Morrow, August 2004, 24.95, 352 pp.
A killer murdered U.S. Marshal Tim Rackley's little girl and all he wanted was vengeance. Acting on that desire got him tossed in jail and the loss of the job he loved. He now spends his days as a security guard, unfilled and empty. Will and Emma Henning come over to his house asking him to kidnap their daughter Leah from a cult who has her brainwashed. Will has enough clout to get him reinstated as a marshal and he takes the job.
Figuring Leah was recruited on her college campus so Tim hangs around there and connects with her handlers who invite him to a self-improvement course. They are targeting wealthy and confused people and Tim plays that part so well he is invited to a three day retreat at an unspecified location. He finds members turn their own fortunes over to the leader of The Program and he sees them kill a former member they turned away. He breaks into the files and sees all manner of crimes the group has committed.
He eventually leaves with Leah whose trust he gained. Time discovers no judge will issue a warrant on the evidence he's got. A courageous Leah and Tim go back to the retreat and put themselves in danger to find the evidence that would destroy the cult before they have a chance to ensnare more victims in their web.
THE PROGRAM is a thriller that teaches the reader about the insidiousness of cults and their terrible methods of recruitment and control. This time Tim is determined to work within the law to break up a group that has committed all manners of crimes. Gregg Hurwitz has written a work that is frightening because it is based on actual cults and their methods to gain and lose members.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner