After a one-book breather, Burke (Down Here, 2004, etc.), that relentless abuser of child-abusers, is back seeking measure for measure.
It’s his faith, after all: “My only religion is revenge,” Burke likes to proclaim. In between quests for it, though, there’s the ever-present matter of cash flow. To fatten the bank account—his and those belonging to his little band of brotherly vigilantes—he prepares to track someone for money. Burke’s good at that, but before he can really get cracking, the person who wants the missing person becomes a defunct person, victim of a brisk gangland-style execution, Burke a witness. Burke doesn’t like that. Not because he cared a whit for his almost-employer, but because he can’t be absolutely sure he isn’t the next target. A sit-down is scheduled at Mama’s, the Chinese restaurant that serves as Burke’s place of conclave. The Prof, the Mole, Max the Silent, Clarence the Gunman and most of the usuals show up to advise. The only way Burke can be safe, it’s decided, is to find the missing person of the first part. So the game’s afoot, and it will probably not surprise fans that the missing person was, some years back, an abused little person. What might surprise, however, is the identity of the abuser and the vengeance Burke exacts.
Vachss (Two Trains Running, 2005, etc.) is pretty much in top form here—dark and violent, of course, but with a nice little sort-of love story as leavening.