Book Review & Giveaway: Dead Reckoning by Lea O’Harra

Dead Reckoning by Lea O’Harra

Publisher: Sharpe Books-UK (Sept 29, 2022)
Category: Crime Fiction, Family Life, Kidnapping
Tour dates: January 5-31, 2023
ISBN: 979-8361831937
Available in Print and ebook, 289 pages

Dead Reckoning


Indiana, January 2010.

It’s a hot summer’s day in 1984 when twelve-year-old Gilly and her friend Sally find a dead new-born in a shoebox in the cemetery of their tiny town. Deciding to keep their discovery a secret, they bury the body in Gilly’s yard.

The results are disastrous. Flowers are mysteriously left on strollers. Two local children disappear and end up dead. A suspect is arrested and confesses, blaming the deaths on the girls’ having taken the dead baby.

Gilly grows up but is haunted by what’s happened. As a young woman, she flees the town and its memories, going all the way to Japan.
Returning with her Japanese husband Toshi to attend her mother’s funeral, Gilly finds the past is not past. She’s threatened, and someone is putting flowers on strollers again.

When another child is abducted, Gilly knows she must discover the truth about what happened all those years ago before more lives are lost.

Guest Review by Sal

Sally and I found a dead baby girl in a box in the cemetery. She’s pretty. She looks like Cassandra.” 

Told through flashbacks to both 2010 and 1984, ‘Dead Reckoning’ by Lea O’Harra is the kind of novel that makes you say “Oh!” aloud when everything finally clicks into place. The main character of this story, Gillian, is an American expat living in Japan who returns to Indiana to attend her mother’s funeral. Gillian has a strained relationship with her family, specifically her mother and older brother, Nick, and she has not been back to Indiana for many years. However, there are two reasons that she hasn’t returned. Not only does she struggle to get along with her family, but, at the age of 12, Gillian was somewhat involved in solving two local child murders and seeing the guilty party sent off to prison for life.  

You might think that would make her a hero in her small town of Byron and to some people there, you’d be right. But to others…well, you’ll have to read the story to find out.  

The last thing that Gillian expects upon returning to Byron is to find out that the man who committed the murders is now free and that the strange events that preceded the murders have begun happening again around town.  

While dealing with the death of her mother, the bullying of her older brother and the ending of her marriage to her husband, Toshi, Gillian begins receiving threats that make one thing very clear: there are certain people who do not want to see her back in Byron, Indiana.  

I don’t want to spoil anything else, because you need to read this one yourself to find out what happens! I read this book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down! O’Harra’s writing shines as well as her character development.  The flashbacks are easy to follow and oh, the plot! The plot and its pacing are exquisite! 

About the Author

Lea O’Harra has published three crime fiction novels set in rural modern-day Japan: Imperfect Strangers (2015); Progeny (2016); and Lady First (2017). These comprise the so-called ‘Inspector Inoue Murder Mystery’ series originally published by Endeavour Press (UK). She has also had a story included in Best Asian Crime Fiction published by Kitaab Press (Singapore) in 2020.
In the spring of 2022 Sharpe Books reissued the Inoue mystery series and, in September 2022, published Lea O’Harra’s fourth novel, Dead Reckoning, a stand-alone set in her tiny hometown in the American Midwest.



This giveaway is for 3 print copies and is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on February 1, 2023, midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Praise and Awards

Praise Dead Reckoning by Lea O’Harra

“Both a drama and a thriller, full of twists and human insight.”-Thomas Waugh

“The immediate declaration of past events,  the discovery and concealment of the dead baby, provides a gripping start to this book.
The story is simple yet powerful, immediately drawing the reader into a world that identifies the challenges of growing up in a small town in Indiana.
The book tackles the casual racism that is often overlooked, with great clarity. Although this is a crime novel it is also a powerful story about how a single childhood event can influence the future.
It compels you to share the history and become part of the small-town network. Through a nexus of characters, we see how relationships that are made in our formative years, affect our lives.
The story is more than a crime novel. It also serves to gives a fascinating insight into life in a small town in the USA, through the eyes of somebody who never really wanted to return.”-ReallyPoshScouser, Amazon

Praise Lea O’Harra

“Lea O’Harra offers us a whodunnit set in a Japan labouring under the weight of cultural imperialism, a country where the characters find that their friends and lovers are really strangers  and imperfect ones at that…-Nick Sweet, author of the Inspector Velázquez series

’With her deep knowledge of Japanese culture, superb writing, and sensitivity to human foibles. O’Harra has crafted a cross-cultural whodunnit sure to please Japanophiles and mystery lovers alike.”-Suzanne Kamata, author of Losing Kei

Awards Lea O’Harra

Autumn 2017 “Lady First” was awarded ‘finalist’ status in the crime fiction section of the Beverly Hill Book Awards.

Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Jan 4 Kickoff & Interview

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Jan 5 Review & Guest Post

Bookgirl Amazon & Goodreads Jan 6 Review

Mark Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Jan 9 Guest Review

DTChantel Amazon & Goodreads Jan 11 Review

Kari From the TBR Pile Jan 12 Excerpt

Jody Amazon & Goodreads Jan 16 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape Jan 17 Guest Review

Denise Amazon & Goodreads Jan 18 Review

Becky Life as Rog Jan 19 Review

Lisa’s Writopia Jan 19 Guest Post

Lynelle Inspire to Read Jan 20 & Excerpt

Leslie Storeybook Reviews Jan 23 Review

Ruth Media From the Heart Jan 24 Review & Excerpt

Kari From the TBR Pile Jan 25Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Jan 26 Guest Review & Guest Post

Lisa’s Writopia Jan 27 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Jan 30 Review & Excerpt

Bee Book Pleasures Jan 31 Review


3 thoughts on “Book Review & Giveaway: Dead Reckoning by Lea O’Harra

  1. teddyrose1 January 17, 2023 / 3:37 pm

    I am so glad Sal enjoyed ‘Dead Reckoning’! Thanks so much for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sleepygirl2 January 17, 2023 / 4:26 pm

      You’re welcome. It sounds like a book I would enjoy reading!


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