Gregg Hurwitz's The Kill Clause is like a James Patterson novel on steroids -- fast-paced and untamed, with opening chapters that set the mood, anguish and intensity that are maintained throughout the novel. Taut chapters, crisp dialogue and an overall sense of utter realism overflow from every page. Mystery fans and thriller fans will love this book. But be warned, it is not for the squeamish. There are some brutal scenes, and the story revolves around the abduction, rape and vicious murder of a seven-year-old child.
Tim Rackley is a U.S. Marshal. His wife, Dray, works for as a peace officer for the Sheriff's Department. Together they have a seven-year-old daughter named Ginny. Life as they know it explodes when they learn that the body of their daughter has been found.
Tim's partner, Bear, takes Tim to the scene. The Marshals leave Tim alone with the suspect, Kindell, giving Tim the opportunity to take justice into his own hands and kill the killer. But Tim can't do it. He believes too much in doing what is right. Instead, he turns Kindell over to be formerly arrested.
When Kindell's case is dismissed on a technicality, it is more than the Rackeys' marriage can stand. Dray is already upset with Tim for not killing Kindell when he had the chance, and now the child-killer is free to walk the streets, despite his priors for child molestation crimes.
After a Marshal-raid-gone-bad, Tim is left to hold the bag. The media jumps all over the issues of police and their unnecessary use of excessive force. When Tim's superiors do not go to bat for him, he turns in his gun and badge.
It is then that a commission approaches Tim. They want him to participate in a unique system for delivering justice. The current members of the group have all had loved ones murdered, and the killers in each case have been set free on technicalities. What the commission proposes is to reevaluate capital punishment cases from the past and decide for themselves if the suspects were in fact guilty. If they were to be found guilty, the commission would sentence them to death -- and the commission needs Tim to be the hatchet man. In return, they will revisit Kindell's case -- last -- giving Tim a second opportunity to kill the man responsible for torturing and murdering his daughter.
As you can imagine, what sounds great in a formal setting is often destined to fail. When things in the commission go wrong, they go deadly wrong. Tim finds himself trapped in moral combat with himself as he tries to right wrongs but justify his actions. Each case the commission works on brings him closer to the truth behind his daughter's death, but answers he accumulates along the way — though it doesn't seem possible — lead him to believe what happened to his daughter was actually worse than it originally seemed.
The Kill Clause is a packed full of emotional scenes of impact and power. Gregg Hurwitz knows how to create tension and how to build on it. Get things done around the house before you start reading, because once you start, nothing else will get done until you finish this book.