Blue BellePaperback - 1995
Burke is one of the most cold-blooded yet strangely honorable heroes in the history of crime fiction, an outlaw who makes his living by preying on the most vicious of New York City's bottom-feeders, those who thrive on the suffering of children.
In Andrew Vachss's tautly engrossing novel Burke is given a purse full of dirty money to find the infamous Ghost Van that is cutting a lethal swath among the teenage prostitutes in the 'hood. He also gets help in the form of a stripper named Belle, whose moves on the runway are outclassed only by what she can do in a getaway car. But not even Burke is prepared for the evil that is behind the Ghost Van or for the sheer menace of its guardian, a cadaverous karate expert who enjoys killing so much that he has named himself after death.
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I WENT through the mail back in the office. The usual stuff. Congenital defectives replying to my ad promising "south of the border" opportunities for "qualified adventurers." Most of the mercenary action is in Central America now; the Cubans have made it real clear that Africa isn't the promised land. The good scams concentrate on "training exercises." There's decent money in stinging maladroits who want to dress up in camouflage gear and run around the New Jersey swamps learning how to "survive." I don't run one of the camps—I don't want to meet any of my customers face to face. But, for a reasonable fee, I'm always happy to process their applications.
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