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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.
move some of those portable electric heaters if I can get a good price." "We may have some in stock, mahn—I'll have to check the inventory. And the price…it depends on how many you want, like always." "If I can get some tonight, I'll take a dozen and try them out." "That's not a big order, my friend. The more you take, the less they cost." "I understand. But I'm not ready to risk a lot of capital—I have to see how they move this year, okay?" "Whatever you want, mahn—we are here to serve. You
tire–burning starts—drag racers never used it. And that was his next question. "Whatta you run with this…thirty–tromp?" You can race from a standing start or side–by–side at a steady speed and then take off on the signal. Thirty–tromp is when each driver carries a passenger—you reach thirty miles an hour, make sure the front ends are lined up, and the passenger in the left–hand car screams "Go!" out the window and both cars stomp the gas. First car to the spot you marked off is the winner.
strobe–lights. Electronic war–sounds poured through its doors, a harsh wave dividing the kids lurking on the sidewalk. Black teenagers were standing to one side in little groups, their pockets emptied of quarters by the machines inside, alert for another penny–ante score so they could go back inside. The white boys on the other side of the doors were younger—they cruised quietly, hawk eyes watching the cars for a customer. The groups never mixed. The black rough–off artists knew better than to
very straight. "I need the boy," I told her. "I need to have him talk to some people. Experts. He knows more than he told you—he might have the key in his head." Strega nodded, thinking. "You're not going to use drugs on him?" "You mean like sodium amytal—truth serum? No. It's too dangerous. It could get him to where it happened, but we might not be able to get him back." "Hypnosis?" she asked. "Not that either," I said. "There's people who know how to talk to kids who've been worked over by
couple of ounces. I held it in my hand, feeling the weight. It was solid enough to be a collar for Pansy. "It's beautiful," I said, slipping it into my pocket. "Put it on," Strega said, reaching into my pocket to pull it out again. I thought of the tattoos on B.T.'s wrists. "I don't wear chains," I told her. "You'll wear mine," she said, fire–points in her eyes. "No, I won't," I told her, my voice quiet. She stood on her toes, reached behind me to pull at my neck—she was so close I couldn't