This third novel-length adventure featuring Cross & crew is a complex, full-throttle suspense thriller featuring supernatural overtones and more twists than a sackful of poisonous vipers.
It would be beneficial to have read the previous entries in the series. But an astute reader can follow along regardless and, once engaged, Vachss’s stripped-down, razor-sharp prose, fascinating characters, and the sequence of events that start to immediately unfold will compel you to keep going.
In many ways, this is one of Vachss’s more linear tales --- albeit with necessary flashbacks that reinforce some key background points, particularly regarding the “Simbas” that loom so ominously and importantly over everything else going on. It also has a strong pure mystery element as Cross and his gang of unique urban mercenaries pull out all stops to try and figure out who --- or what --- is behind the pattern of threats focused on them.
As always in Vachss’s work, there is biting social commentary and a hard-edged warning against the poison we sow via the abuse and neglect of our young.