Michael Dirda (review date 15 September 1985)
SOURCE: "Down and Dirty," in Washington Post Book World, Vol. XV, No. 37, September 15, 1985, p. 6.
[In the following review. Dirda provides a brief overview of Flood.]
Andrew H. Vachss has written quite an extraordinary thriller in Flood. Imagine a New York where the streets are worse than mean, they're positively depraved. The hero Burke is a private detective (sort of) with an engineer's approach to survival. He lives with a huge mongrel named Pansy in an apartment fortified like a bank vault; he drives a $40,000 Plymouth loaded with more gadgetry than James Bond's Aston Martin. His friends include a transvestite prostitute, a mute Tibetan fighting machine named Max, a panhandler called the Prof (short for Professor or Prophet, no one's sure which), an electronic wizard who lives underground beneath a pile of junked cars, and a doctor who doubles as the secret leader of an Hispanic revolutionary group.
In his first case, Burke takes on a client named Flood, a martial arts expert, searching for the man who raped and killed a little girl. Together they make quite a team, something like Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin in a novel by Celine. For this is a very violent book, and Vachss never flinches from the horror: he includes a sickening description of a snuff movie, chilling (yet comic) portraits of would-be soldiers of fortune, and a convincing look at the underworld of child...
(The entire section is 466 words.)