The Final Reckoning ★★★☆☆

The Final Reckoning
Sam Bourne

Genre(s) | Thriller, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating | 3.80
Humpo Show Rating | 3.10
Published: 2008
Publisher: Harper

The Final Reckoning Sam Bourne

After receiving intel that a suspected suicide bomber is approaching the United Nations building in New York, a security officer shoots and kills the suspect. Following some quick investigating, the man that has been killed is found out to be a Holocaust survivor…not the usual identity of a terrorist. Tom Byrne, a former UN lawyer, is hired to smooth things over with the man’s daughter, however he quickly gets ensnared in the mystery surrounding the man’s reasons for being at the UN and his incredible past; Tom also gets the feeling that some people do not want the truth to come out…

Bourne has thoroughly engrossed me in his previous two books that I have read, The Righteous Men and The Last Testament. He helped to fill the Dan Brown void that I had after hungrily consuming everything that Brown penned. Those previous two books combined mystery, history and action brilliantly, and the stories have stayed with me longer after reading them. The Final Reckoning has some of the same ingredients, but it doesn’t quite live up to the high standards that have been set.

There are some fantastic and worthy sections of the book that are characteristically Bourne-esque, or should I say Jonathan Freedland-esque (The Guardian writer’s real name). The passages in regard to Gerald Merton/ Gershon Matzkin were fascinating, harrowing and very readable. By presenting Matzkin’s life through a notebook was a great touch by Bourne, as we were able to get a first-hand account of life for Jews during the late 1930s, the Second World War in Europe, and the events after the war. The notebook helped to capture the emotion that he felt, the incredible stories that get lost in the magnitude of The Holocaust and the mass murders at Auschwitz, Dachau and Treblinka, to name but a few. By positioning the historical stories with such a deep and real emphasis, it helped to give the events occurring in the modern day greater gravitas.

Tom journeys to London where he meets Rebecca Merton, Matzkin’s daughter, initially to smooth over things regarding the murder of her father. But instead, the pair get pulled in to a story that begins 70 years ago in Lithuania. As I have mentioned, the story regarding Matzkin and his life during the Second World War and after makes for riveting reading, Bourne has pieced a great story together here. However, the main area of annoyance for me – as it prevented this book from being as good as his others – is the implausible and at some times, awful nature of the ‘romance’ between the main two characters.  I did not enjoy a single scene where they were getting intimate or the many mentions of Tom becoming aroused at anything Rebecca did or said.

The Final Reckoning has a good story, particularly when the emphasis is on the character that gets killed off in the opening chapter. The story is hamstrung by a poor romance, as well as being about 80-120 pages too long. I will pick up a Bourne book in future, but this one has not compelled me to go out and grab it immediately.

The Humpo Show | Richard

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