PICTURES OF CHILDREN by Dennis Hart

PICTURES OF CHILDREN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An avenging gunman takes on a child prostitution ring.

Harrison “Harry” Gamble, an accountant, runs Harrison Financial Services in Revere, Mass., just outside of Boston, with the help of his faithful dog, Fu, and his moral-compass secretary, Betty Wayland. But Gamble’s talents—and his sense of right and wrong—extend far beyond balance sheets: He’s also a freelance gunslinger à la Dirty Harry, using his 9mm Glock to dispense his own private justice to those he judges guilty. In an early scene, he and his dog’s peaceful jog on Revere Beach is interrupted when they encounter two drunks about to rape a young woman; he shoots each of them in the head after delivering Eastwood-esque lines like “Guilty” or “You don’t have to worry about growing old.” Betty admires his actions—she’s glad “Harrison Gamble continues to save the people in need”—as does his friend Detective Sgt. Willard Johnson of the Massachusetts State Police, who “understood the predicaments and generally agreed with the final verdicts.” When Harry aids a friend with a gambling problem by breaking into the home safe of a local mobster, he finds not only money but pictures of children cavorting with a naked Massachusetts Congressman, a powerful and beloved figure who ran unopposed in the last two elections. This discovery leads Harry and his crew into a confrontation at a well-financed child prostitution compound called the Resort, with its delightfully despicable headmistress, Ulrika Wachmeister. Along the way, in a taut narrative chopped into expertly cliff-hanging chapters, Hart piles on gunplay, snappy dialogue, graphic sadism, violence and lots more gunplay. So well does Hart manipulate the standard bits of thriller stagecraft that readers will gladly overlook the minor flaws.

An on-target, high-octane modern-day noir.

Pub Date: April 12th, 2013
Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2013