Cover image for The program
The program
Hurwitz, Gregg Andrew.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2004]

Physical Description:
359 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Gregg Hurwitz grew up in the Bay Area. While completing a BA from Harvard ('95) and a master's from Trinity College, Oxford in Shakespearean tragedy ('96), he wrote his first novel. He was the undergraduate scholar-athlete of the year at Harvard for his pole-vaulting expertise.

Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, international bestselling author of The Tower, Minutes to Burn, Do No Harm, The Kill Clause, The Program, Troubleshooter, Last Shot, The Crime Writer, Trust No One, They're Watching, You're Next, and Tell No Lies. His books have been nominated for numerous awards, shortlisted for best novel of the year by International Thriller Writers, and nominated for CWA's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. In addition to novels, he also writes comics for DC. He penned PENGUIN: Pain and Prejudice, and was recently tapped to write BATMAN: The Dark Knight.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Leah Henning is a cult member, but mother and stepfather want her back. They can't penetrate the Program's secrecy through conventional means, so they turn to fired deputy sheriff Tim Rackley. Rackley, who killed the serial predator who dismembered his own child ( Kill Clause, 2003), agrees to become a Program recruit in order to extract the Hennings' daughter. The Program is initially subtle in luring recruits, then very sophisticated in using peer pressure, temperature variations, diet, and intimidation to keep its new members and secure their assets. Leading the Program is TD, a charismatic charlatan able to stay ahead of the law by convincing people to surrender their assets willingly. Hurwitz has obviously done his cult homework: the initiation seminars are presented in chilling, very disturbing detail. Even if Rackley does rescue Leah, he wants to bring the Program to an end and put TD in jail. The legal wedge he finds to do it is extraordinarily satisfying. A gripping read from start to finish. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hurwitz's fifth novel continues the story of Tim Rackley, the U.S. marshal introduced in 2003's The Kill Clause. Tim and Dray, his wife, are slowly coming to grips with the loss of their seven-year-old daughter, Ginny, whose kidnapping and brutal murder was the focus of the previous novel. A more conventional series hero would be wreaking vengeance, but Tim's grief is plausibly amorphous. It wasn't always so. Rash vigilante action caused him to lose his marshal's job in The Kill Clause, but he's given a chance to get his old job back when a brusque Hollywood producer begs him to find his daughter, Leah Henning, a missing Pepperdine coed. Leah may have been kidnapped by an unidentified cult, and Tim must bone up on mind control and manipulation. Hurwitz illustrates Tim's lessons via Leah herself, whose step-by-step indoctrination is as creepy as it is believable. Intending to persuade Leah to leave with him for deprogramming, Tim infiltrates the Program, facing off with charismatic cult leader TD Betters, who has created a seductively logical society based on self-help tenets. Once Tim's inside, he realizes that rescuing Leah isn't enough: he's determined to blow the Program inside out. Grounded in character and believable detail, Hurwitz's thriller engages on every level. Agent, Matthew Guma. (Aug.) Forecast: The cult plot is a little shopworn, but Hurwitz gives it enough new twists to keep readers hooked. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Lawman Tim Backley is back, charged with rescuing a Hollywood exec's daughter from the clutches of a cult whose capacity for mind control is trulymind-blowing. With a six-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The Program A Novel Chapter One Dray walked briskly through the kitchen and entry, wiping barbecue sauce on her olive sheriff's-department-issue pants, which she still hadn't had time to change out of. She pulled open the front door, and the image hit her like a truck -- husky detective in a cheap suit thumbing a bound notepad, dark Crown Vic idling curbside behind him, partner waiting in the passenger seat, taking a pass on the advise-next-of-kin. The detective crowded the door, imposing and cocky, which further added to her disorientation. "Andrea Rackley? Mrs. Tim Rackley?" Ears ringing, she shook her head hard. "No." She took a step back and leaned on the entry table, displacing a tealight holder that rolled off the edge, shattering on the tile. "No." The man's forehead creased. "Are yo u all right, ma' am?" "I just talked to him. He was in the car, heading home. He was