"THE KILL CLAUSE is like a literary Law & Order, without the commercials. Bottom Line: Killer read."
[Hurwitz] is a highly inclusive writer. He has done abundant research into U.S. marshals, and he lays out their culture skillfully. He digs deep into Rackley's agonizing break with his wife, and he writes well about violence and the specifics of some terrible crimes … This is an impressive start to what is billed as a new series about Tim Rackley.
A motley crew of ex-cops and fringe characters, who have all lost loved ones and seen the villains walk, are organized into a vigilante hit squad by a media personality who sees this as a good launchpad for his books in this first thriller in a projected series by Hurwitz (Do No Harm; Minutes to Burn). The squad-or the Commission, as it calls itself-chooses as executioner Tim Rackley, a US marshal and former Special Forces muscle who is vulnerable to their offer, having just lost his only child in a gruesome attack ("her remains had required three biohazard bags to depart the scene"). Devastated, Rackley leaves his job and his wife, a county sheriff, to take the assignment, disappearing into the murk of L.A. to begin a series of high-tech hits on high-profile criminals who have slipped through the system's cracks-including the man who, Rackley believes, killed his daughter. But Rackley suspects the Commission of fuzzy logic after one unclear target assessment leads two of the Commission (a murderous pair of bulked-up ex-cop brothers called, none too subtly, the "Mastersons") to go on a rampage, invoking the Commission's "kill clause"-the immediate (and brutal) dissolution of the squad. Caught between his former law enforcement colleagues and the Mastersons' rising bloodlust, Tim must risk one more vigilante act to put justice back in the hands of the courts. The high gore level and farfetched premise give the novel a cartoonish edge, but Hurwitz's deft descriptions of Tim's methods of disappearing, breaking-and-entering, and stealing identities are convincing, and his fast-paced plotting will keep readers riveted. Tim is a promising series hero, with his multitude of skills and conflicted loyalties, and Hurwitz is off to a fine start with this first installment. Major ad/promo; 5-city author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Michael Crichton's heir apparent," enthuses the publicist, but decide for yourself. After his daughter is murdered and her killer freed on a technicality, U.S. Deputy Marshall Tim Rackley looks for justice by joining forces with others who want the death of a loved one avenged. But his plan backfires, and it looks as if he might end up dead himself. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Lawman father of a murdered child turns vigilante: a near-miss thriller about revenge and redemption. In a gripping opener, the Rackleys-Tim, a US Marshall, Dray a deputy sheriff-receive news of their daughter's murder while they're arranging the seven candles on her surprise birthday cake. Within hours, the Moorpark Police (it's an LA suburb) have a man in custody, semiretarded Roger Kindell, against whom the physical evidence is overwhelming. Kindell confesses, and Dray's deputy sheriff pals offer Tim a collegial opportunity: "I got a throw-down," one of them says helpfully. An emotional basket case, Tim is tempted but finally resists-though later, when Kindell goes free on a technicality, he experiences intense and bitter regret. Enter ex-cop Franklin Dumone, enigmatic harbinger of second chances, with a kind of Faustian bargain: If Tim will join a certain ad hoc group, Kindell could be his again. It's a motley enough bunch, six people who've all been up-close and personal to terrible crimes only to see the perpetrators dodge between the laws. They're called the Commission and see themselves as a highly efficient, totally incorruptible judge and jury dedicated to redressing appalling miscarriages of justice. And they've tapped Tim to be their executioner. Ordinarily, Tim can suss out a vigilante no matter how dissimulating the sheep's clothing, but just now, blinkered by rage and grief, he allows the feral in him to be controlling. His wife doesn't like him for it, and neither does his best friend and partner. In time, Tim himself will see the thing clearly, but by then the die will have been cast. Or will it? A brilliant beginning goes draggy and rhetoric-impeded. Hurwitz (Minutes toBurn, 2001, etc.), wanting to write a novel of ideas that's also a fast-paced thriller, gets hung up between the two, as have many other good writers before him. Agent: Matthew Guma/Arthur Pine Associates