Hard-boiled Burke (The Get-Away Man, 2003, etc.) gets all mushy over a damsel in distress.
True, Eva Wolfe is no ordinary damsel. Once a high-profile, highly successful sex-crimes prosecutor, she got canned for refusing to go easy on a politically connected predator. In addition, she’s the unrequited love of Burke’s life, a lady who can reduce the vaunted scourge of Big Apple bottom-feeders to bleatings like this: “My love for Wolfe was a dead star. . . . But always, always there.” Suddenly Wolfe is arrested and charged with the attempted murder of convicted serial rapist John Anson Wychek, who’d been set free on a technicality. So angered by this was Wolfe, her ill-wishers say, that she turned vigilante and pumped three bullets into him. But the bad don’t die easily, and before lapsing into a coma, Wychek fingered Wolfe, whose efforts had sent him up. It’s a Swiss cheese of a case, thinks Burke, unless something deeper and darker is involved. When he turns out to be right, it’s time to summon the Burke Irregulars—Max the Silent, the Prof, and Mama—to dig and delve. If it’s a job, says Mama pragmatically, show me the money. She doesn’t see that the issue is love and the task to keep Wolfe from the slammer door.
The narrative spine is a bit more collapsible than usual, but pace, tone, and atmospherics are all Vachss-grade.