Synopses & Reviews
For years Burke has harbored an outlaw's hard love for Wolfe, the beautiful, driven former sex-crimes prosecutor who was fired for refusing to "go along to get along." So when Wolfe is arrested for the attempted murder of John Anson Wychek, a vicious rapist she once prosecuted, Burke deals himself in. That means putting together a distrustful alliance between his underground "family of choice," Wolfe's private network, and a rogue NYPD detective who has his own stake in the outcome.
Burke knows that Wolfe's alleged "victim," although convicted only once, is actually a serial rapist. The deeper he presses, the more gaping holes he finds in the prosecution's case, but shadowy law enforcement agencies seem determined to protect Wychek at all costs, no matter who it sacrifices. Burke ups the ante by re-opening all the old "cold case" rape investigations, calls in a lot of markers from both sides of the law, and finally shows all the players why "down here" is no place for tourists.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The narrative spine is a bit more collapsible than usual, but pace, tone, and atmospherics are all Vachss-grade." Kirkus Reviews
"Old characters come back as Burke reminisces about his past and makes a surprising discovery about himself and his current life. Nothing particularly special here, but fans of Burke will want to read his latest exploits." Library Journal
"Vachss's mastery of dialogue moves the story along at breakneck pace....If I hadn't had a houseful of guests to cook for on the evening I picked up Down Here, I would have finished it before dessert." BookReporter.com
"Vachss assembles all the pieces for an exciting thriller, but Down Here slows to a crawl....On the evidence of Down Here, Burke might be given a little more time off." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"[T]autly written, relentlessly depressing about the human condition, yet ultimately triumphant. Burke is the uncrowned king of the lawless good guys, and Down Here will advance his legend among mystery aficionados the world over." BookPage
"Many writers try to cover the same ground as Vachss. A handful are as good. None are better." People
Bone-crushing impact, set in a milieu that clogs the lungs and stings the eyes, Down Here is the penetrating and remarkable thriller from a master of American noir.
About the Author
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 and youths exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, two collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, 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 numerous other forums. A native New Yorker, he now divides his time between the city of his birth and the Pacific Northwest.