THE RECKONING is another terrific horror/thriller novel by Jeff Long, the author of my one of my favorite horror works, THE DESCENT. I recently reread it (it was originally published in 2004) and liked it even better the second time around.
Like THE DESCENT, THE RECKONING reads like Michael Crichton decided to do a horror novel, though Long is far superior to Crichton in my opinion in building strong characters. I don’t know if I’d classify it as thriller fiction with horror elements or the other way around, but who cares because either way, it works for me.
Molly, a photojournalist, travels to Cambodia to document the recovery of bones belonging to dead and missing American servicemen fighting during the Vietnam War. After a dig goes bust, she and two searchers meet a mysterious stranger, who tells them where they can find an entire lost platoon. They jump at the chance–Molly to get her story, her companions to recover the dead–and lead a team into what they discover is a lost city in the jungle. There, the ruins brood and sleep, haunted by ghosts, and Molly learns that here, the war never really ended…
Long’s is one of my favorite writers. He’s a master of producing wonder, ticking time bombs, likeable and capable heroes dealing with an escalating catastrophe, and a sort of visceral and moody horror that keeps you reading. If you haven’t checked out his work yet, I highly recommend it.