FLOOD CLEAN UP TIPS. CLEANING HORSE BRUSHES.
Burke’s newest client is a woman named Flood, who has the face of an angel, the body of a high-priced stripper, and the skills of a professional executioner. She wants Burke to find a monster for her — so she can kill him with her bare hands. In this cauterizing thriller, Andrew Vachss’s renegade private eye teams up with a lethally gifted avenger to follow a child’s murderer through the catacombs of New York, where every alley is blind and the penthouses are as dangerous as the basements. Fearfully knowing, crackling with narrative tension, and written in prose as forceful as a hollow-point slug, Flood is Burke at his deadliest — and Vachss at the peak of his form. “An extraordinary thriller. . . . Vachss never flinches from the horror.” — Washington Post Book World “Burke would eat Spade and Marlowe for breakfast, not even spitting out the bones. [He] is one tough, mean, pray-God-you-don’t-meet-him hombre.” — Boston Herald79% (8)
In Vachss's acclaimed first novel, we are introduced to Burke, the avenging angel of abused children. Burke's client is a woman named Flood, who has the face of an angel, the body of a high-priced stripper, and the skills of a professional executioner. She wants Burke to find a monster -- so she can kill him with her bare hands. In this cauterizing thriller, Andrew Vachss's renegade private eye teams up with a lethally gifted vigilante to follow a child's murderer through the catacombs of New York, where every alley is a setup for a mugging and every tenement has something rotten in the basement. Fearfully knowing, buzzing with narrative tension, and written in prose as forceful as a hollow-point bullet, Flood is Burke at his deadliest -- and Vachss at the peak of his form.
An Interview with Andrew Vachss on Another Life, the Final Book in the Burke Series
Q: There has been some discussion that this might be the last novel in the Burke series. Do you see it that way? And if so, why?
Andrew Vachss: I don't just "see" it that way, I wrote it that way. Another Life is the coda to the Burke novels, the final chapter in a series that has been running since 1985. The timing was no accident. If I was to keep faith to those who gone the distance with me, I had to be true to my original promise: unlike some series in which the protagonist never ages, I set out to have each book show the main characters not only aging, but changing as well. Even dying. This series is all about "Family of Choice." All the members of Burke's family share this truth: The most righteous of parents don't want their children to "follow in their footsteps," they want their children to walk past those footsteps. Burke's family have always walked the outlaw road, and can never walk another. But as the children reach adulthood, it is the family's blood obligation to fork that road for them. And that time has now come.
Q: This is the 18th volume in the Burke series. How has the series changed? How have the issues you address in the novels changed over the years?
AV: I am not sure the series has changed... because all the changes depicted throughout have been part of the original concept. Of all of the descriptions of my books, Sonny Mehta dubbing them "investigative novels" is the one I am proudest of, because I wanted the books to be Trojan horses, a platform from which I could show people a world known only to the "Children of The Secret." I didn't know there was a name for such an intent until I won the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere and a French reporter told me the Burke series was "litterature engagee." My goal was not to raise consciousness, but to raise anger. Ours is a country where anything can be accomplished if enough people get angry... because, in America, we act on our collective anger. If you want proof of how that works, just take a look at how New York State finally closed the hated (and virtually unknown) “incest exception.” When I first wrote about predatory pedophiles modem-trafficking in kiddie porn, reviewers condemned the book as a product of my "sick imagination." Who would say that today? Time and time again what I have written about has "come true." This is not because I am prescient, it is that my work takes me places most citizens never see. So the issues never really change, but as more and more folks become aware of the foundational truth in my "fiction," those issues no longer flourish in the shadows. Years after the series launched, enough folks focused their rage at how children are seen as property in America to form the first PAC (Political Action Committee) solely devoted to child protection. Anyone who says "books don't change anything," or--more commonly--that crime fiction is the wrong genre for promoting social change--should take a closer look.
Q: Burke has a very close family of choice. What drew these people together, and what do you see is the future for them, beyond the series?
AV: It would be easy to say that everyone in Burke's family was a "Child of The Secret," but that would not be true. What they have most powerfully in common is a marrow-deep hatred of humans who prey on children. The rest of the question is actually answered within the book itself, and I'm not a fan of "spoilers."
Q: Over the years, you're consistently ahead of the curve in terms of spotting cultural, political, and criminal trends before they become headlines. How are you constantly able to do this? And is there anything in this new novel that you think is likely to be in tomorrow's headlines?
AV: It's no great trick to spot things you see with your own eyes, which is why I wrote about predatory pedophiles deliberately seeking work in day care centers, or organ trafficking, or cults practicing "baby-breeding"... it's a long list. Most folks had never even heard the word "piquerist" before my novel on the subject. And although it looks as if I "predicted" the use of the Internet to lure children, or what I called "noir verite," etc., I was functioning far more as journalist than a novelist when I wrote about such things. Burke has two extraordinary skills which set him apart from his contemporaries: the "pattern-recognition software" inside his mind, and his ability to extract information. Another Life is going to showcase both of those skills far more than any previous book. As for "tomorrow's headlines," you have to remember that I wrote the book over a year ago... so some have already surfaced. Ask my scalpel-penciled editor--Edward Kastenmeier--if you doubt my word. Many times we have had to alter a manuscript because what I was "predicting" had just come to pass. I don't know how long it is going to take for some of the truth revealed in Another Life to reach public consciousness. It may be "tomorrow's headlines"... or it may be another year or two. But if you look at my track record, you'll know where to put your money down.
