From the Publisher
"Red-hot and serious as a punctured lung."
"Dead and Gone opens enough narrative veinsand introduces enough colorful new charactersto insure that Burke will live on as one of contemporary crime fiction's most durable creations."
New York Post
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 is the author of several novels, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury.
After his longtime partner is killed by a professional hit squad, urban outlaw Burke goes underground to hunt a degenerate killer with links to Burke's past.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burke, the dark avenger of Vachss's ultra-gritty urban crime series, has been killing bad people--usually child molesters--for most of his 40-odd years. Somebody was bound to catch up with him eventually, and that's exactly what happens in this 13th installment in the series. Professional killers ambush Burke late one night, putting a bullet in his head and killing his beloved dog, Pansy. Physically, Vachss's self-professed "outlaw" is a changed man when he finally sneaks out of the hospital. But he's still the same old Burke on the inside. He wants revenge--but he has no idea who masterminded the attack. Thus begins a months-long odyssey that takes him all over the country. Tapping into his extensive network of gray-area lawmen, violent criminals, degenerates of all stripes, beautiful women and whacked-out geniuses, he slowly pieces together which one of his enemies (a) is still alive, and (b) has the resources to have engineered such a sophisticated hit. Vachss's voice, as always, is one of the most distinctive in crime fiction--lean and tough, heavy on vernacular, notable for what's not said rather than for what is. Yet his plotting here is ponderous, with vast stretches of story devoted to Burke's self-analysis and a strange love affair he develops with Gem, a Cambodian woman he meets in Portland. Hardcore Burke fans may find the inner character work fascinating, as Burke reveals far more of himself and his sordid past here than in previous books. The novel's otherwise underwhelming finale does contain another nugget for fans: it appears likely that Burke will be leaving his longtime home, New York City, for the Pacific Northwest in coming books, just as Vachss did a few years ago. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In the latest novel from attorney and novelist Vachss (Choice of Evil), criminal character Burke is about to have his life changed forever. A child has been kidnapped, and Burke agrees to deliver the ransom. But this really isn't an exchange--it's a set-up, and Burke is shot several times, then left for dead. Barely alive, he must recuperate for months to get back into fighting shape, always nursing the single goal of wreaking revenge on those responsible for his injuries. The action moves from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, with Burke, as always, at an advantage because he is believed to be dead. Fans of previous novels in the "Burke" series will be shocked at some of the plot twists in this exciting addition. Recommended for all public libraries.--Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\