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Hard Candy Paperback – July 4, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vachss's fourth street-smart novel featuring an unlicensed, ex-con private eye known as Burke has the shamus trying to rescue an old flame's daughter from a cult in Brooklyn, while coping with the rumor that he has become a gun for hire. "Burke's turf--the sleazy underbelly of New York--springs to life in cinematic scenes," wrote PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The characters and events are as sharply defined as if they were etched in steel. The prose is short and choppy, like the ticking of a time bomb about to explode." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Torrid, gritty, frightening, compelling." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Burke fills a void.... With his soiled white hat, this Lone Ranger...asks difficult questions while shining light into the darkest recesses." —Chicago Tribune

"There's no way to put a [Vachss book] down once you've begun.... The plot hooks are engaging and the one-liners pierce like bullets." —Detroit Free Press
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More from Andrew Vachss
Andrew Vachss's gritty and seductive novels pull readers into the dark underground of Manhattan crime. Visit Amazon's Andrew Vachss Page.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679761691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679761693
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
The most compelling character in the Burke "detective" series, the assassain Wesley, is the star of "Hard Candy," one of the best books in the Burke series. Wesley is a killing machine, and no one can stop him, not even the mob. When the mob takes Wesley on, he plays cat and mouse with them...and litters the streets with bodies. The book also features Candy, a woman from Burke's childhood and through her Vachss provides more insight into his title charachter's psyche. Because it relys so heavily on the reader's knowledge of the background of the charachters, this is not the Burke novel to start with. But it is quite a satisfying read for the initiated.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
Andrew Vachss has done it again. Picking up where "Blue Bell" left off, Burke is now a depressed recluse due to loss of his love. To make matters worse, an old flame named Candy reappears in his life. Candy had broken his heart and she now wants him to reclaim her daughter. Also reappearing in Burke's life is the psychotic assassin Wesley and the red-haired witch Strega. The book begins strong and then seems to become undone. However, Vachss masterfully pulls the strings together for an explosive (literally) ending to a satisfying piece of literature.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Schreiber on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the fourth in the Burke series. I have been reading the series in order and so far, this is my favorite, along with "Strega." I do recommend reading the series in order, and I particularly suggest you don't start with "Hard Candy" as prior understanding of the characters is essential.
As a great fan of noir, I am devouring the Burke series. These books are so grim, so gritty. But in "Hard Candy" Burke is depressed and withdrawn from the events of the last book, so there is a whole new level of despair. As if Burke weren't already a hard case!
If you like Ellroy, if you enjoy minimalist prose that hits hard, if you like a hard-boiled noir that's ultra-bleak and smoky, Andrew Vachss is for you. And while you'll enjoy all of the first four books of the Burke series, you'll derive a special dark pleasure from sucking on "Hard Candy."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chadwick H. Saxelid on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
If the world is fast going to hell in a hand basket then the Burke novels gives you a microscopic view of the scummy bottom of that basket. An old flame hires Burke to do a job that will "save" her daughter. Be forewarned, this is not escapist reading but a searing look into a fiery hell of a world that God has abandoned. Required reading for those who like their Roman Noirs black as night and as bitter as unsweetened chocolate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Raegan Butcher on December 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1991 I picked up this book and before I'd read 10 pages I knew I'd really discovered something. Andrew Vachss is not only a great writer but he has probably done more than anyone in America to raise the consciousness of the public about the prevalence of child abuse and the ways in which to combat it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Hard Candy" is Andrew Vachss' fourth Burke novel, a sequel of sorts to "Blue Belle," book three. Tackle "Blue Belle" first, if you're interested, for a richer, more comprehensive read.

Burke, is in a deep funk after losing his woman. Before Belle died, she asked Burke to pay her debts. He does what she would have wanted. But he is still cold, empty, locked in an inner jail he can't walk out of. "Once I could always find something on the sweet side of the edge I lived on. It was gone. Even in prison, there were some things you could laugh at. That was then." Vachss continues to reveal more of Burke's character, his grim inner world and his past in "Hard Candy." He is one of the most complex protagonists I have encountered in popular fiction - edgy, dark, an outcast, as hard-boiled as they come, a scam artist who is a standup guy, a righteous man, and above all, a survivor. Burke, the man, and the strange folks who people his world and call him" friend," are what make me a faithful fan and keep me hooked on the series.

Word is out on the street that Burke, a sting artist, is now a gun for hire. There is heavy fallout from the rumor. The police hassle him and old friends, the kind he never wanted to see again, come out of the woodwork looking for him. First, Candy, an old flame from his reform school days, gives him a call - after all these years. "Little Candy. A whore in her heart, even then. Just what I needed to cheer me up." Candy is still a working girl - we should all be so successful - with mega-upscale digs and a fortune invested in her face and body - silicon implants, face lift, collagen injections, electrolysis, colored contact lenses, a wig in every color, a department store's worth of clothes, make-up, furs - more Neiman Marcus than Macy's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tim Smith on August 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you want to spend an evening in the sleaze of New York City, pick up an Andrew Vachss and he'll give you quite a ride.
Give yourself the opportunity to be mesmerized with street tough dialogue and staccato-like description by sticking with the story until you get used to his writing style. You will also need to know the cast of characters, especially the women in protagonist Burke's past, in order to get the most out of each story. However, even if you haven't read the books in order, you can still piece together the relationships and the storyline.
All your senses will be put to use. Sights, sounds, and smells of the city will envelop you from the slobbering Pansy under a musty blanket in the back of the tank-like Plymouth transporting a rat to his death, to the consultation with Lily, the social worker who examines the physical damage done to abused Elvira.
Hopefully you get the idea. Vachss isn't for everyone but for those who like realism with a message, there are none better!
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