The Reluctant Reckoner review by weeksti
by J. Lee
Age Range - Adult
Genre - Mystery
Five Star Award

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 23
Reviewer's Location - Detroit, Michigan, United States
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Imagine you are a middle class single parent, raising an 8-year old daughter after tragically losing your wife to cancer, working a 9 – 5 job for the past 23 years as an accountant.  Suddenly you are confronted by domestic terrorists who want you to steal secrets from your company which will help them extort millions from your company’s clients to fund their criminal ways. 

In The Reluctant Reckoner by J. Lee, Mark Richter lives in Arlington Heights, just outside Chicago. He is a middle-class, law-abiding accountant at the same firm for the past 23 years, and after tragically losing his wife to cancer, he is a single parent raising an eight-year-old daughter.  Mark Richter is perfect…perfect that is because he has a lot to lose.  He is blindsided when this vulnerability is exploited by a domestic terrorist group who threaten harm to his daughter if he does not help them steal money from his firm’s clients.  This violent group has already murdered people Mark turned to for help and he sees them stopping at nothing to get what they want from him.  And he finds that he, his daughter, and people he knows are under the constant surveillance of these cold-blooded killers.  Then suddenly the FBI appears and warns Mark that if he does not help them bring down this violent domestic criminal organization, they will arrest him and put him away in jail for years.  Trapped in an impossible dilemma without an obvious way out, Mark must choose between committing a crime again his firm and its clients or risking the lives of his daughter and others he loves to help the FBI bring down this domestic terrorist group.


I have rarely read a fiction like J. Lee’s The Reluctant Reckoner.  I couldn’t put it down and loved it!  It was just what I needed last weekend to help me escape life as I delved into this engrossing mystery.  

This novel is exceptional in several ways.  From the start of the story, Mr. Lee develops his mystery and captures your attention.  The evolution of the mystery is presented in a fast-paced fashion such that you are constantly presented with new circumstances and characters which lure you deeper and deeper into the suspense and complexity of the plot.  The character development is exceptional.  Besides Mark, we are introduced to several multi-dimensional characters, some who turn out to be different than what they seem on initial introduction in the story.  The storyline offers many unexpected twists.  Mr. Lee is a skillful writer who gives you just enough clues to what is happening but keeps you wanting more as he builds to a suspenseful climax.  The last quarter of the book built to this climax and kept me riveted to the pages as I was challenged to think of how things were fitting together as things unfolded.  I also liked how Mr. Lee tied up some of the loose ends at the very end of the story too.  Overall, I love Mr. Lee’s writing style.  It flows, especially the dialogue which I found to be realistic and easy to follow.

J. Lee’s writing is fantastic, and I am looking forward to reading some of his prior works too.  I can also see The Reluctant Reckoner as a movie because of the non-stop suspense and the relatable and genuine characters.  If you are looking for a great mystery this summer to take to the beach or just to curl up with this weekend, I highly recommend The Reluctant Reckoner.

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Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

This book contains some violence that would not be appropriate for preteens or younger.



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