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Mask Market: A Burke Novel (Burke Novels) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 15, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hard-boiled crime fans will enjoy the latest entry in Vachss's long-running Burke series (Down Here, etc.). The renegade New York City PI, who operates by an idiosyncratic private moral code, has been lying low since being shot in the face. But a longtime fixer, Charlie, soon sees past Burke's attempt to pose as his own brother and arranges a meeting with a prospective client, who wants to find a missing woman. What should have been a routine setup turns deadly when professional hit men gun down the client as he's attempting to retrieve Burke's retainer from his car. Burke, afraid that the gunmen may come after him and the data-filled CD the dead man gave him, uses his own network of allies and contacts to learn more about the missing woman, Beryl Preston, whom he happens to have saved from a pimp 20 years earlier. Despite a familiar plot, the sharp-edged prose and cutting insights into New York's underbelly elevate this above many similar crime novels. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Burke, the shadowy protector of victimized women and children, prowls New York's back alleys and off-the-book joints rebuilding the stake he lost when he was left for dead after avenging the loss of his one true love. Tonight, in a meet set up by a shadowy third party, he deals with a man who needs Burke to find his wife. But when he leaves Burke, he's capped in the street, prompting Burke to search out the killer. Just as Burke survives through an elaborate under-the-radar network, so does his prey. Everyone wears a mask in Burke's world, and it's only by exposing the realities hiding beneath the facades that he can find the killers and understand the limitations he's placed on his own life. Readers of the first few Burke novels--very dark noir tales of abuse, revenge, and retribution--will be surprised at the character's development. The best series characters are welcomed like old friends with each new appearance. Burke is nobody's ol' buddy, but he is a trusted guide to a world we sadly know exists but would be afraid to enter alone. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Series: Burke Novels
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1ST edition (August 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375424229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375424229
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,648,765 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

Great characters, satisfying endings.
Barb
Every time I finish reading one of Andrew Vachss' Burke series of novels, I feel sad, as if I am not going to see dear friends for a year.
Joel A. Dvoskin
Vachss is such a strong author, I have yet to find fault with much he has created.
K. Marsolek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Don In Fremont on September 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Andrew Vachss has carved himself an Ellroy-sized section of the American Noir highway. His Burke novels have laid down the asphalt, and such standalones as Shella, The Getaway Man, and the GREAT Two Trains Running have marked the lanes. He is a major American writer. Just don't tell him, ok? Please, it's for the best. If you've ever attended one of his "readings," you know what I mean.

There are reasons for this. Primarily is that Vachss writes not to tell stories, per se, but to send messages to affect behavior. And it's working. He has mobilized a virtual army in the battle against child pornography, and the visible result is PROTECT, the only child-protection PAC in the nation. They've overturned the heinous incest exception in many states, and have more in their sights [...].

But I'm here to talk about Mask Market, which is the latest in the Burke series. The good news, and a point I can't stress too lightly, is this is a GREAT jumping-on point for those who have never read the series before. Vachss, we can only assume, has taken it upon himself to educate readers who were drawn to this book after reading Two Trains Running by hitting the key events of events past in the universe that is Burke's world. Those first-timers will quickly understand the Manhattan Burke operates in, along with his family, his history and, of course, his demons.

And for those long-timers, think about going to a concert by someone you've loved for years, and how, in the midst of something new, you hear hints of something you recognize, and a few bars later, the song appears in its full glory. Vachss does that here, and it's exciting to read. You know the beats, you know the characters, and yet, he brings them to life as if new. Heck, he even plays those damn trotters!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Continuing characters are tricky things. Change too little, and the series grows stagnant. Change too much, and fans move on, looking elsewhere for comfort in another serving of "the familiar."

And then, there's Burke.

Vachss never sacrifices truth for expediency. Burke has evolved over the years, and yet never strayed from his core. He's loved, lost, grown and reverted, much like any other human on the planet. It's this realistic portrayal that elevates the Burke series over any other ongoing series currently on the shelves.

MASK MARKET continues the trend of honestly chronicling the life of Burke, faults and all. There's no KO punch here -no plot twist in the final paragraphs, or unexpected appearance to shock the reader- but a continual rain of punishing jabs, that in the end combine for a devestating decision. Vachss -and Burke- go the distance in this one, and at the final bell, both the character and the reader are left standing, bruised and bloody, but ready for the next fight.

You can read a synopsis by scrolling up. You can only experience the truth by spending some coin and sharing an evening with Burke. Trust me, it'll be worth your money and your time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Davita on September 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you pick up this book hoping for a replay of the highly-conceived schemes and murders of the previous books, you might as well put it down. If you pick it up hoping for a replay of ANYTHING in the previous books, put it down. If you pick up ANY book just looking for a replay of the author's previous novel, seriously reconsider it.

We've all been trained since grade school that the way to read a book is primarily to Identify The Plot, but with well-written books, there's always so much more going on.

Besides, if you've read any of Vachss' work, you understand that he has no interest in reinventing his own wheel - he has an entire concept.

And in Mask Market? Part of the concept would definitely be the idea of deception - there are tons of masks in this book and the majority of them are less than effective, Burke's included.

The rest - and the best part - involves Burke's continuing evolution. Each book usually finds him in a different state of mind; this book finds him at a whole new stage in his life, not surprisingly. Risk has become a much heavier weight to carry and Burke is seriously hedging all his bets - the almost incidental mention of his now-regular prostate cancer screenings is like a frying pan to the face. His relationship with his family hasn't so much changed or even deepened as...I'm not sure. He openly admits that he loves them; he's always shown it, never said it. He spends the entire novel using a fake identity with his new lady friend, Loyal - not just a different name, but even financial and marital status. He never reveals himself. His behavior is that of a man with...something to lose?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Author Ty on October 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First, let me say that I Love Andrew Vachss's early books, I agree with most of his social and political viewpoints and admire him as a man, but his writing has reached the point where it just plain stinks. Every new book is just a series of boring conversations between his by now very familiar main characters, conversations which go nowhere and signify nothing. You can always count on a slew of new anecdotes about life in jail and life on the streets. You can count on a plump female character talking about how she needs to lose weight and Burke saying how she doesn't because he digs fat chicks. (okay, Andrew, after all this time we know you like a lady with a little meat on her bones. Stop rubbing that point in our faces) You can also count on a paper-thin "plot" being tossed in as an afterthought, with the plot never being fully realized or explained. I told myself 5 or 6 books ago that I would never read another Vachhs book because at this point, all they do is waste my time. However, I inevitably find myself picking up each new novel and reading it, hoping it will be as good as his earlier works, only to be disappointed every time. Mr. Vachss, here's an idea; instead of trying to crank out a book every year, why not take some time off and come up with a really good plot before you begin writing again? With apologies, from a former---and hopefully future---fan.
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