A Burke Novel
By Andrew Vachss
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679764090, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 30, 1996
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Andrew Vachss's implacable private eye has a new client, Strega. She wants Burke to find an obscene photograph—and that search will take him into the ocean that flows just beneath the city, an ocean whose currents are flesh and money, the anguish of children and the pleasure of twisted adults. It is a place that Burke can visit only at the risk of his sanity and his life. But between the power of Strega and his own sense of justice, there is no turning back.
In Strega one of our most acclaimed crime writers gives us a thriller that might have been imagined by Dante. For this is a tour of hell with no stops left out, conducted by a novelist who writes with the authority of the damned.
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.
"So hard-boiled that it makes Mike Hammer and Sam Spade look like running yolks." —Chicago Sun-Times
"An absolute stunner, the toughest crime novel, and one of the most realistic, any American writer has produced." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"It's wonderful. The words leap off the page. The plot is fresh. The principal character is original. The style is as clean as a haiku." —The Washington Post Book World
"A bizarre, fast-paced tour of the criminal psyche.... Has a grim authenticity." —The Philadelphia Inquirer