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Dead and Gone: A Burke Novel Paperback – September 11, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375725261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375725265
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Burke, the dark avenger of Vachss's ultra-gritty urban crime series, has been killing bad peopleAusually child molestersAfor 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 revengeAbut 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 fictionAlean 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

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 exchangeDit'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.DJeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for "aggressive-violent" youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, three collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, essays, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, The New York Times, and many other forums. His books have been awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére, the Falcon Award, Deutschen Krimi Preis, Die Jury des Bochumer Krimi Archivs and the Raymond Chandler Award (per Giurìa a Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy). Andrew Vachss' latest books are Mortal Lock (Vintage, May 2013) and Aftershock (Pantheon, June 2013). The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is vachss.com.

Customer Reviews

Vachss' great anti-hero Burke returns in this latest adventure.
Stuart Weaver
The novel is filled with rich and enigmatic characters, dark and gritty settings, and terse, ice-cold prose.
C. Williamson
As in "Sacrifice," Burke has to deal with...well, "performance" issues.
Scott Sweet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. Williamson VINE VOICE on September 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rebekah Sue Harris VINE VOICE on October 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From Merriam-Webster OnLine ([...]) Main Entry: burke Etymology: from burke to suffocate, from William Burke died 1829 Irish criminal executed for smothering victims to sell their bodies for dissection Date: 1840
It is no accident that Burke (Vachss character) was named after a silent killer.
"Dead and Gone" is beyond a doubt the darkest Vachss novel yet.
As with all of Vachss's books, they are too fast-paced to skim; I need to read each one twice before I get the full tale -- and even then I'll need to reread it. I don't know if that's because I'm simply not smart enough, or if the fault lies in the writer. (it's probably me.) While Andrew Vachss remains one of my absolute favorite authors, I become increasingly annoyed that I can't "get" his books first time round. It is only for that reason that I am giving this book four stars instead of five. Someone brighter than I may be able to glean from its pages a better description than I'm giving you now.
"Dead and Gone" removes a key player from Burke's family. When loyal readers think that Burke's soul can't get any darker than, say, "Sacrifice" and the following "Down In the Zero," we have NO idea what Vachss is about to spring on us in "Dead and Gone." I have no shame in telling you that my heart broke.
This book also introduces a new location and new players, including Gem. Gem is worth noting because she is Burke's first slender woman, and I am interested in seeing how that will play in future books. I also wonder whether the new location is a one-shot deal, as in "Blossom," or if Burke is moving across the country as the writer has.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott Sweet on March 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
With "Dead and Gone," Burke undergoes an intense rebirth. After surviving a set-up, he's back to the ground-zero tension that fuels Vachss' best work. The last 50 pages present a whole lot of Burke's backstory. His closest partner, Pansy, goes out stone loyal. Much as it hurt to read Pansy's death, "Dead and Gone" breathes new life into the franchise.
The "Who wants Burke dead?" search is complicated, but the payoff is a genuine surprise. Turns out our antihero didn't have this person pegged as accurately as he thought. The bad guys are trying to found a pedophile's paradise. Burke wants to keep Burke alive, and this leads him back to the crusade that defines him - fighting dirty for the Children of the Secret.
As in "Sacrifice," Burke has to deal with...well, "performance" issues. Given the loss and grief endemic to Burke (especially in this book), it's a more realistic and interesting approach than the "no woman can satisfy him" school of detective fiction. Plus, it sets the stage for Gem to be the heroine. She brings hope and even some humor to the whole thing. You can pretty much nail down Burke's age this time - he was nineteen during the 1969 Biafra genocide.
Now he's on the West Coast. Ripe new territory for a vengeful con-man who's legally dead...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ian Fowler on January 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a big fan of Andrew Vachss, both as a writer and as a human being, I was very pleased with the latest Burke novel, "Dead and Gone." In fact, this is easily his best novel since "Footsteps of the Hawk". While the intermediate books were very good, they were a little more light in literary content than his previous works. That is not to say they weren't good. Vachss is usually several times better than the average crime/mystery writer. But they were fairly flawed. "False Allegations" became essentially a treatise on abuse and false memories/allegations (which is Vachss' primary concern when writing his Burke novels, abuse of children) and came off a little flat. Likewise, his next novels "Safe House" and "Choice of Evil", while developing chillingly evil antagonists for Burke (particularly in "Choice of Evil"), were fairly by the numbers in terms of plot. The death of Burke's girlfriend in "Choice of Evil" didn't have the impact it probably should have.
"Dead and Gone" however, takes Burke back into his darkest roots. Burke is ambushed, blinded by gunfire, and a primary character who has been present throughout the series is murdered. Burke seeths for revenge, but must vanish in order to achieve it. And the answer to that revenge may lay in Burke's violent past.
The characterization of Burke here is utterly frightening. This is the Burke of "Flood" and "Down in the Zero", the Burke who likes to share his pain with whatever monster he can get his hands on. The streetwise, amoral predator at work. Through his eyes, the reader is shown a world we are loathe to even acknowledge, much less see. A world the average person cannot even begin to imagine.
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