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Sunday 25 March 2018

‘Bloody Reckoning’ by Rafe McGregor

Published by Endeavour Press Ltd,
25 August 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-54958651-4 (PB)

Captain Gareth Hutt of the York and Catterick Special Investigation’s Branch of the Royal Military Police is staying in his flat in York. Theoretically, Gareth is catching up on holiday that he has neglected to take during the last couple of years whilst he was serving in Afghanistan. His old friend Maikel, a Fijian paratrooper with Special Forces Support Group, is recovering from being shot in the arm and is staying with Hutt.

One evening Sian Mathews, Gareth’s former lover, arrives unannounced on his doorstep. Sian is in a bad state both mentally and physically. She is also in fear for her life because she has run away from her current partner, Mick Bell, a powerful drug baron who does not take kindly to being crossed.  Hutt rashly assures Sian that he will free her from Bell and his cronies.  Maikel falls for Sian and is only too pleased to guard her whilst Hutt deals with the controlling Mike Bell and his extensive entourage of thugs. 

At around the same time as Sian comes to Hutt for help, Hutt receives a second request. This time it’s from Detective Sergeant Alex Lawson of Central Area Command in York. Lawson wants Hutt to help him investigate the death of a young soldier who has been found naked and shot in the head in a local wood. Hutt agrees to help the detective provided that Lawson helps him to dissuade Mike Bell from pursuing Sian.

Gradually, as more historical soldier victims emerge, it becomes evident that there is a serial killer in the army. The race is on to find the shooter before anyone else is killed.

Set in Leeds and York there is a very good sense of place in this book. Life is never dull when Hutt and his friends from the military police are around. As we follow Hutt’s often violent and foolhardy activities and witness his ill-considered brand of “suicidal heroism”, it’s not difficult to see why Sian went to him for help, nor why she never wanted to marry him - she would never have had a moments peace of mind.  This is a great read for those who enjoy a fast-paced book that revolves around the activities of the Military Police and manages to reveal just some of the personal difficulties that may arise from joining that organisation. 
Reviewer: Angela Crowther
Rafe McGregor is the author of nine books, including The Value of Literature, and two hundred articles, essays, and reviews. His most recent book is Bloody Reckoning. He can be found online at @rafemcgregor.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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