My enormous thanks to Ruth Killick Publicity for a copy of Mr Todd’s Reckoning by Iain Maitland in return for an honest review. I was thrilled to receive a copy as I thought Iain’s thriller Sweet William was sensational and you can read my review of that book here.
Mr Todd’s Reckoning
Norman Bates is alive and well… He’s living just next door
Behind the normal door of a normal house, in a normal street, two men are slowly driving each other insane. One of them is a psychopath.
The father: Mr Todd is at his wits end. He’s been robbed of his job as a tax inspector and is now stuck at home… with him. Frustrated. Lonely. Angry. Really angry.
The son: Adrian has no job, no friends. He is at home all day, obsessively chopping vegetables and tap-tap-tapping on his computer. And he’s getting worse, disappearing for hours at a time, sneaking off to who-knows-where?
The unholy spirit: in the safety of suburbia, one man has developed a taste for killing. And he’ll kill again.
My Review of Mr Todd’s Reckoning
Malcolm Todd and son Adrian live in uneasy companionship.
I don’t really want to write a review of Mr Todd’s Reckoning because it is such a fabulous book I don’t think I’ll be able to do it justice.
Iain Maitland’s prose is sparse, gripping and mesmerising. The tension in Mr Todd’s Reckoning builds and builds so that I could hardly bear to glance away from the page in cased I missed a clue, a nuance, or a single superbly crafted syllable. I didn’t think Iain Maitland could surpass his debut, Sweet William, but although Mr Todd’s Reckoning is very different, it is equally as spellbinding and gripping. The plot races along with elements that surprise and shock, entertain and enthrall making for a heart thumpingly fabulous story.
Behind the compelling, dark and disturbing narrative is a brilliantly observed character in Mr Todd whose opinions and justifications are so wonderfully presented – especially with the wry humour that surfaces on occasion. Adrian too is depicted vividly with his obsessive behaviour and his run-ins with the police. Although one of these men is a psychopathic monster, both men engender understanding and pity in the reader which makes for a very interesting and somewhat disturbing read. The other more minor characters of Leon, Josie and Lily add to the atmosphere because the reader is never quite sure what the outcomes for them might be. A limited number of characters means there is a feeling of claustrophobia and menace that I felt in a visceral fashion.
The setting of an ordinary two bedroomed bungalow in suburbia is genius. Iain Maitland makes sublime use of the concept that none of us knows quite what goes on behind other people’s closed front doors so that the possibilities presented in Mr Todd’s Reckoning are quite terrifying. The stifling heat of the summer adds to the oppressive atmosphere so that the reader experiences the pressure-cooker tension with the characters.
I loved the blurring of morality, of what constitutes a crime, of the impact of nature and nurture and all the themes woven into this sparkling, mesmerising book. Mr Todd’s Reckoning is absolutely magnificent! Don’t hesitate to buy it. I thought it was amazing.
About Iain Maitland
Iain Maitland is the author of Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), a moving book of letters written to his son, who suffered from depression and anorexia. Iain is an ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, and gives regular talks about mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.