A man and his dog slay pederasts from New York City to Florida in this surging thriller from ex–law enforcement investigator Barton.
When it comes to sexual predators preying on children, they rarely elicit a sense of mercy, so when Barton’s protagonist—Jack Steele, a former policeman, now a wealthy vigilante—snuffs out pederasts actively pursuing their wretched desires, it’s hard to quibble with Steele’s extrajudicial resolution. That’s the strength of Barton’s story: The reader feels an immediate affinity for Steele, despite his uncivilized behavior. His acts of retribution happen in choppy, muscular bursts that read like real-life events. The violence can be boiling—“Blood poured from the bullet-riddled face”—but there’s also a surprising quietude, a sense of security from knowing someone’s out there tending to things. Steele makes no bones about his plans for murder: “I’ll find this bastard….And then I’ll kill him.” And so he does, usually under atmospheric circumstances, thankfully without fist pumping. He’s a gentleman, and the woman he meets going about his wet work, Sarah, is a gentlewoman. A brilliant authorial decision was threading the dog, Sadie, into the tale; she’s attuned to the music of the spheres unlike any human crusader. She’s also a glutton and a force for good, even if she’ll tear you apart if you cross her. Barton draws Steele and Sarah’s relationship with an easy camaraderie. The final pages, though melodramatic, overflow with bittersweetness and bite.
A well-crafted novel that cuttingly tackles vigilantism and vengeance.