All Books

All Books
by Vachss, Andrew
Reviewed by Bkwyrm

Category: Other

You like your prose pretty and sweet and free of issues that make your stomach turn upside down and your eyes start to tear up? I don't. These books aren't occult, they're not even near mystical or religious, but they're about a topic that's more important than the Bible will ever be.

My mother was a child welfare social worker. She died when I was 12. I remember her murmuring to my father, when I was little, about the things she would see, about the things the children would tell her. I started reading Andrew Vachss when I was in college, when I picked up his first novel, Flood, and met his antihero, Burke. I spent the rest of that year scouring used bookstores for more. That summer, I went back to my hometown and my summer job - visitation clerk at the Indiana State Maximum Security Prison. I think that, as well as the memory of my mother, has a lot to do with why I like Andrew Vachss' work so much.

Burke is a criminal. He was raised by the State, he went to prison, he got out of prison, he went back in, he got out again and is trying like hell not to get sent there again. He has a family of choice, not of blood. He commits crimes - hijacking, thievery, blackmail. He was abused as a child by the System, and he's abusing it right back. The theme of striking back against child molesters, baby rapers, the scum who get their kicks from kiddie porn, runs through all of Vachss' novels. This is barbed-wire fiction that is only a half a step removed from what goes on in our world every day. It isn't pretty, but it's goddamned important. I think my mother would like him, would like what he has to say, and would like his crusade against the monsters who terrorize children and call themselves “sick.” That's the highest praise I've ever given an author. Read the books in order, out of order, however you want. Buy them, get them from a library, borrow them from someone you know. Visit the Zero web site and learn more about Andrew Vachss, the books he writes, and the fight that exists to keep child molesters from getting to children.

Andrew Vachss at Amazon