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Dead and Gone: A Burke Novel Paperback – Sep 11 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Vintage Contemporaries ed edition (Sept. 11 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375725261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375725265
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.9 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,389,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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 the Hardcover edition.

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 the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dead and Gone continues the evolution of the character of Burke, an abused-child now-adult for whom the word 'dysfunctional' is almost comically euphemistic. In this installment, Vachss has chosen to disrupt the chain-link of safety constructed by Burke throughout his life. Previous novels have shown Burke's displacement from his home, and the near-loss of his partner, Pansy. Dead and Gone provides further upheaval, and ultimately forces Burke to examine the one weak link he has created - his pattern of behavior, a pattern which may have resulted in the violence and death that has left him permanently altered. Vachss, seemingly alone among his peers, refuses to lock his characters into cartoonish rigidity: they age, make mistakes, suffer human frailties. Readers will see Burke struggle with impotence and the dissociative episodes that have marked all the books, most noticeably in Choice of Evil. He also begins a romantic relationship that is notable for the ease with which Burke, who seems to have always dreaded relationships, is now able to give and receive compassion. Burke is a character whose religion is revenge. The fact that he acknowledges this final pattern - by breaking it - distinguishes the novel as thoughtful and courageous. Vachss' on-going examination of the long-term damage resulting from child abuse and his front-line reportage of the issues involved are themselves compelling to read. That he dispenses the information through such well-drawn, multi-layered novels is just our luck.
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Format: Paperback
This one is one of the better burke novels. Vachss did have the tendency to focus more on his message than on the action in his last burke novels and somehow we had read it all before. Now, Burke is presumed dead and has to reinvent himself, becoming more a character like "The Shadow". We learn more about Burke's past and get to meet in "Seawulf" fashion Lune, another charakter from his non-childhood.
Comparing this novel to the earlier Burkes I found that the series becomes more and more a "Criminal Fantasy", less authentic, less real. More like James Bond, with total disregard to character motivation, logical settings and logical conclusions (eg. Burke is in hospital for months, fakes amnesia and is frequently visited by the police who tell him that they know who he is - and he never asks them to tell him something about himself; He visits Lune in a Reservation far off any road. The only access is a path he has to walk on for hours - getting there it's ultra modern radar station with 30-40 people working there. I wonder how they are supplied and how this thing got there in the first place; It is never really explained how Lune solves the puzzle, he just does). This disregard for reality left me unsatisfied with reading the novel, because with putting the plot into fantasy land he propels the crimes commited also into "un"-reality, which is a shame as it contradicts the message of the books.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Andrew Vachss' work, his novels and his public life. I first found "Hard Candy" in a closing out sale of a bookstore in Buffalo and I have been hooked ever since, devouring everyone I could find. I am grateful to the Mamroneck Public Library for having such a complete selection of the Burke novels, because that got me through the working day last summer.
So you can imagine my excitement when "Dead & Gone" came out. It has an amazing, and heartbreaking, opening. In a ransom exchange gone wrong, Burke is pinned down in an ambush and only saved by Pansy - his mastiff and partner - sacrificing her life for him.
Burke survives and is now on a quest for revenge. The first hundred pages are great. The usual cast of characters - and I can't think of a series with a more vibrant and fully realized supporting cast - rallies around to help him. He tracks the hit back to Brookyln and there are fireworks.
However, when the trail takes him to the Portland, Oregon, the book grinds to a halt. There are pages and pages of Burke basically hanging out in Portland. Burke goes to the bookstore! Burke goes to the poolhall! Whee. It takes a long time for the plot to move ahead very little.
Gem, the Cambodian girl who falls for him, is an interesting character. (Although she'd be a lot more interesting if she did something other than eat.) And it's nice to see a girlfriend of Burke's that doesn't die. (I was starting to think this was Michael Landon on Bonanza.) But Burke's "performance problems" seem to be a direct lift from "Hard Candy," and likewise the solution to said problems.
I didn't find the villain to be that terrifying or frightening. (And I didn't think that the way they dealt with him worked at all.
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By A Customer on April 23 2001
Format: Hardcover
The most relevant statement I can make to you, potential reader is that this book represents an entirely new direction for the Burke series. While it is not perfect, and at times a bit pedantic, it was necessary, and should inspire new readers as well as revive Vachss fan base. Rejoice! The worst thing that could have happened to the series was allowing it to go stale. True to his character's well crafted natures, Vachss has proven he has enough testicular fortitude to take risk and not rely on formulaic contrivance, like so many popular authors have fallen prey too. Vachss Rocks.
Without giving away the plot, Burke has a new face, new identity, new love and new frame of mind. He has gone through a physical and spiritual rebirth, and has chosen, through a mind numbing haze, to leave all that was familiar behind him. The device he finds to accomplish this is simple revenge for the death of his friend, Patsy the dog, but the deeper subtext, I feel, is that it was time for a change. This reinforces the essential loneliness of Burke's tragic life, the real life, that too many real people live. The life expectancy for anyone, character or other wise, involved in Burke's profession is drastically limited; It was just a matter of time before it all caught up to him. Burke, who is smarter, cannier, and colder than your average beast, knows this and chooses to beat the odds by refusing to play the game. He leaves and proves that New York is not the only playground he can become the master of.
Vachss also gives us glimpses of the Russian Mafia, and other little known bits of intrigue that have resulted from the breakup of the soviet union.
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