I have read many books related to war, but they are mostly about the war, eg history (Rise & Fall of the 3rd Reich), economics (The Wages of Destruction), holocaust (Hitler's Willing Executioners), from which I have learned a lot. But as a reader, I remained at a distance from the experience of the war, the proverbial "arm-chair" observer. So I thank you for referring me to Intimate Voices and a closer encounter to this violent wound in human history. ...It evoked a dimension of empathy and compassion.
This is a unique read that puts the horror and stupidity of war up close and personal. And it brought so much of what I have previously read as an observer up close and much more personal. It reminds me that I have had a life of grace in that I have been spared the experience of war - at least so far.
Before Burke, Andrew Vachss created Wesley, the ultimate ice-man. "A Bomb Built in Hell" is Wesley's story. While doing time for manslaughter, Wesley meets prison boss Carmine Trentoni, an Old School gangster who no longer believes in the blood-oath hetookyears ago. Carmine's triple life sentence hasn't cut him off from all his outside sources he has waited with the patience of stone for someone capable of absorbing his knowledge . . . and carrying out his sworn vengeance. Wesley emerges from prison as the perfect hit man: calculating, deadly, and ice-cold. He follows Carmine's instructions: locate the last of us, one Mr. Petraglia, thenassassinate a Chinatown gang boss and a Mafia chief bothhad overstepped theirbounds. But then Wesley findshis "own"mission: As he begins to see the root of all he has learned to hate, he and a youth just out of reform school, known only as The Kid, begin to take out political targets. In a final burst of understanding, Wesley decides to leave The Kid behind. But not before he writes his own suicide note . . . in dynamite.
About the Author
Andrew Vachss is a lawyer who represents children and youths exclusively. His many novels include the Burke series and two collections of short stories. His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in "Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, " and" The New York Times, " among other publications. He divides his time between his native New York City and the Pacific Northwest.
“Vachss doesn’t sugarcoat things in this brutal, detailed piece of work, but that’s what makes it fascinating. Vachss’ fans will love this example of the author’s early writing, which predates his Burke books by several years. Rejected by publishers decades ago due to its high level of violence, the years have not diminished its impact.” —Mystery Scene
“History has caught up to Wesley’s bleak odyssey, repeatedly rejected for publication decades ago but now unnervingly prescient.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A Bomb Built in Hell presages motifs Vachss employed in the Burke novels, but even crime fans unfamiliar with Burke can relish it. Wesley is utterly remorseless, and the story is told in the coldest and sparest of prose.” —Booklist