Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Paperback, 9780375700743, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 30, 1999
In Burke, Vachss gave readers of crime fiction a hero they could believe in, an avenger whose sense of justice was forged behind bars and tempered on New York's meanest streets. In this blistering new thriller, Burke is drawn into his ugliest case yet, one that involves an underground network of abused women and the sleekly ingenious stalkers who've marked them as their personal victims.
Burke's client is Crystal Beth, a beautiful outlaw with a tattoo on her face and a mission burned into her heart. She is trying to shield one of her charges from a vengeful ex with fetishes for Nazism and torture. But the stalker has a protector, someone so informed, so ruthless, and so connected that he need only make a few phone calls to shut down Crystal Beth's operation for good and Burke along with it. Sinuous in its complexities, brutal in its momentum, "Safe House "is Burke at the edge of his nerve and cunning. And it's Vachss at the peak of his form.
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."
"The hardest-boiled crime fiction this side of Sing Sing"- USA Today
"Vachss makes other noir writers seem like William Saroyan."- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Scorching... the prose is accomplished, stylized, and flinty; the plot is direct and commanding."- Seattle Times
"Vachss's reverence for storytelling is evident in the blunt beauty of his language."-Chicago Sun-Times