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Troubleshooter    by Gregg Hurwitz order for
by Gregg Hurwitz
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Troubleshooter follows The Kill Clause and The Program in a gripping series centered on U.S. Marshall (and ex-Army Ranger) Tim Rackley and his tough Deputy wife Dray. Their small daughter was murdered, and Tim fired in the first episode. He took on a cult for a group of vigilantes, and was reinstated in the second.

Now, Andrea is pregnant again, and they're both involved after colleagues of Tim's are killed in the dramatic escape of Laughing Sinner biker gang nomads, who do the conglomerate's dirty work. Tim, nicknamed Troubleshooter at City Hall, is put in charge of a task force to bring in the bad guys. The bikers, involved in drugs and weapons smuggling, are attempting to win a monopoly on meth by taking out the rival Cholos gang. Tim figures 'Something big's in the works' to warrant the nomads' break from custody, but what is it?

There's a slaughter of Cholos and escalating public fear. Then, Dray is shot attempting an arrest, and Tim wonders why she didn't back off. Even as she lies in a coma, he argues with her in his head and usually takes her advice. The puzzles stack up. Why was a Mexican girl taken by the gang? Why is a deposed Sinner murdered? What's the observing FBI agent's agenda? The plot mix explodes into a conflagration of drugs, terrorists and greed. And, as always in a Hurwitz thriller, the action is unrelenting with regular near misses and hits to the good guys.

As the villains are taken away, Rackley ponders 'how disappointingly undersize monsters were in ordinary light.' Gregg Hurwitz delivers another sure winner in Troubleshooter. So far, he's developed three tough topics - a lawman's reaction to his child's death, the infiltration of a cult, and now the violent world of biker gangs. I can't imagine where he'll take Tim Rackley next, but I'll be lining up to read the book.

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