Down Here: A Burke Novel Hardcover – Apr 13 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Burke is back with a vengeance, and with the full complement of underground irregulars who've populated his dozen or so previous noir adventures. For starters, there's Max the Silent and the Prof (short for both Professor and Prophet), Pepper, Mole and Michelle, street folks all, as well as the giant menacing rottweiler known as Bruiser, who protects the beautiful crime fighter Wolfe. No series offers a richer world of night people, or one as dark and brutal. For the Burke fan, plot becomes almost secondary to the immersion into Vachss's thrillingly seductive downtown Manhattan shadow land. But this installment has a terrific hook as well: Burke and company must come to the rescue when Wolfe, a righteous former prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, is framed for the attempted murder of one of the serial perps she once put away, a lowlife named John Anson Wychek. Vachss's prose is at its brittle best in his presentation of the case against the taciturn Wolfe, as well as Wychek's criminal past. At length, Burke learns that Wychek inexplicably has federal protection, and conceives an elaborate scam to snare him. Posing as reporter pal J.P. Hauser, Burke works his way into the life of Wychek's yuppie sister, Laura. This extended cat-and-mouse game (or perhaps Burke is falling in love?) has quiet depth as well as tension. Burke's an original, often imitated but never matched because Vachss keeps raising the bar.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the nineteenth Burke novel, convicted rapist John Wychek, released from prison on a technicality, is shot. Before losing consciousness, he implicates Eva Wolfe, the attorney who put him behind bars. Wolfe now works the edges of the system to assist the exploited victims of sex crimes the official bureaucracy can't--or won't--help. Her efforts have taken her to the murky underworld in which Burke eliminates predators--sexual or otherwise. Burke sets about gathering the evidence to free her but finds that Wychek is a key player in a larger scam involving powerful people. Burke, with an assist from his not-so-merry band, hatches a plan of his own to erase Wychek and his accomplices from the game. This is yet another carefully crafted descent into a hellish environment in which sexual predators roam virtually unchecked, at least until targeted by Burke. One would think the same revenge plot would get old when recast again and again, but, amazingly, Vachss adds enough subtle differences to keep each novel unique and engaging. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Burke is inteliigent, but not an intellect. He has friends like the Professor and the Mole for that. But he is street smart to the nth degree. While no longer the automatically violent character of the early novels, Burke has no qualms about the use of violence when his version of justice requires it. Down Here is a novel of complex interlocking plots, but the edge is still there as he searches for a way to unravel a plot to frame Wolfe, a woman he has long admired, for shooting a serial rapist she once convicted, who has now gone free on a technicality.
The more Burke digs into the accusations and the stonewalling by the district attorney's office, the clearer it becomes that there is more involved than the accusations against Wolfe. The FBI has become involved, as well as white supremacists and terrorists. Wolfe is a pawn in a deeper game. And while she fights to beat the case against her, it is not all that clear that she welcomes Burke's involvement.
To me, Down Here marks Burke's real return to the city and his friends. Previously, right after he returned from his 'trip' to the West Coast, his membership in New York's underground felt awkward and stilted.Read more ›
DOWN HERE is more is more a straightforward tale of deduction and discovery than earlier books in the series. Burke --- back from the "dead", returned to the fold of his "family" of choice, once again prowling the streets and shadow-worlds of New York City --- is on a mission to prove the innocence of Wolfe, former sex crimes prosecutor, now falsely accused of the attempted murder of a vicious serial rapist freed on a technicality. Burke's long-smoldering though unrequited love for Wolfe pushes him to pursue this proof past the understanding of those closest to him, past the wishes of even Wolfe, perhaps past Burke's own understanding as well. This relentless, beyond-reason, beyond-profit motive quest manages to humanize Burke to a degree we haven't seen before. What's more, we find him to be a somewhat more subdued Burke than in the past. Subdued like a napping pit bull. When it counts, he is as focused and methodical and grimly determined as ever.
The plot of DOWN HERE is tight, the ending solid with a timely, unnerving twist.Read more ›
"Somebody down here, boss. Asking for you." Gateman's voice, prison-whispering to me up the intercom. ... "You get a name?" I asked.
"Pepper, right?" I heard him say to the visitor.
"Short girl, pretty, dark hair, kilowatt smile?" I asked.
"All but the last, boss," Gateman said. "And she's got company."
"What's he --?"
"It's a dog, boss. Big-ass Rottweiler."
That's when I knew the wheels had come off.
For several years now, Burke --- Gateman's "boss" --- has been believed dead by all but a discreet circle of people. Now his visitor, Pepper, brings him news that draws him to the surface once again. She explains that Wolfe, ex-prosecutor and long-time object of Burke's infatuation, has been arrested for attempted murder. The victim? None other than John Anson Wychek, a serial rapist Wolfe tried to put away, but whose conviction was overturned.
With no time to waste, Burke springs to action, assembling his motley crew: the Prof (short for the Professor or the Prophet, depending on your viewpoint), Max the Silent, Burke's little sister Michelle, and Mama, proprietress of a restaurant that does more than double as a front for Burke's strategizing sessions. A woman of few words, Mama does a formidable job of cooking and assessing situations.
Burke's entourage snaps to work interviewing Wychek's victims, looking for common threads. In addition to receiving a mysterious postcard recently, there are other similarities to their cases.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Rebeccasreads recommends Burke's latest incarnation as he sets out not only to prove the beautiful Wolfe innocent of attempted murder, he wants to skewer the creep Wycheck &... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Rebecca Brown
Burke, as always, is a fascinating character. This book kept me turning the pages but the ending was hard to swallow. Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by Robert I. Katz
Burke is lost without his dog Pansy. But he is doing better.
If you would like to see how he has changed, go back to Hard Candy or Blossom. Read more
In DOWN HERE, the 15th book in Andrew Vachss' extremely popular "Burke" series, Mr. Vachss' protagonist, Burke, finds himself trying to unravel the complicated strands of... Read morePublished on May 19 2004 by Reader
Andrew Vachss is a unique voice in American literature. This is another solid entry in the Burke series and provides a lot of what I have loved about reading this stuff for 16... Read morePublished on May 19 2004 by Stew Weldon
Anticlimatic to a fault. The dialogue is smooth and the reading flows easily, but the ending is a serious let down. Much ado about nothing.Published on May 14 2004 by John Bowes
In "Down Here," Burke is dragged into investigating a crime that's being blamed on Wolfe, the stunning prosecutor-turned rogue by circumstances that never should have... Read morePublished on May 1 2004 by Rebekah Sue Carolla
Well, at least Burke is back in New York City with his family (Mama, Max the Silent, the Professor, Michelle, the Mole, Clarence and Terry). That's a beginning! Read morePublished on April 30 2004 by Wayne C. Rogers
The latest Burke novel is a little more mellow than some of the previous books of the series. Part of that is because Burke himself is a changed man, I suppose. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by Ian Fowler