Andrew Vachss’s implacable private eye has a new client, Strega. She wants Burke to ﬁnd an obscene photograph and that search will take him into the ocean that ﬂows just beneath the city, an ocean whose currents are ﬂesh and money, the anguish of children and the pleasure of twisted adults. It is a place that Burke can visit only at the risk of his sanity and his life. But between the power of Strega and his own sense of justice, there is no turning back.
In Strega one of our most acclaimed crime writers gives us a thriller that might have been imagined by Dante. For this is a tour of hell with no stops left out, conducted by a novelist who writes with the authority of the damned.
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©1996 Andrew Vachyss (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“It’s wonderful. The words leap off the page. The plot is fresh. The principal character is original. The style is as clean as a haiku.” (The Washington Post Book World)
A woman seeks a Polaroid taken for a child porn collector because the child victim wants to see it destroyed. She hires the paranoid, jerk private detective named Burke. You really get the sense Vachss knows the world he’s writing about, from the therapists working with kids who have had horrible things done to them, to the lawyers advocating on their behalf, to the runaways hustling on the streets of NYC. It all rings true, even if Vachss gets a little carried away with his noir tough-guy prose. In the end, it’s another piece of social activism disguised as revenge fantasy. Written in the 1980s; 2nd in a series.
As for the narrator, he was kind of offensive with his stereotyped readings of black and Asian characters in the first book but he tones it down here. He gets Burke perfect.
I read reviews of this book on another website b/c there were no reviews for it on Audible. The "publisher's summary" made this book sound so intriguing, gritty, suspenseful, etc. My evaluation is that the synopsis is better written than the actual book, and it definitely was NOT as intriguing, gritty and suspenseful as I had been led to believe it would be. Needless to say, I was HIGHLY disappointed. I was looking for a new murder mystery series to get into, but unfortunately this will not be the one. I will admit that I didn't make it to Part 2, but I did get most of the way through Part 1. I feel I gave it a fair chance to pick up, and pick up it did not.
I'm not one to give up on a book, whether reading or listening, but when getting through the book becomes a chore rather than an enjoyment, it has to go.
Vachss used the same cookie cutter for this novel as for the first one, "Flood". The characters are still interesting though. There seems to be less action and more of the monolog style that was used in "Flood".
Phil Gigante has the accents down pat and does a good job in his performance.
I would have given it 5 stars across the board, but the Strega character was an obtuse annoyance at best. BUT she wasn't in the story very much, so I got to really enjoy it without being distracted by Strega's bologna. I liked all the other characters and can't wait to see what jobs they pull off next. I recommend Vachss and the Burke series to anyone who loves a gritty P.I. with a good heart and a band of criminals who represent the idea of honor among thieves!
This is the second of the series for Burke; the main character in the first novel is referenced and can be a bit distracting if this is your first foray into Burke's world. My advice: start with the first novel, you will understand the characters better as there is really good development in "Flood" (the first novel). That said, this is essentially a Robin Hood-esque story of a colorful band of misfits from NYC's seedy underside whom do not have any issues with criminal activities albeit they don't target the "average citizen", meaning they only target other criminals. Most of all, they hate child molesters and woe be to those who find themselves in the crosshairs because of their despicable behavior. Burke is a product of the child protective services/welfare/foster system who has done time is prison and does not want to go back. He is a reluctant protagonist not easily led by others, but drawn to the avenging angel role. His world is violent and unforgiving, and he is not an easy person to like although you want him to succeed.
Phil Gigante doesn't do justice to the women and children, they all sound weak and whiny, even the strong and the hard ones.
It is a great story with amazing characters, I would recommend that you read it for yourself rather than listening to this narration
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