Books by Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social services caseworker, and a labor organizer and has directed a maximum-security prison for youthful offenders. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children

SIGNWAVE by Andrew Vachss
Released: June 9, 2015

"As so often in Vachss, the story is less notable as a story, or an exploration of characters in conflict, than as an extended meditation on what Dell aptly calls 'the zen of violence.'"
Former mercenary Adelbert Johnson, still living in retirement at an Oregon village with his wife, Dolly, finds that the world just won't leave a man alone to ruminate in peace. Read full book review >
URBAN RENEWAL by Andrew Vachss
Released: Jan. 28, 2014

"Zero at the bone. Just the thing when you want something less good-natured and reflective than Lawrence Block's tales of Keller the hit man."
More criminal adventures for tougher-than-thou hireling Cross and his covey of Chicago assassins (Blackjack, 2012). Read full book review >
AFTERSHOCK by Andrew Vachss
Released: June 11, 2013

"Overlong, repetitive and more testosterone-charged than it needs to be. But Vachss' followers will devour it and will keep watch for Dell and Dolly's return."
The creator of Burke, all-purpose noir stylist Vachss (Mortal Lock, 2013, etc.) launches a new series featuring a freelance investigator who could give Dirty Harry a run for his money. Read full book review >
MORTAL LOCK by Andrew Vachss
Released: May 7, 2013

"A collection of white-hot short stories."
The baddest noir stylist of them all (That's How I Roll, 2012, etc.) digs into his archives from the past 15 years and comes up with 20 visits to hell. Read full book review >
A BOMB BUILT IN HELL by Andrew Vachss
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"History has caught up to Wesley's bleak odyssey, repeatedly rejected for publication decades ago but now unnervingly prescient."
Vachss' very first novel, often plundered for his later fiction (That's How I Roll, 2012, etc.) but never before published, traces the rise, or fall, of a homegrown terrorist. Read full book review >
BLACKJACK by Andrew Vachss
Released: July 10, 2012

"Quick read, but somewhat disjointed. A novel premise, and the sort of thing that could develop a passionate following."
The feds think the man named Cross is a sociopath, but Cross believes in Truth, Justice and the American Way—or enough so that he can be useful. Read full book review >
THAT'S HOW I ROLL by Andrew Vachss
Released: March 20, 2012

"A smart, cynical glimpse into the human condition—and into lives no one should envy."
Life is tough. It's tougher when you're on death row. Read full book review >
THE WEIGHT by Andrew Vachss
Released: Nov. 9, 2010

"Even in the absence of his signature tough-guy hero Burke, Vachss (Haiku, 2009, etc.) is just as macho, jaundiced and relentlessly didactic about what a hard, hard world it is."
A criminal who's spent five years in prison for a crime he didn't commit finds that life on the outside is just as violent and unfair. Read full book review >
HAIKU by Andrew Vachss
Released: Nov. 3, 2009

"Covers much of the same felonious ground as Burke's adventures, but with less violence and more compassion."
Vachss takes a break from Burke (Another Life, 2008, etc.) to spin an unlikely tale of redemption through renunciation. Read full book review >
ANOTHER LIFE by Andrew Vachss
Released: Dec. 30, 2008

"For a guy who hates shrinks, Burke spends way too much time working through his private traumas, putting the brakes on what would otherwise be an engrossing thriller. His writing may be more therapeutic for the hero than for his readers."
Avenging angel Burke goes global in search of the kidnapped son of a Saudi prince. Read full book review >
TERMINAL by Andrew Vachss
Released: Sept. 25, 2007

"Digressions and diatribes against politicians, therapists, thriller writers, the ACLU, the CIA and so on, but not much storytelling, which is unfortunate, since Vachss (Mask Market, 2006, etc.) is pretty good at that."
Making his 17th appearance, Burke—hardened ex-con, unabashed vigilante, stone killer and yes, famous children's advocate—stalks the child abusers in a 30-year-old crime. Read full book review >
MASK MARKET by Andrew Vachss
Released: Aug. 15, 2006

"Vachss (Two Trains Running, 2005, etc.) is pretty much in top form here—dark and violent, of course, but with a nice little sort-of love story as leavening."
After a one-book breather, Burke (Down Here, 2004, etc.), that relentless abuser of child-abusers, is back seeking measure for measure. Read full book review >
Released: June 14, 2005

"A bit of a slow coach in the middle, but it recovers well. Dark, violent, blood-drenched, page-turning."
Vachss (Down Here, 2004, etc.) plows a field famously sowed by Dashiell Hammett and reaps his own kind of red harvest. Read full book review >
DOWN HERE by Andrew Vachss
Released: April 16, 2004

"The narrative spine is a bit more collapsible than usual, but pace, tone, and atmospherics are all Vachss-grade."
Hard-boiled Burke (The Get-Away Man, 2003, etc.) gets all mushy over a damsel in distress. Read full book review >
THE GETAWAY MAN by Andrew Vachss
Released: Feb. 4, 2003

