.  Patrick promises to look for a missing 16-year-old girl, one he had found many years before her present disappearance.  Angie, who was a full-time mommy to three-year-old Gabby, turns the child over to a neighbor to assist Patrick in the endeavor. Along the way, they encounter a bunch of psycho Russian mobsters to enliven the caper.

The characters seem like cardboard cutouts, and a lot of the dialog appears stilted.  These characteristics are unusual in a Lehane novel. Oh well, on to the next one.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, March 2011.

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Reapers
Frederick Ramsay
Poisoned Pen Press, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59508-806-2
Hardcover

There are some excellent South African novels.  Frederick Ramsay has a particular interest in Botswana, and this is the second novel in what appears to be a burgeoning series featuring an up-and-coming Inspector, Modise, and Ranger, Sanderson.  With the World Cup about to begin in South Africa, various unsavory sorts are spread all over the landscape and Botswana’s officials are up to their eyeballs trying to establish security for visiting dignitaries like a secret meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State and North Koreans, as well as Russian Mafia types seeking to move into the territory, especially a world class casino-hotel being buily by an American in the Chobe river.

To complicate matters, there are some environmental fanatics seeking to spread Orgonite, an ostensible source of energy, to the area, a couple of ne’er-do-wells seeking to cash in on a rare earth shipment, and some murders to occupy the protagonists, not to mention local bribery, smuggling and other side issues.

This highly readable series reflects the author’s deep knowledge of the country, perhaps derived from his son who is an official there. Ramsay authored the popular Ike Schwartz mysteries, which this reviewer also thoroughly enjoyed [and hope he hasn’t forgotten the sheriff].

Recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, March 2011.

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