For all secrets created, a tiny percentage is kept against any intrusion. The ultimate extractor of such secrets is The Questioner – a man who has trained himself to become empty, who uses that emptiness to listen fully, to sense what others need to hear, to respond in ways that lead them to reveal their most protected thoughts. Disdaining torture or coercion, he mines those secrets with nothing more than conversation.

For those who meet his price – governments, multinational corporations, and the most complex criminal organizations – The Questioner obtains information. The secrets he learns can create or topple empires, win or destroy fortunes, lubricate the gears of the world ... or grind them to a halt.

But as the Questioner moves from one target to the next, just beyond the outer edge of his probes lurks something dangerous to his own emptiness. It will force him to turn his powers inward, to ask how he became what he is, and to find a truth he has never sought.

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator (USPHS), a social services caseworker, and directed a maximum security institution for “aggressive-violent” youths. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. His articles and essays have appeared in Parade, MSNBC, New York Daily News, New York Times, Newsday, the ABA Journal, and the Journal of Psychohistory, along with numerous other forums. He is the author of more than thirty novels and three collections of short stories, which have earned him such international awards as the Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére (France), the Falcon Award from the Maltese Falcon Society of Japan, the Deutschen Krimi Preis (Germany) and the Raymond Chandler Award (Italy), as well as graphic novels and a variety of special projects. He is most currently engaged in the work of the Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection ( Mr. Vachss lives and works in both his native New York City and the Pacific Northwest. More information is available at

Oh, my goodness. This is Andrew Vachss at his most engaging and insightful. The Questioner comes across as both riveting tale and instructional guide to the savage mind, the ones who lurk on the outskirts of society and identify victims like hungry lions determining the weakest antelope in a herd. This story looks right into the primitive brain of those who seek control over others for power and dark satisfaction. Right down to the last thrilling and chilling lines of this gripping tale, it's obvious Vachss knows something the rest of us actually know deep in our own primitive brains but are afraid to address. Vachss opens that door for us and turns on the light, dim and as bug-swarmed as it might be, and lets us see, and feel, the ugly truth.

JOE LANSDALE, author of the Hap and Leonard series

Andrew Vachss after literally a lifetime of vigilant service to the marginalised and abused has produced his finest work. A stunning, vital, necessary book that is so desperately needed in these insane times.

KEN BRUEN, author of the Jack Taylor series, Blitz, London Boulevard

The Questioner is vintage Vachss: the unparalleled insights into the darkest aspects of human nature; the unflinching portrayal of a societal underbelly Vachss has seen firsthand, and understands like no other writer I’ve ever known. But it’s a departure, too, introducing a new character whose abilities are more cerebral than physical, an interrogator who knows that ‘lie detectors’ are useless against someone who can’t feel guilt, but who doesn’t need a machine because he has something better: himself.

BARRY EISLER, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Killer Collective