"As slick and enjoyable as a vintage Jim Thompson paperback or a Saturday afternoon at the bijou."
Vachss abates the edge he saves for his Burke series (Only Child, p. 1083, etc.) in this retro noir. Read full book review >
ONLY CHILD by Andrew Vachss
Released: Oct. 14, 2002

"Vintage Vachss, with hell-for-leather pacing propelling the story over gaping plot holes."
Burke, that sworn enemy of child-abusers, is back for the 13th time (Pain Management, 2001, etc.) doing business as the same old scourge. Read full book review >
PAIN MANAGEMENT by Andrew Vachss
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Better grab this round of the usual Burke pleasures fast before the hardcase settles down in a suburban tract house with a white picket fence."
In a weirdly unexpected spin on the saga of ultra-tough Burke, Vachss drops his freelance avenger onto the mean streets of Portland, and produces his most conventional case to date. Read full book review >
DEAD AND GONE by Andrew Vachss
Released: Sept. 11, 2000

"As usual, it's personal, very personal, for Burke throughout the brisk dialogue and fast-paced action of the sharply honed, knife-edged plot. Passion triumphs. Revenge rules."
Bad boy Burke ("born bad . . . born sad") is back with a vengeance in the latest neo-noir from Vachss (Choice of Evil,1999, etc.). Read full book review >
EVERYBODY PAYS by Andrew Vachss
Released: Sept. 15, 1999

EVERYBODY PAYSStoriesVachss, Andrew Read full book review >
CHOICE OF EVIL by Andrew Vachss
Released: May 14, 1999

"If the prospect of an extended rhetorical duel between tougher-than-thou Burke and his worked-my-way-up-from-kidnaping-children quarry doesn't get your juices flowing, you may want to sit this round out."
Burke, the investigator/mercenary with a heart as cold as Mike Hammer's .45, is hired to protect a serial killer from the cops. Read full book review >
SAFE HOUSE by Andrew Vachss
Released: April 1, 1998

"Think of a lesser James Bond adventure, minus the high-tech gadgetry and the rules."
Child-abuse specialist Burke expands his righteous field of operations—his one-man harrowing of our modern cityscape—to cover an Aryan supremacist network of terrorists. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"Vachss has never sacrificed fictional interest to muckraking as zealously as he does here."
Child-abuse specialist Burke (Footsteps of the Hawk, 1995, etc.) is hired for a unique assignment: to see if he can disprove an accuser's allegations of childhood abuse. Read full book review >
BATMAN by Andrew Vachss
Released: Nov. 7, 1995

"But Vachss himself would probably agree that staging events like this one to grab headlines is precisely his point."
If you were floored by Robin Williams's genie in Aladdin, wait till you sink your fangs into the latest, and unlikeliest, pop-cultural marriage: child-abuse specialist Vachss (Footsteps of the Hawk, p. 982, etc.) meets the Caped Crusader. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 7, 1995

"But after all these years of avenging helpless children, his heart doesn't seem to be in a case that involves victims as relatively empowered as adult women and imprisoned felons. (Author tour)"
After his sabbatical in the cushy Connecticut suburbs (Down in the Zero, 1994), judge-jury-executioner Burke is back on New York's meanest streets, this time caught in the crossfire between two homicidal cops. Read full book review >
BORN BAD by Andrew Vachss
Released: Aug. 29, 1994

"Still, what can you do with a thick pile of short stories that even the author claims aren't writerly?"
Two short plays and 42 stories from Vachss, who's known for his eight novels (see below) featuring PIs who hunt down child abusers and sex offenders. Read full book review >
DOWN IN THE ZERO by Andrew Vachss
Released: Aug. 29, 1994

"Burke's return is welcome—his superstud act may be extreme here, but he's one of the most fascinating male characters in crime fiction; and as usual, Vachss controls his narrative, cut up into bullet-sized chapters, with admirable precision."
After an absence in Vachss's last novel Shella (1993), Burke—the PI hero of all the others—returns for this, Vachss's eighth. Read full book review >
SHELLA by Andrew Vachss
Released: April 1, 1993

"Despite the absurdly hard-boiled prose: a swift, savage, and unexpectedly moving exploration—somewhat reminiscent of Jim Thompson—of love among the swamp lizards."
Vachss's seventh novel—and his first not to feature ``outlaw'' p.i. Read full book review >
SACRIFICE by Andrew Vachss
Released: June 20, 1991

"Vachss still writes a mean page, full of sound and fury; but his spike-hard prose and action are blunted by a moralism that smugly sets Burke up as the most obnoxiously self-righteous—and increasingly one-note—judge, jury, and executioner since Mike Hammer."
A routine sixth outing for Vachss's dark knight Burke—that is, a bitter cup overflowing with satanic child-rape, multiple personality disorder, voodoo, execution-murders, and other workaday hazards of the ``outlaw'' p.i.'s ever-more bleak—and vengeful—Gotham half-life. Read full book review >