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Troubleshooter opens in the Pacific Northwest in the present time with Ezra Hooten, a U.S. marshal with a reputation for bringing ‘em back dead about as often as alive, following a hot tip about his boyhood best friend, Norman Carpenter, a scalp-collecting psychopath Hoot has spent the bulk of his career pursuing.
Connected by a shaman’s blood-brother ritual since adolescence, Hoot can sometimes sense Norman – especially if he’s close – and Norman can almost always sense Hoot. As young men Hoot and Norman served together in the Vietnam War, where Hoot was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for saving Norman’s life. But the tie that truly binds them is their connection to the girl both loved since middle school…Donna.
Soon as Norman got home from the war he married Donna, and a year later he brutally murdered her, ultimately going to federal prison for it…then escaping and living the cloaked, criminal life of a convict on the lam, often finding work as a contract killer.
Norman’s escape has been a very personal burden for Hoot who is now on the cusp of retirement, and he lives to see Norman behind bars again before he hangs up his marshal’s star.
Hoot follows Norman into the seedy world of adult entertainment where they meet Angela, a confused young stripper so strongly resembling the young Donna they had both loved that she immediately personifies the living ghost of Donna in their minds; Norman seeing her as an avenging spirit that he must kill again, while Hoot sees her as an unexpected chance at redemption – and as the perfect bait to catch Norman.
After a lifetime of pursuit, the final chase is on.