A vigilante rabbi trails a serial killer in this dark crime novel.
Rabbi Eitan stalks the streets of New York, attempting to solve crimes committed against the weakest of the city’s inhabitants. His constituents are “the vanished schoolgirls preyed upon, grabbed, forced, and trafficked courtesy of the new-wave pimps anointed by savagery to become the latest new-fangled kings of the lost girls in the cesspool of the hidden prostitution across America.” Eitan is particularly interested in a series of murders whose victims are found with messages carved in calligraphy on their chests. He suspects the killer is a force of evil straight out of the Scriptures, an international operator of extreme brutality who is attempting to alert someone to his arrival in New York. These murders coincide with the appearance of Solomon Hayman, a mysterious man with a mixed heritage from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle whose desire to kill young women holds a place in his life akin to religion. Possessed of a preternatural self-discipline, Solomon may prove too much for even Eitan, the Shadow Walker, to contend with. Joined in his crusade by his best friend, David, and a team of elite Israeli covert operation agents, Eitan will be forced to the edge of his abilities—and his faith in humanity—to bring this enigmatic Dark Man to God’s justice. Fine’s (Times Square Rabbi, 2012, etc.) prose is dense and lyrical, offering a brutal and yet somehow appealing presentation of an underworld of runaways and the people who prey on them. But the author treats his crime-busting rabbi with a self-seriousness that often strains credulity, and there are certain moments—as when Eitan lists his own nicknames to a corpse, vows to avenge her death, and walks out of the room unironically singing “When the Fallen Angels Fly” by Billy Joe Shaver—that will likely cause readers to roll their eyes. That said, fans of moody crime novels with pathos-addled heroes and villains should enjoy this unusual offering about a rabbi who ministers to the endangered and the dead.
An engaging noirish murder tale with a religious twist.