The Final Burke Novel
By Andrew Vachss
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780307377418, 288pp.)
Publication Date: December 30, 2008
List Price: $24.95*
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From the author of the acclaimed Burke series: a searing new novel that follows a band of homeless outcasts on a journey to recover what each has lost.
Ho was a revered sensei, but when his dismissive arrogance caused the death of a beloved student, he renounced not only his possessions but also his role as master, and now roams the streets in search of a way to atone. Drawn by his presence, a group forms around him: Michael, an addicted gambler who has lost everything, including himself; Ranger, a Vietnam veteran with a tenuous grip on reality; Lamont, a once-fearless street-gang warlord turned hopeless alcoholic; Target, a relentless "clanger" who speaks only by echoing the sounds of others; and Brewster, an obsessive collector of hardboiled paperbacks he stashes in an abandoned building that even vermin avoid.
Late one night, Michael spots a woman in a white Rolls-Royce throwing something into the river. Convinced that the woman is a perfect blackmail target, he attempts to recruit the others to search for her. But news that Brewster's library is slated for demolition turns this halfhearted effort into a serious mission to find the ultimate problem-solver: money, and with it a new home for Brewster's precious collection.
Each frantic knock opens another barred door as the building's destruction draws nearer. And the answers to each man's questions trigger shocking explosions that hit you with all the visceral power we have come to expect from this fierce and dynamic writer.
Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in the area of sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and the director of a maximum-security prison for aggressive-violent youth. Now a lawyer and consultant in private practice, he represents children and youths exclusively. A native New Yorker, Vachss divides his time between the city of his birth and the Pacific Northwest.
The dedicated Web site for Andrew Vachss and his work is www.vachss.com.
Another Life is the end of a journey that began with Flood, Andrew Vachss’s first novel featuring career criminal Burke and his Family of Choice. “I didn't set out to write a series. Who but a terminal narcissist would?” the author says of his 1985 debut. But twenty-three years–and seventeen Burke novels–later, Andrew Vachss is finally bringing down the curtain on a series that has been described as “urban nightmares” by Publishers Weekly, and “strong, gritty, gut-bucket stuff” by the Chicago Tribune. Anyone who has felt a part of the family that includes recurring series characters Max, the Mole, Michelle, the Prof, Terry, Clarence, and Mama–characters the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says “are as sharply defined as if they were etched in steel”–will want to be there for the end of the journey, as best-selling, award- winning author Andrew Vachss ties up the loose ends, and sends his Family of Choice off to ... Another Life.
“There’s no way to put a [Vachss book] down once you’ve begun . . . The plot hooks are engaging and the one-liners pierce like bullets.”
–Detroit Free Press
“Vachss is just about the toughest of contemporary crime novelists. [He] waves a powerful light across a city landscape that few writers go near and none portray so convincingly.”
–Los Angeles Times
“The hardest-boiled crime fiction this side of Sing Sing.”
“Sheer narrative drive is only part of what has kept readers coming back for more. [Burke] is a hero of our times. . . lord of the asphalt jungle.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“Vachss’s style is as inimitable and passionate as ever.”
–Rocky Mountain News
“Vachss is a contemporary master.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Writing in a style so sleekly engineered that it purrs when you pop the hood, Vachss gives such a smooth ride that it’s easy to forget someone is driving.”
–The New York Times
“Vachss has always been able to make other writers look candy-assed . . . And it’s not because he manages to marry grim idealism to action-driven plots. It’s because of the unflinching way he looks at evil.”
“Vachss is red hot and as serious as a punctured lung.”
“The New York Burke inhabits is not borrowed from anybody and shimmers on the page as gaudily and scarily as it does on the street.”