In this blistering conclusion to the nationally bestselling series, Burke is forced into a journey that will change the lives of the urban survivalist and his outlaw family forever.The only person Burke has ever called father, known throughout the underground as “The Prof,” is in a coma, barely clinging to life in an off the-books hospital. So when Pryce, a slippery man with government connections, offers the best medical services for the Prof and a clean slate for all concerned, Burke takes the contract without reading it. The two-year-old son of a Saudi prince has been kidnapped. A highly professional snatch; no mistakes, no clues, and no ransom note. Burke’s job: get the kid back, whatever it takes. To do so, the ultimate man-for-hire must return to the day “Baby Boy Burke” was written on his birth certificate, and write, in the blood of his enemies, the final act of this story.
After a nicely gritty opening ("Revenge is like any other religion: There's always a lot more preaching than there is practicing"), Vachss's 18th Burke thriller (after Terminal) goes off in disparate directions that never quite coalesce into a satisfying whole. When a sniper shoots Burke's father, the Prof, the Prof's uneasy relationship with the law means that his life-threatening wounds can't be treated at a hospital. While his father's fate remains uncertain, a shadowy figure connected with U.S. intelligence draws Burke, an ex-con turned avenging angel for hire, into a kidnapping case. Early one morning, somebody removed the infant son of a Saudi prince from his father's custom Rolls, parked near an abandoned pier near the Hudson River, after the prince was serviced by a prostitute, who didn't realize the child was in the back seat. Burke visits his usual seamy corners of New York City in the ensuing investigation. Those who enjoyed previous books in the series will find more of the same.