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Safe House Paperback – March 19, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Crime (March 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841951080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841951089
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,175,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Safe House, the latest in Andrew Vachss's series of Burke novels, begins when Burke's "brother," Hercules, is paid to scare off a neo-nazi stalker and accidentally kills the wrong guy. Burke finds himself unwittingly drawn into a world of white supremacists, stalkers, and safe house networks. What ensues is an intense rush to cover Hercules' tracks and, at the same time, bring down a New York City white supremacy ring.

Safe House offers up Vachss's repertoire of repeat characters. The most fascinating are Burke's prison "family," the Prof, Max the silent, the Mole, Michelle, Clarence, Mama, and, of course, Burke himself, who is as hard-edged as ever. The family's willingness to help one another, even die for one another, is the emotional string that ties the books together. There are also two new female characters, Vyra, the affluent Jewish housewife and Crystal Beth, half Inuit, half Irish safe house madam. Though not as believable as their male counterparts, Vyra and Crystal Beth have powerful secrets of their own and add a soft, human element to the story.

Like other Vachss novels, Safe House embraces the dirty, grim life of the ex-con for hire. The most compelling aspect of Safe House is Vachss's no-holds-barred writing style. He spares nobody's feeling and minces no words in this rough, gritty and often painfully raw crime story. --Mara Friedman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Vachss has always been one of the best and most creative authors of the thriller genre, with characters that leap off the page and story lines that threaten to break the reader's heart (e.g., Blue Belle, LJ 10/1/88). But the present work, though basically well crafted, has only brief flashes of Vachss's fine talent. Burke befriends those involved in a women's shelter and finds rogue government agents and a neo-Nazi group that plans to blow up federal buildings. He saves the day with the help of his friends: mute Max, Chinese terror "Mama," genius Mole, "Baby Sister" Michelle, and, of course, his beloved mastiff, Pansy. But what is lacking here is the bite of Vachss's earlier works, the toughness and brutality that have won him so many fans. Buy this for diehards.
-?Alice DiNizo, Raritan P.L.,
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I marvel at this incredibly well crafted piece of work.
CoffeeGurl
It's hard to explain why without revealing too much of the plot to potential readers but suffice to say, the let-down was enormous.
Beverley Strong
He said they were great reads and he really enjoyed them.
Pam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on January 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Whenever I'm in the mood for a good mystery-slash-psychological thriller, Nicci French comes to mind. Having read Killing Me Softly and Beneath the Skin, I had to read her other books. I marvel at this incredibly well crafted piece of work. French leaves you in a state of intense turmoil until the last page. The last words in the book are thought provoking and chilling to the core!
Sam, a doctor whose level of expertise is in Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, is faced with the choice of allowing the victim of a savage attack that left her parents dead stay at her house. Apparently, the young woman will be safe there. Or will she? The book will keep you turning the pages until its surprising conclusion. This novel blew me away! I recommend it most highly.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Wanko on May 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
There's something mildly comforting about a new
Burke novel, because you should know what you're buying by now.
A twist on the hardboiled detective, an antihero with a heart
of pyrite, a hard exterior protecting a tough interior protecting
a broken inner child.
I've been in on the Burke novels since the first one, Flood,
was dropped in my lap. I kinda liked the half-assed detective
character, and I was willing to go along with Vachss' evolution
of the character and his environment, but this novel represents
a definitive "mining of the old".
It's just short of becoming a parody of itself, and I don't
like it. Vachss has stripped down his usual dialogue and
character interactions down to the bone; it's really as if he's
now writing these novels from a template, where he plugs in
the scenario and picks from the usual menu of plot devices.
Perhaps I'm simply tired of Burke's world. The Prof's rhyming
is truly awful now, and I no longer find it a simple thing to
suspend disbelief during most of the book. I think the only
character preserved from my broad brush happens to be Max,
and I suspect it's partly because he doesn't speak, but mostly,
because Vachss now treats him as a deus ex machina and as such,
he's mostly an object rather than a person.
<sigh> I know this is not good news for loyal readers. However,
I have to write 'em like I see 'em, and this world has run its
course. Perhaps Vachss will take some time off, re-examine
where Burke is and where should be, and come up with something
fresh. He needs it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David A. Ridgely on July 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you take Andrew Vachss at his word, and I know no reason not to, he is an accidental author, a man whose passionate hatred of child abuse and the various adult pathologies by which it is perpetuated has led him (driven him?) to the serendipitous creation of art. Safe House, the eleventh Burke novel, continues Vachss' relentless exploration and exposure of the cyclical yet preventable evil of molestation. Each of the previous Burke novels has focused thematically on one or another manifestation of how, for lack of a better phrase, monsters are made. In Safe House, Vachss turns his attention to the stalker. Burke and his extended family-of-choice are called to help an old prison friend framed for the death of one such stalker. As a result, they are drawn into a web of extortion and mayhem surrounding a safe house for battered women run by Crystal Beth, a woman whose own will to survive in turn threatens Burke and those he loves. It is probably impossible to review a Burke novel without using the phrase "hard boiled," for Vachss without question writes the darkest, hardest suspense fiction of this generation. The staccato prose style, abrupt violence and (from a safe and comfortable middle class perspective) amoral attitude of Burke and his cohort create a palpable atmosphere of urban evil and human depravity. Yet Burke is a very moral man, at least within his own frame of reference, and there is a redemptive grace in his underground loyalties. If Vachss' agenda is ethically unambiguous (and it is), his characters are human beings, and that is the benchmark of art, whether intended or not. Safe House is perhaps not the strongest Burke novel, but it is well up to par.Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on September 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was so enjoying this murder mystery/thriller that I was already mentally reviewing it and awarding it 5 stars. It's hard to explain why without revealing too much of the plot to potential readers but suffice to say, the let-down was enormous. I felt cheated and angry that a writer could take the easy way out. This book builds up gradually to a tension that is ready to explode--but doesn't! I'm also sorry that I'll remember this book as a disappointment, rather than the terrific story that it should have been.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
A friend suggested that I read SAFE HOUSE, and now I am hooked. Just the picture of Vachss wearing an eyepatch for the author's photo was enough to interest me.
Vachss must have been keeping notebooks during his time as an attorney, etc., because he has the language, the mannerisms, the outlook and the style all down. Burke is the first hard-boiled, noir character that I've liked in a long time. It is because he's a real deal. Did I say hard- boiled? Burke and all of the other characters are deep-fried with a keen eye on what the world is really about.
If you are looking for politically correct characters, a warm and fuzzy feeling or that everything is black & white, don't read Vachss. But, if you're looking for the real world, and how life really is with a dose of the Old Testament's vengence, then read on brother...
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