When the Killing Starts is the sixth installment in the Reid Bennett series by Ted Wood. Police Chief Reid Bennett was looking forward to his vacation time from Murphy’s Harbour. He is back down in Toronto with his girlfriend Freda and they have plans. At least he thought they did. Instead, an acting gig has come up for her and he isn’t about to get in the way or ask her to turn it down. She is going to be gone for at least a month and he isn’t at all happy about it.

Not only is he not at all happy about her going away, he isn’t sure what their future holds. He isn’t sure about his old job either as he thinks it might be time to move on from being in charge at Murphy’s Harbour. Doing what next is a question as all he knows is police work and serving in the military.


His knowledge of the military service and what it really means is about to come in handy as he will also be spared boredom while Freda is gone. Thanks to the mention of his name by a guy who is a big shot with a private security firm, Bennett is offered a job by a woman named Norma Michaels. Her adult son, Jason, has run off and joined one of those private mercenary outfits.  This one is called “Freedom for Hire.” Mom is sure her son has no clue what he is getting into and for 25k she wants her boy brought home alive and in peace.


Considering the kid is twenty and comes from a wealthy family, Bennett is sure the young Jason does not have a clue. Not that Bennett really wants the job, but the payday is the same as what Freda is going to get from her acting gig and he most definitely wants to pony up his share in the relationship. He also thinks his client is lying, but just isn’t sure about what or how exactly.


Bennett agrees and soon learns that those in charge of Freedom for Hire are bad guys with little in mind but taking money from others. Good thing Bennett has skills for dealing with guys like that as he learned his lessons well while serving in the jungles of Vietnam. The Canadian wilderness might have little to do with the steamy jungles of Vietnam, but men are men anywhere and skills do matter. It also does not hurt to have the police dog, Sam, at his side.


When the Killing Starts is another solidly good installment in the series. Mercenaries are old hat now, but for the time the book was published back in 1989, they were still relatively new in the mainstream consciousness. Little is done to further deepen the Bennett character though at this point one does not really expect that to happen. Deep in the series, When the Killing Starts is just one of those books where you sit back and settle in for the ride.


When the Killing Starts

Ted Wood

Charles Scribner’s Sons


ISBN# 0-684-18331-5

Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)

280 Pages


Material supplied by way of an Interlibrary Loan filled by the staff of the Paris Public Library in Paris, Texas and sent to the good folks of the Dallas Public Library. My sincere and appreciative thanks to all involved.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2018

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