Children are another chance to get it right. 

I didn’t come up with that. It’s a line from Batman: The Ultimate Evil by Andrew Vachss. It’s about child abuse, and how Batman despairs as the “ultimate evil” refuses to yield to his considerable crime-fighting skill-set. It’s grim and rough and brutally realistic, but there is a ray of hope. And it’s this: 

Children are another chance to get it right.


This myth-shattering graphic novel challenges readers to re-examine how the media “governs” their lives, whether in print, over the airwaves, or online. A chilling account of willingly-embraced oppression and abandonment of individual autonomy in exchange for the predictability and comfort of fascism, Underground is a new genre: the Graphic Novel presented as Visual Cinema. Adapted from the original screenplay of Andrew Vachss by Mike Richardson (47 RoninCrimson EmpireThe Secret) and noted author Chet Williamson, with art by Dominic Reardon best known for his work on 2000 A.D.


You will probably never be as badass as Andrew Vachss.

If Bruce Wayne was real, he would ask this dude for advice.

  • Crime fiction author (25 novels & 2 collections of short stories)
  • Poet & graphic novelist (including a batman graphic novel)
  • Child protection consultant
  • Attorney representing exclusively children and youths
  • Founder and national advisory board member of PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children.
  • Before becoming an attorney, he was a social worker.
  • Worked in Africa in the 70’s getting food to starving people.
  • Looks awesome in an eyepatch.


Some books don’t get put down when you finish reading them. Some books stay on your fingers like tar.

Cain is rough. Jim Thompson lingers. 

But Andrew Henry Vachss…

It’s not specifically his life that he’s writing about. A man who’s spent his life protecting children and dealing with the aftermath of child abuse, Vachss’ rage is a tangible thing, so his character Burke has a depth, a fire that will not be quenched…

Sure, there were sociopaths in Noir Fiction before Burke, but what I think sets the character apart is the fact that Vachss has first hand knowledge of what goes into creating a career offender, the types of humiliation and violation that a person has to suffer to strip him of humanity.

But that’s not the end of the story. It’s not just the rage. Burke is also a character that has been redeemed. Despite all the hardship and all the pain, he’s made a family for himself, a community that stand by him, and this is what saves him from being a monster.

His adventures, as a result, co-mingle revenge and hope in a way that I’ve never seen done before. That every book deals with Burke hunting down and killing a different predatory sexual offender, I know makes him a hard read for most, but if you’re looking to take a walk into hell, you couldn’t have a better guide…

“You know what it takes to sit across the table from a man, listen to him talk, look into his eyes … and then blow his brains all over the wallpaper? Nothing. And the more of that you have, the easier it is.”

–from DEAD AND GONE by Andrew Vachss

It’s not an unusual job for Burke—career criminal and ultimate urban man-for-hire—to act as middleman in an exchange of cash for a kidnapped child. But this time the only things exchanged are bullets. Burke loses his beloved partner, and lies in a hospital bed close to—or maybe even past—death, hovering in a netherworld of nightmares and hallucinations. When he finally escapes from the hospital, his appearance has changed radically—and so has he. Burke’s religion is revenge. Eager to begin worship, he meets with the man who set up the exchange. When that meeting ends in homicide, Burke goes deeper underground than ever before—he vanishes off every radar screen and starts to hunt. Along the way, he enlists the aid of a pilot he hasn’t seen since the war in Biafra and a Russian-speaking Cambodian woman named Gem. And he must locate a mystical childhood friend who finds patterns where others see chaos. With their help, Burke uncovers a frightening and evil foreign territory—a safe harbor for predatory degenerates. Stunning in its execution, shocking in its conclusion, Dead and Gone gives us a new Burke: trapped out of his element—and more dangerous than ever. Read an excerpt here: