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Blue Belle Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679761683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679761686
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Burke, the private-eye outlaw with a big place in his heart for kids, is back. When the yuppie-hating horse-playing ex-con takes on the Times Square world of porn and murder, he finds himself facing a deadly karateka (karate expert) named Mortay and falling for a masochistic woman who's learning to deal with her past as an abused child. Burke's quest leads him through the seamy underworld that Vachss has nearly patented in Strega and Flood. Blue Belle often reads like parody of hardboiled detective novels. Short sentences. Punchy. Missing verbs. Yet without Chandler's originality or sense of humor. Though the dialogue has a cynical cast, there is not an ounce of moral ambiguity or ironythe evil child-molester/torturer/ killers versus Burke's family of misfits-with-hearts-of-gold, including a tough Asian matriarch, a tough would-be transsexual, a tough jack-of-all-shady-trades and a host of other gruff but goodhearted low-lifes, each with a redeeming mission in life. That lovable band of grotesques seems to have been drawn from some juvenile novel. The sex scenes, on the other hand, are explicit and a touch sadistic. Blue Belle lacks the jolting realism of Elmore Leonard or the hard poetry of Dash Hammett, yet Vachss's style pays off in the last quarter of the book, when an elaborate scam, a roller coaster of violence and an emotional bang all build to an abrupt climax that leaves the heart pounding.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Better order more than one copy of this thriller. Readers will be tearing the pages apart to find out what happens next as Vachss reaches new heights, and depths, in this third entry in his investigator Burke series. Again the hero's special morality draws him into a case involving the sleaziest sex factories in New York, darting from strip joints to massage parlors to a mysterious Ghost Van that kidnaps very young girls for kiddie-porn and snuff videos. Burke's unorthodox "family" of helpers are here, and new love interest Belle participates in some very steamy sex scenes. Violence laced with the bizarre, the super-cool, and wit, this novel certifies Vachss as a first-rate writer on crime, the underworld, and the pits of the human heart and soul. Robert H. Donahugh, Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for "aggressive-violent" youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, three collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, essays, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, The New York Times, and many other forums. His books have been awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére, the Falcon Award, Deutschen Krimi Preis, Die Jury des Bochumer Krimi Archivs and the Raymond Chandler Award (per Giurìa a Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy). Andrew Vachss' latest books are Mortal Lock (Vintage, May 2013) and Aftershock (Pantheon, June 2013). The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is vachss.com.

Customer Reviews

This novel is, pure and simple, the most forthright of all of his novels.
Ryan Kuntze
He just has to find out what it is and how to eliminate both problems....while protecting his brother's family.
Jana L. Perskie
I have read all of Vachss's Burke novels and this one is one of my favorites.
Brian D. Rubendall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andre Vachss' "Blue Belle" is my third Burke novel. All three book are excellent, but Burke, the man, and the strange folks who people his world and call him" friend" are what keeps me a faithful fan. They are my focus, whatever the plot. And the plots are good, fast-paced and riveting. However, this far-out group of characters has me hooked on the series. Burke is as complex a figure as they come, and he grows, evolves and changes with each book. I have never encountered anyone quite like him before in fiction. He is a hard-boiled, in-your-face, ex-con detective, who still isn't sure on which side of the law he prefers to operate. A survivor, at all cost, he is also a stand-up guy. Vachss delves more into Burke's past here, reveals more about his various prison stints and what he learned there. Fascinating stuff. If you are a Vachss/Burke fan, or become one, I would suggest that you try to read the books in order - at least the first 3 or 4. Of course, every novel stands on its own, independent of the others, but the character's development is continual. There are also references to past events, and for a richer reading experience it is helpful to know the history. If you're just looking for a good read, and not interested in becoming a Burke maven, then by all means, read at random.

"Blue Belle" is one hard-hitting novel, reminiscent of crime fiction in the 1940s and 50s, though much more disturbing. Burke, as always, is our narrator. Everything and everyone comes under his cynical, seen-it-all scrutiny. I have never learned more about the underworld and the seamier side of life, the one most people rarely observe, than through the author's narrative. Burke's expert eyes take in details of life on the street that mine never would.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert and Lottie on November 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have been a somewhat long-time fan of Andrew Vachss, after seeing an interview of him with (I admit)Oprah. After watching him, I could see where the hard edge to Burke comes from, and this is most apparent in his masterpiece, Blue Belle. I cannot begin to describe the tale woven into this powerful work of prose, but I will warn you now- put time aside for this, for once you start, Vachss grabs you by the lapels (if you are lucky) and drags you in. So I tell you: Take the phone off the hook, turn off the TV, leave a note on the door telling your friends that you are alive and well....but to bug off, pick up this book and take a trip into the darker underbelly of New York. It is more then worth the time, and your friends will forgive you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RONALD on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Vachss/Burke combo follows the exploits of a dark, disparate group of misfits in the underbelly of New York. That's the attraction of this series. And the band is back in this third installment but their roles and the basic plot of the novel get diluted when Mr. Vachss deviates into the soft porn genre with the introduction of Belle: an annoying, needy, whiny, woman with a masochist streak in her.
Cut out the repetitive, tiring, boring sections devoted to Burke/Belle's sexual encounters and the book could end up being 100 pages lighter and with a better flowing story. Belle's story could have easily been a 4 page sideline; instead it becomes a second sory that actually detracts from the main story line.
I almost gave up on this but stayed the course in the interest of the continuity of the series. If you are new to the Burke saga, don't start with this one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Kuntze on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Some people would argue that "Flood," his first novel, or his later novels such as "Dead and Gone" are better than "Blue Belle," but I would disagree. Why? This novel is, pure and simple, the most forthright of all of his novels. Burke is clearly not the narrator here--Vachss is. There is so much social commentary involved, and every character is definitely a portrayal of differing aspects of our society. Add to this a story line that is truly magnificent and characters whose depth are unrivaled in other novels by Vachss, and I believe "Blue Belle" comes out on top. Read the novels in chronological order, of course, but reserve a whole night solely for "Blue Belle." I've read it at least six times, and every time I find something new worth thinking about. Not too many novels nowadays deserve as much credit.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By brazos49 VINE VOICE on March 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this is almost a very good book. What I think primarily keeps it from being one is the "over the top" nature of so many characters and so many story elements. For example, in this book one of the villains is Mortay, a hooked up martial arts killer. No problem so far, but - he can dodge bullets?? Too much. Pretty much everything about Belle is overblown as well.
I think if Vachss had just toned down things in general, he would have gained a lot of realism and delivered a fine book. He has the elements, he just seems to lack the confidence in his story to not oversensationalize it.
I've now read two of Vachss' books and I find I have the same feeling after reading this one as I did after Strega - I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to read another one of his works. He delivers some very intriguing, gritty crime material, but he burdens it with some negative baggage. I think I'll browse the reviews for his other works and see if one of them sounds promising. If so, maybe I'll check it out. Otherwise, I think I'll move on.
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