Title: The Reckless
Author: David Putnam
Publication Date: 5th February 2019
Genre: Thriller and Mystery
Bruno Johnson, a young and inexperienced Deputy Sheriff at LA County, is trying to balance his life between his two-year-old daughter Olivia and his work at the Violent Crimes Unit. When Bruno is taken off a case and assigned to a new one managed by the FBI, he is teamed with his ex-partner Ned.
Ned has a daughter – Beth. Bruno is shocked to hear that things are going well between Hannah and Ned, after all, the duo caught her sleeping with a now ex-cop JB. Bruno, Ned, Coffman, and Gibbs are now Deputy Marshalls and are assigned a case code-named Burnt Eagle. With over a dozen bank robberies in the California coast in the past two years, the FBI is clueless as to who the mastermind is.
Bruno meets Chelsea, an ex-flame, who is now working in the Operation Burnt Eagle team. When the FBI decides to give these four cops a case that they haven’t been able to solve, the foursome solve it in less than an hour. Shell-shocked and humiliated, the FBI tries to bring in the legal mishmash that Bruno and his teammates pooh-pooh away.
Bruno learns from his boss Wick that FBI has plans to make them the scapegoats in case something goes wrong. Amos Leroy Gadd is recruiting rich kids from basketball courts and turning them into bank robbers. Bruno learns that Gadd is none other than the Darkman. A four-year-old unsolved case in which Bruno was the only witness, that too by accident, and the only thing that Bruno saw was the silhouette of the killer, hence the name – Darkman.
The problem is to catch Gadd without harming the kids. This is a herculean task given that the kids are always heavily armed. Meanwhile, things are not going well in Ned’s personal life. Will Bruno be able to solve this case as well as save his partner from doing the worst?
The Reckless is a page-turner. It keeps you hooked on to the story till the end. A fast-paced action-packed story with an emotional twist. The way the story started, with Bruno and the team catching thieves like snapping fingers, got me thinking. Snap, snap, there you go, robber #1, snap, snap, robber #2. I was like, the FBI guys are really making a fool of themselves and this Bruno guy has some ego that needs to be tamed! But… as the story proceeded, I realized that snap, snap, isn’t going to work anymore. With a twist that I did not expect, the story took a 180-degree turn!
Just when I thought that Bruno and the guys have cornered Gadd, there was a shocking twist! And to add to this mess was Ned’s personal life. Ned’s two-year-old daughter – Beth was being abused by JB. It was heart-wrenching to read about the abuse – JB used a cord of some kind to belt Beth below her feet – the one place where people cannot see the signs of abuse. Thanks to Xander’s (Bruno’s dad) presence of mind, he noticed that something’s wrong with Beth.
With someone close to Bruno dying a painful and early death, Bruno is devastated. He vouches to take revenge. With the FBI poking their nose and cops standing out for their own. Bruno is torn apart. And to add to Bruno’s dilemma is Chelsea. Saying anything more about Chelsea’s role in the story is only going to spoil the suspense.
I liked the story. It was something different from all the thriller stories that I have read so far. Also, Ned’s character is based on the real ‘Ned’ in the author’s life. Bruno’s character stands out from the rest. With an emotional roller-coaster in his personal life, he has to suck it up and continue his work as if the world is dependent on him.
I received an ARC from Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.