Tim Rackley Foreword

So I have this tattered yellow notebook of the spiral variety from high school, the kind which sheds chads of paper at the faintest rustling. As an aspiring author, I used to write down snatches of dialogue, plot ideas, and my first clunky attempts at scenes. There might be a few opinions in there as well about unattainable girls and other matters social, the dark nights of the soul that a prep school kid believes he’s suffering through.

But one scrawled thought stayed with me all these years. It asked: What if there was some group devoted to cleaning up criminals who got off due to loopholes in the justice system?

A cool, high-concept idea. But high-concept ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s when they collide with the right character that they actually have the legs to turn into a story. And writing a tale about another off-the-tracks loose cannon? Well, it seemed banal.

So I finished high-school. Went off to college. Studied in England while completing my first thriller. I was fortunate enough to sell that book. I published a second. And a third. And then, one day, I met the character to go with that decade-old scrawled note.

I don’t recall the precise moment, but I remember the thoughts striking, one after another: What if there was a guy who was one of the most ethical law enforcement officers you could imagine? Maybe his father was a con artist and this guy spent his life craving the straight and narrow the way a preacher’s son might crave a card game. And then, what if something awful, truly awful knocked him off course? Wouldn’t that be a vigilante we’d be more interested in? One who started from a position of vigorous moral authority? One who doubted his actions at every step, who never gave in fully to the dark urges, who might even, at some point, change his mind?

Tim Rackley.

And Dray. Dray was my answer to every annoying cop’s wife I ever read in a book or saw on TV or film—the hysterical ones who always complain that the job’s killing her husband. That’s he’s taking too many risks and why can’t he just stop caring so much, damnit, and focus more on home.

Andrea Rackley, she ain’t like that. She’s a sheriff’s deputy, tough as hell, a resource in her own right. Quite often, she’s more level-headed than her husband. Their relationship is one I admire, and it taught me about marriage before I was married. They banter and argue, fight and make up, but always, always get a kick out of each other.

I wrote four Rackley books: The Kill Clause (2003), The Program (2004), Troubleshooter (2005), and Last Shot (2006). They’re old friends of mine now, Tim and Dray. They’re family. And I’m glad that you’ll have a chance to see them arguing through the particulars of a case, staring down danger, doing what they do.

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The Tim Rackley e-books will be available for $2.99, but only for a limited time:

1/15 – 1/21: THE KILL CLAUSE Amazon, B&N

1/22 – 1/28: THE PROGRAM Amazon, B&N

1/29 – 2/4: TROUBLESHOOTER Amazon, B&N