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Reconstruction    by Mick Herron order for
by Mick Herron
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In a suspense-filled narrative that is stylistically singular and remarkably effective, Reconstruction, the fourth novel from Mick Herron, draws readers into a pulse-pounding crisis during which a gunman takes innocent hostages at the South Oxford Nursery School.

The dangerously nervous gunman, identified as Jaime Segura, had narrowly escaped a predawn capture at a roadside rest area during a confrontation with two operatives from British intelligence; now, having forced his way into the nursery school immediately prior to the school's opening for the day, Segura holds a gun on a teacher (the resourceful Louise Kennedy), the school's custodian (the difficult Judy Ainsworth), and a father (the surprising George Trebor) and his three-year old twin sons (the bewildered Gordon and Timmy).

When the local police hear of the incident, they converge on the scene with full-force (eager to protect the hostages but willing to engage sharpshooters and cause collateral casualties if necessary); and when MI6 begins getting further involved, tensions (especially between law enforcement officials) escalate to an unsafe boiling point.

Then, Ben Whistler, an MI6 operative who has a special connection to the gunman (through the mysteriously missing Miro Weiss, the gunman's lover), gets himself intimately involved in the explosive stand-off by gaining access to the room where the gunman and the hostages are hiding. However, at that point, everything in the South Oxford Nursery School becomes even more volatile.

As a carefully crafted thriller with an intricate plot and plenty of surprises, Reconstruction sizzles and dazzles as readers slowly become more fully aware of the unique relationships between complex characters in this complicated tale in which treacherous crimes, lethal secrets, dangerous duplicity, unchallenged passions, and paralyzing fears threaten the lives of the innocent and the guilty.

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