fine." "Excuse me? I'm not sure what you ... " He lowered his pad, which she saw was not a detective's notepad but a PalmPilot encased in fine leather. Her darting eyes took in that his suit was not cheap but a fine cashmere, the car was in fact a maroon Mercedes S-class, and the partner was not a partner at all but a woman with a wan face, waiting behind like a well-trained dog. The flood of relief was accompanied by a torrent of sentence frag-ments even she couldn't keep up with. "You don't come to the door of a law-enforcement family all somber asking for a next-of-kin ID already lost someone in the family my God -- " She leaned shakily against the wall, catching her breath. A draft sucked the doorknob from her grasp. Startled, the man skipped back, lost his footing at the step, and spilled backward, landing hard on his affluent ass. Dray had a split second to note the pain and alarm register in the wide ovals of his eyes before the door slammed shut. Tim stifled a yawn as he pulled into his cul-de-sac, the starch-stiff security-guard monkey suit itching him at the collar and cuffs. His baton sat heavy on his equipment belt, along with a low-tech portable the size of a Cracker Jack box, which seemed like a toy company's idea of a radio rather than the thing itself. A big comedown from his beloved Smith & Wesson .357 and the sleek Racals he'd used as a deputy U.S. marshal before his own shitty judgment in the wake of his daughter's violent death had forced him from the Service. Yesterday he'd chased down a teen vandal at the facility where he worked on the northern lip of Simi Valley. The pursuit represented the second time he'd broken a sweat in the eleven months he'd been guarding RightWay Steel Company's storage warehouses; the first had been unglamorously instigated by a roadside-stand enchilada mole he'd injudiciously wolfed down on a lunch break. Eleven years as an Army Ranger, three kicking in doors with the U.S. Marshals Service warrant squad, and now he was a locker-room commando with a diminished paycheck. His current coworkers got winded bending over to tie their shoes, which seemed to come undone with such alarming frequency that he'd spent the majority of the monotonous morning debating whether to volunteer proficiency training on the matter. The old man's groan he'd inadvertently emitted while stooping to pick up a dropped key outside Warehouse Five had leached the superiority right out of him, and he'd spent the afternoon valiantly refraining from doughnuts. He was reminding himself that he should be grateful for any work when movement on his walkway drew his attention. A man stood appraising his suit, dusting off the pant legs as if he'd just taken a spill. Tim accelerated sharply, almost clipping a parked Navigator with tinted windows. He pulled into his driveway and hopped out as the man smoothed his clothes back into place. A woman had climbed out of the Mercedes at the curb and was standing meekly at the end of the walk. Tim approached the man, keeping the woman in his field of vision. "Who are you? Press?" The man held up his hands as if conceding defeat. He still hadn't caught his breath. "I'm here to ... speak with ... Tim Rackley. Marshal Tannino gave me your address." The mention of his former boss stopped Tim dead on the lawn. He and Tannino hadn't spoken for the better part of a year; they'd been very close when Tim worked under his supervision, but Tim last saw him in the midst of a storm of controversy Tim had brought down on himself and the Service. "Oh," Tim said. "I'm sorry. Why don't you come in?" The man patted the seat of his pants, wet with runoff from the sprinklers. He glanced at the door nervously. "Truth be told," he said, "I'm a bit afraid of your wife." The kitchen smelled sharply of burned chicken. Dray had forsaken her corn on the cob for a three-finger pour of vodka. "I'm sorry. Something about it -- the knock, his expression -- put me back there, the night Bear came to tell us about Ginny." She set her glass down firmly on the stack of overdue bills a t the counter's edge. Tim ran his fingers through her hair and let them rest on her shoulders. She leaned into him, face at his neck. "I thought my heart would just give out there at the door. Good-bye, Andrea, hasta la vista, sayonara, I've fallen and can't get up." Her voice was raised and, Tim was fairly certain, audible to the couple sitting on the couch one room over. "He's a friend of the marshal's," Tim said softly. "Let's sit down, see what he wants. Deal?" Dray finished her vodka in a gulp. "Deal." They shook hands and headed into the living room ... The Program A Novel . Copyright © by Gregg Hurwitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Program: A Novel by Gregg Hurwitz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.