In Burke, Andrew Vachss gave readers (and listeners) of crime fiction a hero they could believe in, an avenger whose sense of justice was forged behind bars and tempered on New York’s meanest streets.
In this blistering thriller, Burke is drawn into his ugliest case yet, one that involves an underground network of abused women and the sleekly ingenious stalkers who’ve marked them as their personal victims.
Burke’s client is Crystal Beth, a beautiful outlaw with a tattoo on her face and a mission burned into her heart. She’s trying to shield one of her charges from a vengeful ex with fetishes for Nazism and torture. But the stalker has a protector, someone so informed, so ruthless, and so connected that he need only make a few phone calls to shut down Crystal Beth’s operation for good - and Burke along with it.
Sinuous in its complexities, brutal in its momentum, Safe House is Burke at the edge of his nerve and cunning. And it’s Vachss at the peak of his form.
More mayhem? Listen to another Burke thriller.
©2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; 1999 Andrew Vachss
"Scorching...the prose is accomplished, stylized and flinty; the plot is direct and commanding.” (Seattle Times)
“Vachss’s reverence for storytelling is evident in the blunt beauty of his language.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
... unless you enjoy pornography, which I don't. Nonetheless, I am listening to Vachss entire Burke series, in sequence, because it does have some significant redeeming qualities: excellent writing, excellent plotting, and excellent narration. If only Andrew Vachss would stop indulging in his ridiculous male sexual fantasies .... (His books would end up a lot shorter!) You stand forewarned: You will hear the "F" word quite a lot. You will have to put up with a lot of misogyny. The female characters are constantly not only offering themselves to Burke, but literally 𝙛o𝙧𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 themselves upon him, poor guy. (Burke is described as not too good looking, not in very good shape, and he chain-smokes all day long. I guess that he must have something else going for him ....) We hear frequently about how much Burke is enjoying felatio, but not how he is offering the corresponding service to his partner. The female characters act dingy, and Burke calls them "little girl," or "bitch," interrupts them in the middle of their attempts to communicate with him, and treats them like dirt. ("I have had so much sex with so many women in my life. Some of them I even liked.") The only other author to whom I could even remotely compare Andrew Vachss would be James Ellroy; but Vachss writes even darker and angrier. I probably would never read the Burke series in print; but Phil Gigante's narration has me totally addicted. Gigante can do 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜. He has the most amazing vocal repertoire of any narrator that I have listened to. I don't even know, for sure, what his natural voice sound like, because he can do so many voices and so many accents so well. It almost justifies the purchase of one of Vachss' Burke series audiobooks just to hear Gigante doing Mama -- the Chinese matriarch of Burke's gang-𝘤𝗎𝘮-family. He does Mama spot-on. Gigante can not only do many different male voices in conversation with each other, but also many different female voices as well; and switch between them instantly when they interrupt each other. In short, I would recommend Vachss' Burke series to anyone who loves good acting, and to most male listeners; but don't start with "Safe House." You need to listen to the Burke series in chronological order, starting with "Flood," otherwise you will miss out on a lot of the ongoing story. Brace yourself for dark, angry, grimy, hard-boiled violence.
Vachss is the best mystery/thriller writer in the business. He is the hardest boiled, the darkest, and the one that exposes the underside of society that few really want to see. His novels facinate and repulse. He shows you horror without the supernatural or the unbelievable. His stories teach you a lot but also make you want to walk more cautiously on the street. This is another great addition to the Burke novels. Reader was wonderful also.
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