“Safelight, Shannon Burke’s novel of paramedics and violent death in New York’s tougher quarters, is provoking and disturbing. How could it be otherwise? What is startling and unexpected, however, is that despite the unblinking, bloodstained photo-realism of its reportage, Safelight is above all a work of nerveless intelligence, disarming tenderness, and hard-won optimism.”
“There is a dark side in all of us and Burke is not afraid of it. In Safelight, he explores our all-too-human instincts without pity, condescension, or romance. He creates characters that are real, that feel, and that make us feel–and he does so with formidable grace. This book will make you cry. But it will be worth it.”
“Burke immerses the reader in the urgent world of emergency medicine. Using photography sometimes as his weapon, sometimes as his moral eye, paramedic Frank Verbeckas explores the blurred lines between victim and victimizer, the criminal and the cop, as well as his own difficult past. It is a stunning debut novel about what it is to be human, to feel.”
–A. M. HOMES
“A powerful, hypnotic, and strangely beautiful vision of hell on earth. Burke’s voice floats out over our hemisphere amidst the distinctive strains of Denis Johnson, Raymond Carver, and Frederick Exley. But in the end, his frequency is all his own. A fearless debut.”
“Pitch-perfect dialogue and [a] feel for male camaraderie give [Safelight] an electric charge. . . . Burke’s evocation of a murky world, where savior and sinner come in one macho package, . . . makes this an exhilarating standout.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
From the Hardcover edition.