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While an off-duty military investigator is trying to save his ex-girlfriend from a ruthless drug baron, he learns that there is a serial killer at work in the British Army…


My first literary love is the hardboiled detective story, so it’s no surprise that my first contemporary novel is a hardboiled military mystery set in the British Army.  Bloody Reckoning was inspired by the combination of my own police experience with coming across Nelson DeMille’s The General’s Daughter a decade after its publication in 1992.


Although I had a long-standing interest in military history, I knew very little about the military police in general and military investigations in particular and began my research as soon as I’d finished the novel.  I quickly conceived of a three-part series, which would be set in the British, rather than United States, Armed Forces and would involve realistic set pieces rather than the over-the-top action typical of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher – and later David Baldacci’s John Puller – books.  Unlike Reacher and Puller, Garth Hutt bleeds.  Not only does he bleed, but he runs the risk of serious injury and might even die in the last novel (which might be the next, but might not).  Hutt is in fact much closer to his hardboiled precursors – Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole, Robert B. Parker’s Spencer, and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe – than his military contemporaries.


The series was originally intended to be set at the time of writing of the first draft, in 2003, but the extended British deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan produced a change in military culture that seemed to provide more scope for what I was trying to achieve with the character.  I was also working on an historical novel, The Architect of Murder, which was published in 2009 and is being re-released by Endeavour Press later this year, and I eventually decided on a 2013 setting.  Bloody Reckoning itself was originally intended as the second in the series, but the change of setting was better served by a change of starting point so I switched books one and two around.  Did I make the right choice with respect to the dating of the series and the order of the novels?  I think so, but the decision is ultimately for readers to make.  If you agree, look out for Garth Hutt’s return in 2018…


Rafe McGregor is the author of Bloody Reckoning, The Value of Literature, The Architect of Murder, six collections of short fiction, and two hundred articles, essays, and reviews.  He can be found online at @rafemcgregor.

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