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Blue Belle by Andrew Vachss

Blue Belle (1988)

by Andrew Vachss

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Burke (3)

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455334,833 (3.93)7



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Showing 3 of 3
The third Burke novel and as with the previous two, titled after the woman central to the story. As I was reading, this was easily my least favorite so far--and by a wide margin. I’ll put aside the transparent mystery of the Ghost Van. That’s a time issue. In 1988, when Blue Belle was published, it would take more than half the book to figure it out. It’s hardly fair to hold that against Vachss since it’s because of the tireless work of him and others like him that these things are no longer a dirty secret here in 2016. It was Belle I had the problem with. We got essentially the same scene between her and Burke over and over: her desperate need for his love, his need for her to conform to the rules by which he lives his life, the clash of the two, and an accepted agreement or stalemate. Mix and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Not that Belle wasn’t an interesting character. Sprinkling her past into scenes like these is one of Vachss’ premier skills. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough history to invigorate these exchanges as they started to repeat themselves. But remember, I qualified my comments with “as I was reading.” Once we got down to dealing with the main villain and the cost of doing so, Blue Belle was as good as anything Vachss has written (conceding I’m three novels and one co-written short story into his work). A great ending can cover a multitude of sins. And this hardly qualified as a multitude. ( )
  JohnWCuluris | Jun 22, 2016 |
If you like the earlier Burke books you'll probably like this one. Vachss pulls back the curtain slightly more on Burke's psychology. I enjoy how he explains some odd behaviors and why they make sense to a, um, non-citizen.

I enjoy Vachss' dialog but he goes just a little too far in stripping it down, to the point where you wonder if anyone actually talks that way.

Maybe I'm just cynical but Vachss did not sell me well enough on why Burke would fall so hard for Belle when he's still thinking of Flood.

Belle was an odd mix of competent (such a pro getaway driver) and ignorant (the "rules"). Also her physical description had me confused and made her seem less human.

The whole deal about keeping Max away from Mortay was contrived. He was worried that even if Max won he would be "known" for dropping Mortay? Couple of issues with that. Lots of people wanted to drop Mortay so it wouldn't be obvious who managed it (as we find in the next book, Hard Candy!) and Burke himself gets that rep he didn't want Max to have, even though it really was Max's fight. Oh, and put me down for a C-note on Max to win, lol!

Okay, so I sound like I'm griping too much here. I don't come to Vachss with high expectations, as I might with Charlie Huston. I come to be swept away with a gritty tale of urban underbelly fantasy. He did that here and did it with style. ( )
  Penforhire | Feb 18, 2011 |
Finally the last book in the series that I had yet to read. One of the better ones as it is an early one and the story w/ Burke and co. gets filled in more. Another fast and loose read w/ energy and literally explosive endings. ( )
  kanata | Apr 11, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Vachssprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fusco, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaffney, EvanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679761683, Paperback)

            Burke is one of the most cold-blooded yet strangely honorable heroes in the history of crime fiction, an outlaw who makes his living by preying on the most vicious of New York City’s bottom-feeders, those who thrive on the suffering of children.
            In Andrew Vachss’s tautly engrossing novel Burke is given a purse full of dirty money to find the infamous Ghost Van that is cutting a lethal swath among the teenage prostitutes in the ‘hood.  He also gets help in the form of a stripper named Belle, whose moves on the runway are outclassed only by what she can do in a getaway car.  But not even Burke is prepared for the evil that is behind the Ghost Van or for the sheer menace of its guardian, a cadaverous karate expert who enjoys killing so much that he has named himself after death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:45 -0400)

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Love story and a harrowing odyssey through New York's under worlds.

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Average: (3.93)
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2 4
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