Dead and Gone (Burke Series #12)

Dead and Gone (Burke Series #12)

4.1 7
by Andrew Vachss

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From the modern master of noir, Andrew Vachss, comes this heart-topping and bestselling new thriller that completely reinvents the Burke series.

Urban Outlaw Burke barely survives an attack by a professional hit squad that kills his partner. With a new face, Burke goes into hiding. And on the hunt. Dead and Gone takes him from the streets of New York


From the modern master of noir, Andrew Vachss, comes this heart-topping and bestselling new thriller that completely reinvents the Burke series.

Urban Outlaw Burke barely survives an attack by a professional hit squad that kills his partner. With a new face, Burke goes into hiding. And on the hunt. Dead and Gone takes him from the streets of New York City through a cross-country underground, and deep into his own tortured past. The violent journey ends in a place that exists only in the dreams of the darkest degenerates on earth.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews
Our Review
A Dead End or a New Beginning?
Few literary characters are as remarkable or memorable as Andrew Vachss's indomitable antihero, Burke, a career criminal who kills with ease but has a huge soft spot in his heart for kids and dogs. In Vachss's latest effort, Dead and Gone, Burke is in more trouble than ever, which is saying a lot for a man who lives on the fringes of society and often looks death in the face.

It starts when Burke agrees to act as middleman for the ransomed return of a kid who was kidnapped a decade before. The child was only four when he was taken from his Russian immigrant parents, and the case, while still open, has long been cold. Burke takes every precaution in arranging the trade, but when it comes time to make the actual swap, he finds himself the victim of an unexpected ambush. His beloved dog, Pansy, is shot down in a hail of bullets, and Burke himself is shot several times -- once in the face -- and left for dead.

Days later, Burke awakens in a hospital with part of his brain shattered and his face altered so much by the bullet's impact that he's unrecognizable. But while he may be weak and disoriented, he has enough of his wits to remember who he is and that someone tried to kill him. Feigning a memory loss and pretending to be weaker than he is, Burke gradually rebuilds his strength and escapes from the hospital, eventually hooking up with his usual cadre of "family."

Swearing revenge, Burke sets out to find the man responsible for the ambush. At first he focuses on the only fact he has: that the killer knew and used Burke's greatest weakness -- endangered children -- to lure him into the trap. Several deaths, a score of dead ends, and a cross-country trip later, Burke finally solves the mystery and finds his man. But the outcome is one that no one -- particularly Burke -- could have foreseen or even imagined.

Once again mixing a thriller plot with social commentary, Vachss expands on the Burke legend in a whole new way. With a dozen books already out in this series, one might think the character of Burke is at risk of getting stale. But with Dead and Gone, Vachss finds a way to take the character and the stories in a totally new direction, one that is sure to keep fans delighted and devoted for many books to come.

--Beth Amos

Beth Amos is the author of several novels, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Burke Series , #12
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Andrew Vachss, an attorney in private practice specializing in juvenile justice and child abuse, is the country’s best recognized and most widely sought after spokesperson on crimes against children. He is also a bestselling novelist and short story writer, whose works include Flood (1985), the novel which first introduced Vachss’ series character Burke, Strega (1987), Choice of Evil (1999), and Dead and Gone (2000). His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Playboy, and The Observer, and he is a contributor to ABA Journal, Journal of Psychohistory, New England Law Review, The New York Times, and Parade.

Vachss has worked as a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a caseworker in New York, and a professional organizer. He was the director of an urban migrants re-entry center in Chicago and another for ex-cons in Boston. After managing a maximum-security prison for violent juvenile offenders, he published his first book, a textbook, about the experience. He was also deeply involved in the relief effort in Biafra, now Nigeria.

For ten years, Vachss’ law practice combined criminal defense with child protection, until, with the success of his novels, it segued exclusively into the latter, which is his passion. Vachss calls the child protective movement “a war,” and considers his writing as powerful a weapon as his litigation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Dead and Gone (Burke Series #12) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author disappoints with this one. The expectations are always high with his books but this time, he misses the mark. Set against his other books, this one crashes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of the ¿Burke¿ novels by Andrew Vachss since the paperback publication of FLOOD, during the latter half of the 1980s. With Mr. Vachss¿ first six novels (FLOOD, STREGA, BLUE BELLE, HARD CANDY, BLOSSOM, and SACRIFICE), he clearly demonstrated to the writing profession that he had no equal in his chosen genre. These six books represent what quality writing is all about, and are some of the best ¿thriller/action/suspense¿ novels ever written in my humble opinion. With the publication of DOWN IN THE ZERO, Mr.Vachss began to take Burke in what appeared to be a slightly different direction. There were subtle changes at first in how the plot was developed, less action and violence, the themes of the stories were not as dark as the earlier novels, and Burke became more introspective and philosophical. This has continued right up to his newest novel, DEAD AND GONE. I had hoped that Mr. Vachss would eventually return to the way his first novels were written, but I now realize that it isn¿t going to happen. If any thing, his future novels are going to be even less violent and more philosophical in nature. Some readers seem to think that this is great. I¿m not one of them. True, Mr. Vachss has become an even better writer over the years, but his books no longer deliver the solid punch that they used to. In DEAD AND GONE, Burke is almost killed at the beginning of the novel when a ¿hit¿ team tries to take him out. Someone who feared Burke wanted him dead and paid a great deal of money to make it happen. Not knowing whom this person is, Burke goes deep underground after he has healed from his wounds. With the help of his family and friends, he intends to track this person down and extract a lethal form of revenge. And this is exactly what Burke does throughout the rest of the novel. The reader is introduced to a number of interesting new characters, some of which are from Burke¿s past. They all offer to help our hero get closer to his goal of revenge. During this journey, however, Burke begins to take a hard, cold look at his life and why he has become the type of man he is, and the reader is able to learn a great deal about this unusual character who has devoted his life to hurting the men and women who sexually abuse children. I certainly enjoyed finding out more about Burke. The problem I had with this story is that Burke doesn¿t really do much. Sure he travels from state-to-state, enlisting the help of other people in his attempt to track down the man who put the ¿contract¿ out on him, but it¿s actually these new characters who do almost all of the work, while Burke waits patiently for something to break. It wasn¿t until I was 269 pages into the novel that it seemed as though something was finally getting ready to happen! It was time for Burke to do his thing. I was expecting him to maybe take out a dozen or more men to get to the one person who had started this whole chain of events. Boy, was I wrong! During the next sixty pages, I actually fell asleep twice on the couch. I¿m not kidding, either. That¿s how much excitement there was. I had to literally force myself to finish reading the book. After the final page was read, I tossed the book down on the coffee table and said to myself that this is definitely the last time I¿ll buy a ¿Burke¿ novel in hardback. It¿s taken me six novels to reach this decision. I may buy the paperback when it comes out, but no more hardbacks. It¿s simply too much money to waste! I know that a number of people have really loved this book and have written some great reviews on it. I only wish that I had found it as entertaining as they apparently did. I know that when an author writes about the same character for a long period of time, there are bound to be changes along the way. For me, however, the changes in this particular series have taken away the enjoyment I once experienced. Needless to say, I still highly recommend the first six novels in the ¿Burk
harstan More than 1 year ago

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.

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.

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.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.