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Posted December 9, 2008
Exciting rebirth of Burke
<P>After a decade passed since their child vanished, a ¿recovery service¿ person calls Mama to tell her that she can retrieve the child for a fee. Mama hires Burke to handle the transaction. The party offering the ¿merchandise¿ demands safety as the key priority. Burke and his canine buddy Pansy go to the Bronx for the exchange. However, the trade is a sting and the other side pump bullets into Burke and Pansy with the final shot point blank into Burke¿s head. <P>Pansy is dead while Burke slowly heals from the massive wounds that would have killed most people, but he has hatred to fuel his recovery. His memory is shot to hell, but he knows one thing for sure, he owes some people for this professional hit that required a lot of cash to pull off in such a sophisticated manner. His plan is simple: find them and kill them. <P> Andrew Vachss is either a raving lunatic or an incredibly confident and talented author as he takes a very popular character and literally revamps him while keeping the anti-heroes¿ core values. In a ¿death of Superman¿ type of change, Mr. Vachss refrshens Burke so that long time fans will have a new believable direction to follow and newer readers will see the wisdom of that path. The current tale, DEAD AND GONE, is taut as only Mr. Vachss can write it and exciting. Burke reveals more about himself than usual with length soliloquies that slow down the action, but allows the transition to smoothly occur. A new and perhaps better Burke has metamorphosed from his near death experience. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 13, 2000
Burke Rides Again
Andrew Vachss knows how to catapult the reader square into the middle of a nightmare and make him hang on for dear life. With short staccato sentences, lines that could have been written with a stiletto, lo-fat lean prose,the absolute authority of one who's been there (and this old warhorse has!), Vachss brings to mind Nelson Algren ('The Man With the Golden Arm'), James M. Cain, the best of Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy. The publisher describes 'Dead and Gone' as 'a Burke novel,' one of a brilliant series about a 'career criminal and ultimate urban man-for-hire.' Reading it is like riding a fractious Thoroughbred through uncharged woods. Hard-boiled suspense fiction doesn't get any better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2000
An outstandingly different Burke novel
Andrew Vachss' novels about the character known only as Burke are as tough and painful - and as deeply resonant and powerful - as any books ever written. DEAD AND GONE, this new Burke novel, takes the main character - and the reader - to new depths of pain, compassion, and vengeance.</P><P>From the beginning, you know this one is going to be very different. Burke, who lives in the gray frontier between law and lawlessness, has confronted the worst of human monsters in his previous books, people who prey upon children, who commit the unforgivable crime of murdering innocence. Burke's crusade to obliterate such creatures (which mirrors that of attorney/children's right advocate Vachss) has earned him the enmity of a great many people, and one of them has planned Burke's death. The plot nearly succeeds, and by the end of the first dozen pages, one of Burke's closest friends lies dead, and Burke himself is nearly killed, losing the sight in one eye.</P><P>His goal now is revenge, not only for himself, but for the loss of the one living creature closest to him. In effect, Burke becomes 'dead and gone,' vanishing even beneath the radar of the underground's whisper-stream, in order to track down those responsible. The motives for the attack, however, turn out to be more than just a desire for Burke's death, which he learns with the assistance of Gem, a young Cambodian woman who becomes one of Burke's aides and more, and Burke's old friend Lune, who has developed a system of drawing order and patterns from seeming chaos.</P><P>The novel is filled with rich and enigmatic characters, dark and gritty settings, and terse, ice-cold prose. What sets it apart from the other books, however, is the change that occurs in Burke, not just physically, but psychologically. There is a spiritual death and rebirth here, a learning process with lessons so hard that I doubt if anyone with less rigor than Burke could survive them. But survive them he does, and comes out on the other side changed, and for the better. We are in the presence of a different Burke by the book's end, no less intense, no less dedicated to his goals, no less devoted to his chosen family, but a Burke who has learned other ways of dealing with his enemies and with his fears, and perhaps a Burke who is, at long last, loved, and who has learned to accept and give love in return.</P><P>The Burke saga is no literary franchise, but a series written with depth and passion. Unlike most series characters, Burke grows, develops, and changes, and Vachss has chronicled these changes with dark brilliance. DEAD AND GONE is a defining chapter and an enlightening moment of transition in the long, hard story of Burke. At the same time, it is a stark, compassionate, and strangely different novel by one of the most original and ferocious voices in American fiction. I cannot recommend it too highly.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 29, 2008
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