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Final Reckoning, The by Sam Bourne
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Harper Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061875786
Date: 30 August 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

A terrorist appears at the United Nations and is quickly shot by UN Security Forces. It turns out the terrorist is an old man. Why was he there? Former UN Lawyer Tom Byrne seeks to unravel the mystery and finds a whole lot more than he ever expected in The Final Reckoning by Sam Bourne.

The Final Reckoning by Sam Bourne is a great murder mystery. It opens as a terrorist is about the attack the United Nations in New York City. The UN Police are able to stop the attack and neutralize the terrorist, in other words, kill him. At the autopsy, they find out the terrorist is Gerald Merton, and is a British citizen and an old man. Anxious to save the UN's image UN Council dispatches his friend and former UN lawyer, Tom Byrne, to London to meet the man's only family, his daughter, and "make the problem go away".

As Tom gets to London, the plot thickens. He finds the daughter, Rebecca Merton and sees the Merton's diary in her apartment. As Tom stealthily reads the diary, he discovers that Merton was originally Geshon Matzkin from Lithuania, and is a Holocaust survivor. This makes the issue much more sensitive and maintaining the UN image even more important.

Rebecca is a crafty woman and will not easily settle with the UN. She and Tom work together to unravel the mystery and figure out why Merton was in New York at all. They run through various hoops, including Rebecca's apartment being ransacked and visiting Merton's few surviving friends.

A strange list of names appears on Rebecca's doorstep. As Tom and Rebecca investigate, it turns out to be a list of former Nazis. Through the diary and all their various other investigations, Tom and Rebecca discover that Merton was part of an organization of Holocaust survivors, named DIN, who sought out and killed various Nazis after World War II because they were unhappy with the methods of punishment from the world justice system. It still leaves the question, "Why was Merton at the UN?"

The plot has many twists and turns, and the suspense is excellent. As Tom and Rebecca uncover clues, it leads to more questions. The end is a big surprise. Merton's diary is a big portion of the book. It details his life during the Holocaust, the murder of his family, and how he served as a spy for the Jewish underground. Some of it is pretty graphic. The diary also highlights many of the efforts of DIN and how Merton stalked, and eventually murdered his victims and never got caught.

All of the characters, Tom, Rebecca and the various officials at the UN, have their flaws, which makes them much more interesting and human. I thoroughly enjoyed The Final Reckoning. The plot twisted so many times, that I was completely surprised numerous times.

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