Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Some time ago, I was sent an email by a woman asking how I saw the four Rackley books fitting together. I've called the series an "action meditation" on vigilantism because, after all, it's not every day one can coin a pretentious oxymoron. But the books really do each offer a different take on the issue, and each one represents a different step of Tim's development in confronting this issue.

I suppose since all the Rackley books deal with vigilantism, I wanted to portray what kind of trauma would work on an upstanding deputy and make him consider other options. Tim is an ethical, above-board deputy, and it’s not just Ginny’s death that makes him go outside the law; it’s the failure of the courts. He realizes eventually that the courts, while flawed, represent the best hope; more precisely, that the other options present even more problems.

The Kill Clause is about (among other things) Tim's embracing vigilantism, and his ultimate rejection of it.

The Program is about Tim, a man of action, having to act within the law to bring down a cult that victimizes people while keeping within legal limits.

Troubleshooter is about Tim’s internalizing Dray’s values (her consistent rejection of acting outside the law).

Last Shot is about Tim confronting himself, as embodied in Walker Jameson.

Of course, there was no roadmap when I was writing. There was no template or outline that I filled in. Most of this - as with many other matters in my writing - I only realized after the fact. When I'm dug in well to story and character, I rarely consider themes. They just manage to work themselves out.

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