The Kill Clause

The Kill Clause

by Gregg Hurwitz

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060530396
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/31/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 127,958
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed author of The Tower, Minutes to Burn, Do No Harm, The Kill Clause, The Program, and Troubleshooter. He holds a B.A. in English and psychology from Harvard University and a master's degree from Trinity College, Oxford University. He lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

The Kill Clause
A Novel

Chapter One

When Bear came to tell him that Ginny's body had been found raped and dismembered in a creek six miles from his house, that her remains had required three biohazard bags to depart the scene, that they were currently sprawled on a pathologist's slab awaiting further probing, Tim's first reaction was not what he would have expected of himself. He went ice cold. There was no grief -- grief, he'd learn, takes perspective, recollection, time to unfurl. There was just the news slapping him, dense and jarring like face pain. And, inexplicably, there was embarrassment, though for whom or what, he was not sure. The heel of his hand lowered, searching out the butt of his Smith & Wesson, which of course he wasn't wearing at home at 6:37 in the evening.

To his right Dray fell to her knees, one hand clutching the door frame, fingers curling between the jamb and hinges as if seeking pain. Beneath the razor edge of blond hair, sweat sparkled on the band of her neck.

For an instant everything was frozen. Rain-heavy February air. The draft guttering the seven candles on the pink-and-white-frosted birthday cake that Judy Hartley held poised for revelation in the living room. Bear's boots, distressingly carrying the crime-scene mud, blotting the aggregate porch, the pebbles of which Tim had meticulously smoothed on his hands and knees last fall with a square trowel.

Bear said, "Maybe you want to sit down." His eyes held the same guilt and attempted empathy Tim himself had used in countless situations, and Tim hated him unjustly for it. The anger dissolved quickly, leaving behind a dizzying emptiness.

The small gathering in the living room, mirroring the dread emanating from the hushed doorway conversation, gave off a breath-held tension. One of the little girls resumed recounting Harry Potter Quidditch rules and was hushed violently. A mother leaned over and blew out the candles Dray had lit in eager anticipation after the knock on the front door.

"I thought you were her," Dray said. "I just finished frosting her ... " Her voice wavered hard.

Hearing her, Tim registered an aching remorse that he'd pressed Bear so hard for details right here at the door. His only way to grasp the information had been to try to contain it in questions and facts, to muscle it into pieces small enough for him to digest. Now that he'd taken it in, he had too much of it. But he'd knocked on enough doors himself -- as had Dray -- to know that it would have been only a matter of time until they'd known it all anyway. Better to wade in fast and steady and brace against the cold, because the chill wasn't going to leave their bones anytime soon, or maybe ever.

"Andrea," he said. His trembling hand felt the air, searching for her shoulder and not finding it. He couldn't move, couldn't so much as turn his head.

Dray bent her head and started to weep. The sound was one Tim had never heard. Inside, one of Ginny's schoolmates matched her crying -- confused, instinctive mimicry.

Bear crouched, both knees cracking, his form broad but huddled on the porch, his nylon raid jacket sweeping low like a cape. The yellow lettering, pale and faded, announced U.S. DEPUTY MARSHAL in case someone cared. "Darlin', hold on there," he said. "Hold on."

His immense hands encircled her biceps -- no small feat -- and drew her in so her face pressed against his chest. Her hands clawed the air, as if afraid to set down on something for fear of what they might do.

He raised his head sheepishly. "We're gonna need you to... "

Tim reached down, stroked his wife's head. "I'll go."

The three-foot tires of Bear's chipped-silver Dodge Ram hiccupped over seams on the roadway, shifting the broken-glass dread in Tim's gut.

Composed of twelve square miles of houses and tree-lined streets about fifty miles northwest of downtown L.A., Moorpark was renowned for little more than the fact that it housed the state's largest concentration of law-enforcement residents. It was a low-rent country club for the straight arrows, a post-shift refuge from the streets of the off-kilter city they probed and fought for most of their waking hours. Moorpark radiated an artificial fifties-TV-show feel—no tattoo parlors, no homeless people, no drive-bys. A Secret Service agent, two FBI families, and a postal inspector lived on Tim and Dray's cul-de-sac. Burglary, in Moorpark, was a zero-growth industry.

