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Terminal: A Burke Novel    by Andrew Vachss order for
by Andrew Vachss
Order:  USA  Can
Pantheon, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lisa Respers France

Writing is a difficult task but writing a series can be even more of a challenge as the author strives to bring new readers up to speed and to keep the character and the situations fresh. Terminal is the seventeenth book in Vachss' Burke series and for those who have followed the anti-hero over the years it's a thrill to see the criminal back in all his noir glory.

This time around, Burke has been recruited to shake down three wealthy men who as teenagers brutally murdered a young girl. The case bears a passing resemblance to the Martha Moxley case and Burke must work with the former leader of a white supremacist gang if he is to pull of the big score. While Burke and his motley gang of family are in it for the cash, the ex-con supremacist is playing for even bigger stakes he needs the money for a possible cure in Switzerland to treat a disease that is killing him.

The novel contains a few flashbacks to other Burke books that may seem a bit tedious to those who have read the earlier ones. Burke's comments on various topics including politics, President Bush, and the justice system are starting to read more like tirades than insights, but Vachss on a soapbox is still ten times better than many other authors. He is a master story teller whose taut prose has become his signature style. And as usual, his beloved New York is a character here. Nobody does, or knows, the Big Apple like Burke. 'I could feel the city shifting all around me,' he says. 'Under my feet, too. Like an earthquake rising up to meet a hurricane.'

Terminal isn't the best Burke novel but it's still an engrossing read and well crafted thriller. The usual cast of characters - including Mama, Prof and Max - are back for the ride and the conclusion leaves the fate of one of Burke's family members hanging in the balance. Fans of crime fiction and Burke will be anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

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