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On the bookshelf: The Reckoning

Operation Wormwood: The Reckoning is available through Flanker Press and in Port aux Basques at the Butterfly Book Boutique.

Operation Wormwood: The Reckoning is a rare treat, offering a host of interesting and well-rounded, compelling characters caught up in bizarre circumstances.

The novel’s protagonist is Sgt. Nick Myra of the RNC in Newfoundland. Myra is investigating the mysterious illness called Wormwood that appears to affect only pedophiles. Symptoms of Wormwood include severe nosebleeds, excessive pain and insatiable thirst. With the help of Cst. Morgan and other colleagues within the RCMP, Myra is hot on the trail to discover who or what is responsible for all the patients succumbing to this dreadful disease.

Father Peter Cooke is just back from Rome and he intends to bringing people, all people, all races, all sexes, straight, gay or otherwise, rich or poor back to the Catholic Church, especially the young people.

Kathie Fagan, formerly Sister Pius of the Catholic Church, has recently retired and is planning to make good use of her time by starting a support group for members of the force and the medical workers who deal with trauma, including job-related suicide and PTSD. Her son who she gave up for adoption, Father Charles Horan, had taken his own life after handing over important church files to Sgt. Myra that help him on his quest.

Caught up in the whole mess are prominent and respected members of society, including Kevin Macy, Child Psychiatrist, who faces serious charges involving child pornography.

Minister of Health, Ronald McKenzie ends up on the Wormwood ward but signs himself out when his entourage shows up to whisk him to the airport on a private plane. Typically he leaves a sizeable donation to the hospital.

Joseph Franklyn, a 19-year-old also ends up on the ward and there is no evidence to suggest he is a pedophile. In fact, he is the victim of one – his mother – so why is he showing symptoms?

The story really takes off once Kathie Fagan begins settling in to retirement, moving into the house her mother left her. After the renovations have been done she is looking to do some good for people. In light of her son’s death she wants to give back. Since Sgt. Myra is one of those suffering from severe PTSD and she feels this is a good place to start.

Meanwhile the hospital staff are working hard to keep up with the influx of patients that keep showing up with symptoms of Wormwood. There is talk that maybe it is not God’s doing after all, that maybe there is a serial killer on the loose, but how is it that this is happening all over the world? Is it a ring of murderers connected across the globe?

Darlene Kettle is originally from Port aux Basques and now lives in Nova Scotia. One of her favourite things to do is curl up with a glass of wine and a good book. Her opinions are entirely her own. You can reach her by dropping an email to

It comes to light that “thujone”, a derivative of the wormwood plant, when administered in small intermittent doses causes all of the symptoms that the patients have been exhibiting. Who is making this serum and how is it getting administered to the patients under medical care? Who decides who will be next?

It is has also been discovered that the Catholic Priests who hear confessions from these pedophiles keep a secret list. But where are these lists kept? And how is thujone being transported around the world?

All these questions needs answering and Sgt. Myra is a compelling protagonist doing just that. His journey is one of mystery and madness, one that takes the reader to an ending that no one could foresee! This book is a must-read!

I give it 5 stars!

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