by David Putnam
Bruno Johnson, a young and inexperienced LA County Deputy Sheriff, is trying to balance his life as the single father of a two-year-old daughter and his responsibilities as a cop in the Violent Crimes Unit. When he and his impetuous partner Ned Kiefer are put on loan to the FBI to help out with a "special problem," Bruno finds himself in a real bind. The FBI hands Bruno and Ned a case that the Bureau prefers not to touch--a group of teenage criminals that are being run by a nefarious criminal known as The Darkman. Bruno discovers the identity of The Darkman and is stunned to realize that he is the perpetrator from a lingering unsolved case--a triple homicide that continues to haunt Bruno. The problem is how to stop the juvenile criminals without killing kids, and at the same time, avoid being killed by the kids--or by The Darkman--and keep his reckless partner Ned under control.
This is terrific. A page-racing first person narrative.
It’s Los Angeles, at a time of pagers and phone boxes, and a young black cop, Bruno Johnson, is raising his two-year-old daughter, left with him by her mother. Bruno lives with his own pop, a postal worker who seems to know everyone in their old neighbourhood. Out of the blue, Ned, an old pal, turns up with his four-year-old daughter, asking to stay after splitting up with his wife.
Within no time Bruno – a Deputy Sheriff in the Violent Crimes Unit – and Ned have been assigned to a four man team, a special unit set up by the FBI, to investigate the man behind a group of armed juveniles that have been recruited to steal. Cross-sworn as US Marshals, the unlikely team (which includes an aging ex-Marine) have been loaned to the feds because it’s a known hankless task, coming up against armed youths who’ve been corrupted.
An old flame of Bruno’s, who’d saved his life before being sent away, is also on the case which eventually leads to a mysterious and dangerous murderer known as The Darkman. The FBI don’t like the cops and the feeling’s mutual, not helped by the cops being able to do what the feds couldn’t, or by Chelsea and Bruno’s closeness.
There are several tense set pieces, including the delicate handling of a volatile shoot out, and a shocking murder and aftermath. Bruno is a likable lead, both a man of the people and enforcer of justice. His friends/informers, together with his own reputation for honesty, give him an advantage when it comes to dealing deep inside the community. His friendship with Ned, and Ned’s backstory, make for a dramatic slice of the plot in this instalment of the Bruno Johnson series. A 5 star read which comes from the pen of a man who has seen it all before – in real life!
Authentic dialogue, authentic crimes, authentic characterisation, wrapped up in a bedazzling prequel thriller.
About the Author
Best-selling author David Putnam comes from a family of law enforcement and always wanted to be a cop. During his career, he did it all: worked in narcotics, served on FBI-sponsored violent crimes teams, and was cross-sworn as a US Marshall, pursuing murder suspects and bank robbers in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Putnam did two tours on the San Bernardino County Sheriff's SWAT team. He also has experience in criminal intelligence and internal affairs and has supervised corrections, patrol, and a detective bureau. In Hawaii, Putnam was a member of the real-life Hawaii Five O, serving as Special Agent for the Attorney General investigating smuggling and white-collar crimes. The Reckless is the sixth in the Bruno Johnson series and the second of the "young" Bruno prequels. Putnam lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mary.