Cover image for The fifth angel
The fifth angel
Green, Tim, 1963-
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New York : Warner Books, 2003.
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pages cm
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From all appearances, Jack Ruskin is a mild-mannered and well-respected lawyer practicing in New York. But he is also living every parent's nightmare: His teenage daughter has recently been the victim of a brutal and horrific attack by a sexual predator. As Jack tends to her, his constant sorrow and pain gradually grows into hot-blooded rage. It turns out that her attacker has a long history of sexual crimes and - as is the case with many repeat sex offenders - was allowed back on the streets to wreak more harm once he did his time in jail. As Ruskin's rage builds, he is convinced that it is finally time to take matters into his own angry hands - but how far will he go to make certain that justice is done?

Author Notes

Timothy Green was born in Liverpool, New York on December 16, 1963. He received a degree in English from Syracuse University in 1986. He was the Atlanta Falcons' first-round draft pick in 1986 and played for them through 1993. In 2002, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in 1994 and began writing books for adults including The Dark Side of the Game, False Convictions, and A Man and His Mother: An Adopted Son's Search. He also writes children's books including Football Genius, Baseball Great, The Big Time, and Unstoppable. He has served as a commentator for the NFL on Fox.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Attorney Jack Ruskin has seen better days. His only daughter, Janet, was abducted and abused and now barely survives in a mental institution; his wife left him, blaming him for Janet's plight. Besides work, the only thing keeping him focused is his growing need to exact revenge on the monsters who brutalize children, particularly when he learns that Janet's abductor is about to be released for "good behavior." Thus begins Jack's vigilantism--if the law can't put these guys away, then he will, and for good--as he targets random child abusers from jurisdictions across the country. Sensing a common perpetrator as convicted-and-released child abusers begin to show up dead, the FBI assigns agent Amanda Lee to work with the locals to tie the pieces together. Amanda has some baggage of her own, coming off a leave of absence after having witnessed her former partner's murder, and she's miserable playing the dutiful wife to her spineless husband. Though the story is gripping, who's to like here? The murdering do-gooder? The agent who resents her husband and kids? The local cops who either turn a blind eye to what's happening or just want another victory for their war chest? Fortunately, the ending ties the pieces together cleanly, if not predictably, making for a solid thriller with a thought-provoking moral dilemma at its core. --Mary Frances Wilkens

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like Green's previous thriller, The Fourth Perimeter, this book opens with an engaging premise that becomes less credible as the novel unfolds. Jack Ruskin, a senior partner in a prominent New York law firm, is beside himself with rage; his 15-year-old daughter is semicatatonic after being raped by a repeat sex offender, and the criminal has gotten off with a minimal sentence. Jack decides to take the law into his own hands. He hunts down and kills a randomly selected sex offender in upstate New York. Driven by bloodlust, Jack then embarks on a series of similar vigilante executions as he travels around the country on business for the firm. He falls in love with Beth, an empathetic young counselor at his daughter's hospital, but there's a close call when Beth nearly catches him surfing the Web for likely victims. He offs another criminal while the he and Beth are on an idyllic getaway in the Adirondacks. As the bodies pile up, FBI agent Amanda Lee is assigned to track down Jack. Amanda has her own interest in the case-her partner was recently killed by a child abuser resisting arrest. The briskly paced thriller culminates in a revealing showdown when Amanda traps Jack on Long Island. The action is engaging but between the lurid goings-on and the lurid prose ("His little girl was a shell with scars on her body and holes punched in her veins to feed her drugs"), the story verges on pulp. Most fans of Green's earlier novels will be satisfied with this one, but some may wish he had brought a bit more craft and restraint to his compelling premise. Agent, Esther Newberg. (Feb. 18) Forecast: Readers may recognize the multitasking Green from his jobs as Fox Sports commentator, USA Today columnist, CNN legal analyst and host of Comedy Central's Battlebots; major television and print advertising will further up his profile. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Jack Ruskin's 15-year-old daughter is sexually attacked and consequently institutionalized, his frustration with legal efforts to arrest and prosecute sexual predators evolves into an obsession to stop these perverts by whatever means necessary, including murder. And, as a lawyer, he's got the knowledge, the legal resources, and the Internet savvy to track down his quarry and commit the perfect crime. FBI agent Amanda Lee is following the killings of sex offenders, which finally leads to a confrontation with Jack; the surprising ending shows her the absolute horror of these crimes. While neither this nor Green's other legal thrillers (The Fourth Perimeter; The Letter of the Law) are quite on par with those of such masters as John Grisham or John Lescroat, Green's writing has improved, and his intense, fast-paced plot will keep readers riveted. Strongly recommended for most popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/02.]-Jetta Carol Culpepper, Murray State Univ. Libs., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.