“I’m not going to get shot again,” Chicago bounty hunter Evan Maitland tells his antique-shop partner on his way out of town to retrieve a bail-jumping killer. Right.
Ex-con Thomas Hicks shot two men who were going to beat him within an inch (or less) of his life; got nabbed and arraigned; and high-tailed it out of town, leaving his bail bondsman high and dry. He’s considered so dangerous that Maitland is able to double his usual percentage of the bond. A newspaper item leads him to Union City, Kan., a sleepy little burg whose police chief, Jason Bender, seems utterly indifferent to the prospect that a killer’s blown into town. Maitland assumes that Bender’s just looking for a bribe, but he’s missing the main story. The chief has his hands full covering up a double homicide his underlings have just committed—an especially tricky job now that the sister of one of the victims has arrived on a mission to learn the truth. Intent on tying up every possible loose end, the cops plot rape and murder, dupe and waylay Maitland, hijack his prisoner and, yes, shoot at him several times until it’s clear that Thomas Hicks is probably the least dangerous person in Union City.
Even more tough, expertly staged action than Hunt’s strong debut (Maitland, 2005). The pace lags only during rare moments when the characters stop to think and feel.