Andrew Vachss has reinvented detective fiction for an age in which guilty secrets are obsolete and murder isn't even worth a news headline. And in the person of his haunted, hell-ridden private eye Burke, Vachss has given us a new kind of hero: a man inured to every evil except the kind that preys on children.
Now Burke is back, investigating an epidemic of apparent suicides among the teenagers of a wealthy Connecticut suburb. There he discovers a sinister connection between the anguish of the young and the activities of an elite sadomasochistic underground, for whom pain and its accompanying rituals are a source of pleasure and power.
"[Vachss's] short sharp sentences crackle with energy; his plots are satisfyingly elaborate; the narratives are beautifully paced, and the characters . . . are always pungently individual." — Chicago Sun-Times
"The characters and events are as sharply defined as if they were etched in steel. The prose is short and choppy, like the ticking of a time bomb about to explode." — Seattle Post-Intelligencer