(Photo Credit National Association to Protect Children)
The Oliver Road Floods. A letter sent to Cyril Smith by the then Secretary Fred Lineham highlighting the flooding problems at Oliver and Auckland Road sites. He says It took some time, but it was most enjoyable as I had to research quite extensively. This may appear a bit rambling in places, as I am trying to remember six years on, three years of research involving over a thousand maps and related papers. I used materials from Valance House, Passmore Edwards, Metropolitan Water Board, Essex County Records, Bazalgette's own papers, Inland Waterways Library and local Parish Records plus Vestry House and London Records. To understand the drainage system at Oliver Road, you have to take in a very much wider area than just the site. On the site itself you have to consider three points: 1.The complex system of the original underground streams. 2.The work done by Bazalgette during the Great Stink. 3.The extra piping laid due to the building of the Leyton Sewerage Works, the remains of which are at the lower end of the site. Now all of this is totally complicated by the fact that most of the work was never incorporated into our local ground maps. An example of how this happened is as follows. Two brothers, one a Leyton Council official, the other a Leytonstone Council official were nominated by their respective Parish Councils to ensure that the London Drain would pass through their Parish and not the others as you got many Brownie Points by having the prestigious London Drain running under your high street. Both brothers kept their plans about their person at al times and when the Drain was awarded to Leytonstone, our lad in a fit of pique, stole his brother's papers and burnt them. In retaliation, the other brother hired two local hard men to duff up his brother and steal his papers, but the local police (I am sure it could not have been Frances Road Station) chased and caught the villains but before they were apprehended they fed the papers to a goat to lose the evidence. These papers contained details of all the local streams with flow rates, all the original piping and land drainage. This is why all of the very complex streams and pipes are not on the Water Board's ground maps of our site. You are dealing with very ancient waterways here, as originally, our site area was at the edge of a great marsh east of London. A number of streams run down from the high forest areas of Epping and Wanstead, by way of Whipps Cross. For instance the Hollow and Eagle Ponds feed the Fillebrook Stream which runs alongside the Auckland Road Site. Another historical point, is that it was around here that Alfred blocked some rivers and streams to form extra marshland in order to keep the Danes at bay. There are two high points in this area, one at what is now Ruckholt Road. Ruckholt being a derivation of Rock Halt and this was an outcrop in the marshland area, fortified by an early Viking who used it as a power base to rule the marsh area, the second high point is at the present junction of Osier Way and Oliver Road. It was here that the Passmore Edwards team found a Neolithic Settlement, ideally placed between two main stream inlets to the marsh area. A minor stream flowed along the course where Windsor Road is today and joined up with one of the main streams which came through the Thornhill Road area, while the second main stream, this the one which we are interested in, flowed through Wilmot Road. These two main streams are mentioned by Julius Caesar, as when the locals Brits at Ilford were giving him trouble, overnight, he crossed the Ley with a strong force and crossing our two streams with difficulty, as he had cavalry with him and the banks were very steep, marched overland and set up his attack formation at the top of what is now Ilford Hill. When the local Brits got up the following morning, they found the Roman Army ready to fight. The Brits surrendered at once. During the 1800's there was quite a severe earthquake in Essex and this resulted in the Thornhill and Windsor Road streams being diverted along Oliver Road and running down to where the Fillebrook Stream was running. To avoid the major flooding that this caused an open land drain was run alongside the old Fillebrook. It is this which causes the flooding outside the Orient's Ground during heavy rainstorms. If the portcullis at the exit of the Fillebrook where it runs into the main Dagenham Ditch, which is on the Auckland Road Site is not kept clear, there will be a feed-back of flood water along the Fillebrook and the open land drain cannot expend its excess water into the stream, so it then comes up through the drains outside of the Orient's Ground. I realised this fifteen years ago when the Oliver Road site was always flooding in the rainy season. I undertook to keep the portcullis clear and the flooding stopped during the period. Sometime after I left the Sites I began to hear on the local wireless traffic reports of the flooding staIMGP6239sm Aswan Low Dam
In 1902, the Aswan Low Dam was completed on the Nile River by the British. This threatened many ancient landmarks, including the temple complex of Philae, with being submerged. The dam was heightened twice, from 1907–12 and from 1929–34, and the island of Philae was nearly always flooded. In fact, the complex was not underwater only when the dam's sluices were open, from July to October. It was postulated that the temples be relocated, piece by piece, to nearby islands, such as Bigeh or Elephantine. However, the temples' foundations and other architectural supporting structures were strengthened instead. Although the buildings were physically secure, the island's attractive vegetation and the colors of the temples' reliefs were washed away. Also, the bricks of the Philae temples soon became encrusted with silt and other debris carried by the Nile. In 1960 UNESCO started a project in order to try and save the buildings on the island from the destructive effect of the ever increasing waters of the Nile. The temples had been practically intact since the ancient days, but with each inundation the situation worsened and in the sixties the island was submerged up to a third of the buildings all year round. First of all a large coffer dam was built, constructed of two rows of steel plates between which a million cubic meters of sand was tipped. Any water that seeped through was pumped away. Next the monuments were cleaned and measured, by using Photogrammetry, a method that enables the exact reconstruction of the original size of the building blocks that were used by the ancients. Then every building was dismantled into ca 40 000 units, and then transported to the nearby island of Agilkia, situated on higher ground some 500 m away.
An American Book Award winner and an Editor's Choice of the New York Times, Flood! is the powerful first graphic novel by Eric Drooker, frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. Flood! is a modern novel written in the ancient language of pictures, with an expressionist, film noir edge. This "definitive edition" of Flood! is a unique record of our country's turbulent past--and corporate present --and a must-read for students of graphic storytelling. This third edition also features a new cover by Drooker and a complete re-design. Flood! A Novel in Pictures, was followed by Drooker's acclaimed book, Blood Song: A Silent Ballad.See also:
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