Top positive review
A solid, but not great, outing for Vacchs
on September 27, 2000
The Burke series is generally a great one. Vacchs, an attorney who represents juveniles only, and who has a professional resume that proves he knows first-hand the horror that abused children experience, always generates an aura of reality in his writing. The cruelty to children depicted in the Burke books is truly disturbing, because you know as you read it that this stuff really goes on. Burke, a hard-bitten criminal, has enough redeeming qualities to make him a great anti-hero. Among those redeeming qualities are a sense of deep loyalty to his "family" -- the close friends he has chosen (and who have chosen him), who will stick together in the face of any adversity. The other major redeeming quality is his simmering fury directed at abusers of children. The two come together in this book after Burke's girlfriend is killed at a gay rally and he goes on the vengeance trail, which of course leads him into the child abuse underworld. The primary flaw in this novel is the strained dialogue between Burke and an important secondary character, Nadine, who is a gay domninatrix with a bizarre sexual fascination with Burke. His tough-guy posturing with her is more or less in character, but it grows tiresome by the half way point, and continues unabated from there. Nevertheless, Burke is always a good read. As one of the other reviewers points out, however, it is hard to follow all the characters unless you've read the other books. I'd start with the first and read them in order. There is a linear development of the characters and plot that will make the book much more enjoyable if you know it going in.