Burke is back on the job, scamming, stealing and doing what he does best: tracking a missing girl who may be running from a pain no one can imagine--except Burke. All while out of his native New York and without the protection of his family of choice. New friends and enemies abound in this "not always what it seems" story of betrayal and risk taking, that finds Burke trying to operate in a very different Portland than the tour guides depict.
The search for the missing girl, Rosebud, is the obvious, but along the way are twists and turns that could cost Burke his freedom, and maybe even his life. Great characters, both new and old, bring a seemingly straight-forward story to life. But Vachss never fails to add an unexpected element to their motivations or their personal pain. Are the girl's parents being honest for why they want Rosebud back so badly? Who is the chameleon-like Ann O. Dyne ... friend or foe? And what of Gem, the woman who calls herself Burke's wife, is her past going to destroy Burke's future?
More mystery than some of his previous outings, Vachss has done a fantastic job of weaving a story that you won't be able to put down. Definitely a must for Burke and Vachss fans and anyone else who wants a sharp, well-written and stunning in its conclusion story by one of the masters of the crime-fiction genre.
This report prepared by RMM
Knopf, Oct 2001, 24.00, 309 pp.
Still healing from the Hunt's Point New York ambush, Burke decides to remain in hiding in Portland, Oregon a bit longer. His new web is still tentative and being formed unlike that waiting for his return to the East Coast.
Burke's West Coast woman Gem, a Khmer Rouge survivor with her own “business” sends work to the still injured sociopath vigilante. The job is to find a missing runaway teen, whose parents already went the full law enforcement route including a high priced private detective agency filled with former cops. They all failed. Gem heard the street whispers about the unsuccessful search and offered the parents an unlicensed detective who accepts cash only to find the teen. Desperate the parents jump at the opportunity to search anew and hire Burke who begins his trek to find Rose. An underground series of clues seems serpentine and circular leaving Burke to wonder if he will adjust to the confusing environs of the Pacific even as he slowly unravels the truth about why Rosebud ran away from an allegedly loving home.
The latest Burke tale, PAIN MANAGEMENT, is a powerful entry in this long running series starring a different kind of hero. The story line engages those readers who do not mind violence. Andrew Vachss modifies his approach by adding a different type of depth with this novel as readers hear the voices of key cast members not filtered through Burke's interpretation. The answer to why is fabulous and keeps the audience sitting until Burke metes out justice his style.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner