Andrew Vachss, the hard-boiled mystery writer who devoted his career to fighting for the protection of abused and neglected children, has died aged 79. New York Times reports

Vachss died on November 23, and reports of his death circulated on social media last month, but were not officially confirmed until the Time report on Monday, which quoted his wife, Alice Vachss.

Vachss worked as a lawyer and guardian representing children and was considered an expert on abuse and neglect. He made his fiction debut in 1985 with Flooda novel about a rough-and-tumble private detective named Burke on the trail of a child predator in New York.

Burke would appear in many of Vachss’ other novels, including: SacrificeDown in the zeroand False accusations† His more recent books include a series called the Aftershock Trilogy, and a new book, bloodlineabout a vigilante tracking child predators online will be published next week by Wolfpack Publishing.

Admirers of Vachss paid tribute to him on social media. Journalist Robert Anglen wrote,,I will never tire of his prose, his mission and his passion. I still mourn the loss of @AndrewVachss and his unique voice in the world of crime fiction.”

And novelist Gabino Iglesias tweeted“Sad to hear that the great Andrew Vachss has passed away. He was a kind man, a great writer and a tireless fighter for children. Rest in power, good lord.”

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and a regular contributor to NPR.