Bear stared dead ahead at the yellow reflectors lining the center of the road, each one materializing, then floating downward in the dark-ness. He'd forgone his usual slouch, driving attentively, seeming grateful for something to do.

Tim sifted through the mound of remaining questions and tried to find one to serve as a starting point. "Why did you ... why were you there? Not exactly a federal case."

"Sheriff's department took prints from her hand ... "

From her hand. A separate entity. Not from her. Through his sickening horror, Tim wondered which of the three bags had carried away her hand, her arm, her torso. One of Bear's knuckles was smudged with dried mud.

" ... the face was tough, I guess. Jesus, Rack, I'm sorry." Bear heaved a sigh that bounced off the dash and came back at Tim in the passenger seat. "Anyways, Bill Fowler was in the handling unit. He firmed the ID -- " He stopped, catching himself, then reworded. "He recognized Ginny. Put in a call to me, since he knows how I am with you and Dray."

"Why didn't he do the advise next of kin? He was Dray's first partner out of the academy. He just ate barbecue at our house last month."

The Kill Clause
A Novel
. Copyright © by Gregg Hurwitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

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Kill Clause 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Upon learning of the rape and dismemberment of his beloved daughter Virginia, US Marshal Tim Rackley went ice cold as if his heart was sucked out of him. He knows nothing will ever be the same. His wife Dray is in shock, but Tim no longer feels except frustration and anger and offers her nothing and doesn¿t seeks her comfort to ease his ire. Realizing the man he believes is the culprit will walk only brings more rage.

The Commission, an encounter group that shares Tim¿s outrage that the system enables killers to walk, recruits the former cop. They do not care about his adjustment to life without Ginny. Instead he becomes one of their hitmen providing vigilante justice to those animals who escaped. However, as the haze clears and he realizes some of his peers are loose cannons like the crazed Mastersons, Tim invokes THE KILL CLAUSE that eliminates his involvement, but first he must take care of rampaging Commission killers hurting anyone in their path.

This is an exciting vigilante thriller that blends a delightful look at Tim the executioner on the job within a comic book Hollywood feel (Bronson¿s Death Wish). Readers will understand Tim¿s reactions and subsequent actions to Ginny¿s horrific murder as he and the Mastersons insure gore and blood flows freely through the veins of the plot. Though not for everyone, Greg Hurwitz purveys an action packed thriller starring a hero seeking justice in all the wrong places.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some authors are so expert that you find yourself becoming the protagonist, facing all of the problems faced by that character. Hurwitz is that good. But, the protagonist in this book faces such deep dispair, such overwhelming problems, that it is difficult some times to pick up the book and continue reading. When you work up the courage to do so it is well worth it. I'm sure I will read every book Gregg Hurwitz has written or will write.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read in years. I couldn't put it down. I anxiously await Gregg Hurwitz's next books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Intense plot and emotions of grief. Unique situations. No dull spots. A good read.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Reading backwards on Gregg Hurwitz novels, I did like this one, but it is my least favorite of the bunch so far. Did he get better as he moved along? I think he did. But, clearly he started from a pretty good place.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was well written, and I enjoyed the ending, however, there were just too many dead spots for me. I can appreciate the emotion that the author was trying to portray, I just thought it was a bit much considering the books genre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is easily the best of the Gregg Hurwitz books. While The Tower, also a favorite is a wonderful first book, it was a bit dark and gory. The Kill Clause has a hero who we can enjoy, actually like, as he goes though recovery from the death of his daughter and resultant separation from his wife. Obviously a lot of research went into this project and the plot line is exciting and complicated. Others have shared the plot line, I'll just say it was GREAT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Hurwitz's best book yet. After making it through the first, harrowing pages, I could not put this book down. The action is non-stop, yet it is offset by a very interesting character study of a father, and how he copes with loss, grief, revenge and justice. I read this book in two sittings.....and that was only because I had to go to work. A fantastic read.
debavp on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Very Good! I recalled scenes of Hal Holbrook in Star Chamber all throughout the book. Vigilante justice with some interesting twists. While I did predict a bit of the outcome early on, there were enought twists and sub plots, along with a fast pace that kept me interested to the end.
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