Title: The Program
Author: Gregg Hurwitz
The series that started it all!
In this powerful follow-up to his action-packed thriller The Kill Clause, Gregg Hurwitz, the new maestro of pulse-pounding suspense, ratchets up the excitement with another sensational page-turner featuring Tim Rackley, a driven lawman motivated by honor, morality, and a deep sense of justice.
Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.
Tim becomes enmeshed with a diverse band of characters—from the charismatic, messianic leader T. D. Betters to a cult reject burnout to the intelligent yet highly vulnerable Leah herself—and finds himself caught in a shadowy landscape of lies, manipulation, and terror. At stake: innocent minds—maybe even his own.
July 2014 I was in the United States in a bad slump as I had been unable to pick and read a fictional book like I was once able to. Writing was still a major part of my life; I was anticipating my short story to be published anytime soon while I attempted to do some reading in the form of short eBook stories. It was during this time that we went shopping and one of the places we visited was a Thrift shop. I wish I could tell you which one or which state it was in, but I just cannot remember. What I do remember though, was picking up this book without a cover or synopsis, opening to a random page in the book and reading the first page my eyes landed on. That was all it took. I was hooked. I was drawn in. I was buying that book; and for a $1 I was pretty happy with that deal.
The Program follows detective Tim Rackley who has been hired by a Hollywood producer to recover his daughter Leah, who seems to have been drawn into a cult. What follows is a heart racing, adrenaline fueled dive into the world of brain-washing and cult mentality as Detective Rackley discovers hidden secrets, devious manipulations, intense action and drama, all wrapped around the charismatic leader of the cult T.D Betters. The members of the cult are as loyal as they are dangerous, and the sense of purpose imposed upon them, it is easy to understand why they would remain loyal, to the Program.
This book really got me back into reading, reminded me why I loved it so much and the funny thing is, there was no cover, no synopsis, no author details. Nothing. It was just a brown/black hard cover with the name of the book on the spine. And yet from the traumatic opening scene, right into the depths of cult psychology and to the final conclusion within the cult compound, Gregg Hurwitz drew me in with his words and didn’t let go even to this day. I still mentally assess any gathering I find myself in, where there is a leader riling up the crowd and his “lieutenants” on the side egging us on.
The writing is fluid and moves at a decent pace. I was moving between the scenes anticipating the next scene and next twist in the tale. The characters are real, with believable issues they are facing, making for a realistic story about characters you care about. And just because Tim Rackley is the main protagonist doesn’t mean he is invincible, as you find later out in the story, and it’s these kind of story progressions that made the book that much more enjoyable.
I would definitely read this book again, and plan on getting Kill Clause the first book in the series, Troubleshooter the third in the series and Last Shot the fourth and final book.
Rating: A free-willed 5 out of 5