Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dead Reckoning recounts woman’s tale of meeting her father’s murderer

October 4, 2017 by Nadine McCully, contributing writer

Carys Cragg’s Dead Reckoning is an emotional and compelling memoir about meeting her father’s murderer. While also looking at the injustice that surrounds the case, Cragg gives an in-depth view into an intense process, with details about her thoughts and experiences as she meets the man who murdered her father 20 years earlier.

Cragg’s active language and concrete details invite the reader to feel the author’s emotions; this makes the book very personal and vivid.

Dead Reckoning shows both sides of the story: the victim’s family’s and the murderer’s. Cragg shows her feelings about talking to Sheldon—the murderer—and the impact the loss of her father had on her life. She also relates how Sheldon feels now, along with the details leading up to the murder.

There are a couple moments when Cragg goes between describing her surroundings and describing her thoughts. This can be confusing, as the boundary between thought and the environment are not always clear.

In between each of the chapters, she tells a heartfelt memory of her father; these give a glimpse into her family life and her father’s personality.

As a youth counsellor, Cragg gives an interesting perspective on the justice system, which fits perfectly with Sheldon’s background and how the murder could have been prevented.

Most of the suspenseful memoir consists of the conversations between Cragg and Sheldon. The organization and pace of the story also make the novel a page-turner. There is just enough new information in each chapter to make the reader want to know more.

Dead Reckoning is a good book that shows both sides of a crime story while also showing the emotional process of meeting someone who has had a large—and negative—impact on one’s life. This memoir is very engaging and compelling, thanks to the sentimental content and the intriguing scenario behind it.

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