Publication Date: November 16, 2012
In Troubleshooter by Rod Lindsey, Ezra Hooten is a U.S. Marshall with a reputation for doing what he has to do to take down the bad guy. Hoot has spent the better part of his career trying to catch his childhood best friend, Norman, a “scalp collecting psychopath.” They were bound by blood. Hoot and Norman both loved Donna in childhood. Donna went on to marry Norman which was a bad choice as he brutally killed her a year into their marriage. Hoot is determined to track Norman down and put him back in jail before he retires and follows Norman to a strip club where Donna’s doppelgänger, Angela, works. It seems Norman sees her as Donna reborn and is determined to kill her again. Can Hoot catch Norman and save Angela?
Troubleshooter is a gritty and down-to-the-bone crime novel. Ezra Hooten is the kind of character John Wayne might have played but with an update to The Streets of New York (or Spokane, in this case). The violence is very direct and no-nonsense and seems to ask the reader, “I got from point A to point B so what’s your problem?” Readers who are sensitive to graphic violence and aren’t into graphic sex may want to avoid this novel.
I am never a fan of the doppelgänger twist in a story but found it worked well in this case. Norman is bat-stuff crazy and Lindsey goes to great lengths to illustrate his insane capacity for cruelty, self-delusion and paranoia. The really good baddie is an art and Norman is a masterpiece. As much as Hoot wants to catch Norman there’s a nostalgia that infuses his storyline. A life shared and a common bond forged. Hoot is not a good guy by any means. He lives by a code with which many would not agree but he has an honorable goal and one cannot help but cheer for him.
As well as Lindsey’s characterizations were presented, his settings were vivid and real. Lindsey takes us all over Washington, across the country and across the world. The characters and scenes melded in such a way that the locals were really a third main character. Locations were vivid, beautiful, dangerous and harsh and all presented to enhance the action and move the story along.
The graphic sex in this novel seemed out of place and almost as though it was to jump on a current trend bandwagon. Sex sells and nothing sells books better these days to the people who read the most (middle-aged women). In such a competitive field one cannot fault an author for ticking a few boxes in potential markets. Would sex have sold the novel to me, a middle-aged woman? No. I do, however, know people who would buy just for that aspect. Why not, as an author, introduce a selling aspect to a genre where it might not be so commonplace.
Troubleshooter is a very good crime drama by a talented author. It is the first book in the “Ezar Hooten” series.
If Troubleshooter by Rod Lindsey sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy on