Most helpful critical review
Vachss should mix in a little decaf
on March 7, 2003
In my opinion, this is almost a very good book. What I think primarily keeps it from being one is the "over the top" nature of so many characters and so many story elements. For example, in this book one of the villains is Mortay, a hooked up martial arts killer. No problem so far, but - he can dodge bullets?? Too much. Pretty much everything about Belle is overblown as well.
I think if Vachss had just toned down things in general, he would have gained a lot of realism and delivered a fine book. He has the elements, he just seems to lack the confidence in his story to not oversensationalize it.
I've now read two of Vachss' books and I find I have the same feeling after reading this one as I did after Strega - I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to read another one of his works. He delivers some very intriguing, gritty crime material, but he burdens it with some negative baggage. I think I'll browse the reviews for his other works and see if one of them sounds promising. If so, maybe I'll check it out. Otherwise, I think I'll move on.