I bought Blue Belle pretty much motivated solely because I heard Vachss wrote good crime stuff and also because if the cover of this book was the cover to an album I would buy that album It s wonderf
I bought Blue Belle pretty much motivated solely because I heard Vachss wrote good crime stuff and also because if the cover of this book was the cover to an album I would buy that album. It's wonderfully garish and mildly unsettling with an undeniable '80s flavor. The typeset seriously looks like mold. The matching cover to the next book Hard Candy is even better! Anyways...the point is that I really had no idea what to expect. Not only is it my first Vachss but it's the third Burke novel so a good deal of stuff and people have been established by this point. Thankfully, I was able to figure it out pretty quickly and had a good time with this novel, although I definitely felt like I needed a scalding psychic shower after.Burke is...I don't even know what to describe him as. I don't think the usual P.I. applies here. He definitely does some investigative work, but he's also a straight up criminal that did a stint in prison and has this very Punisher-like crusade of ripping off and ruining people who commit crimes against children. The theme of protecting and avenging wronged children and often women as well was prominent to me from within the first hundred pages or so. Burke is paranoid and lives off of the grid, but still has a surprisingly close-knit "family" of other outcasts and weirdos or "outlaws" as they call themselves (opposed to "citizens.) These range from Mama, a restaurant owner with extensive underworld connections to the transsexual lady of mystery Michelle to the Nazi-hunting Mole to the mute Mongolian warrior Max. If not fully fleshed out, the characters are always at least interesting. They kind of remind me of the people that inhabit Miller's Sin City comics, which was a plus because I love those.Yes, this series can be a bit over the top at times but all that really serves to do is keep things entertaining and provide a bit of fantastical respite from the utterly grim and often revolting world Burke inhabits. Vachss' apparently extensive life experience with the world of crime as an attorney only adds to the novel's weight, and his obvious close familiarity with New York provides a wonderful detail, mood and atmosphere to the surroundings. The story moves all over Manhattan and as someone who has never been anywhere near New York I loved that. Most authors will tell you the characters are on 53rd and 7th or whatever but like I said, I have no idea what 53rd and 7th looks like. I have trouble even envisioning having that many streets. My city goes up to like 30th at the most. With Vachss you get vivid descriptions of what's actually going on with each block the characters are visiting and it's awesome. Setting and atmosphere is vital with this type of novel and Vachss has it.The plot...you know, your basic "mysterious van murdering hookers around the city for a totally unknown reason" with some ill-fated love story thrown in. It certainly kept the pages turning. I'm not a fast reader by any means but I did finish it in a day or two. The villain was pretty goddamn creepy, which I always love, although I was kind of baffled by the occasional dips into martial arts stuff...I'm just gonna blame it on the general '80s obsession with karate and that kind of thing. I will say that this novel had a decent bit of gratuitous sex, what with the whole repeated descriptions of how overpoweringly buxom Belle was and the lovely cherry on top with the (view spoiler)[four-page anal sex scene. (hide spoiler)] This was probably to be expected, though...I really don't know if you can get any grittier than this author. Gritty isn't even the word. It's more mucous-y. If this sounds good to you, give it a shot. But don't say I didn't warn ya. It's about half serious-as-a-heart-attack crime thriller and half macho revenge fantasy comic book nightmare.A viral Blue Belle Creat Andrew Vachss are Books Burke works the darkest sides of the meanest city streets Now those streets are even shadowed by a Ghost Van snuffing teenage prostitutes To stop it, pimps have given Burke a war chest stuffed with dirty money, and help in the fabulous form of a blonde stripper whose naked offer of heavenly sex masks a secret hell Burke thinks he is shockproof about the evil men anBurke works the darkest sides of the meanest city streets Now those streets are even shadowed by a Ghost Van snuffing teenage prostitutes To stop it, pimps have given Burke a war chest stuffed with dirty money, and help in the fabulous form of a blonde stripper whose naked offer of heavenly sex masks a secret hell Burke thinks he is shockproof about the evil men and women do He is wrong. 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 youths exclusively He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, two 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 A native New Yorker, he now divides his time between the city of his birth and the Pacific Northwest.The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work isvachss That site and this page are managed by volunteers To contact Mr Vachss directly, use the email us function of vachss.. Popular Ebook Blue Belle If Andrew Vachss did his books Sesame Street style, then this one would be brought to you by the letter M because in addition to Max, Michelle, Mama and the Mole, he adds characters named Mortay, McGowan, Morelli, Morales and Marques. Of course, if Vachss did Sesame Street then Bert and Ernie would turn out to be pedophiles that would lure Elmo into their house with promises of candy while Big Bird filmed it. And you don't even want to know what that freak Mr. Snuffleupagus would be doing. Vachss’s hero Burke is back for another lighthearted and fun-filled adventure in a glittering New York filled with rainbows and unicorns. Someone has been rolling around in a van and randomly shooting prostitutes. A stripper named Belle contacts Burke to arrange a meeting with a pimp who wants to offer a bounty on the so called Ghost Van. Burke accepts the gig and strikes up a relationship with Belle. Since this is a Vachss novel, Belle turns out to have a history messed up enough to keep Dr. Phil booked for years. Things take a dark turn when Burke’s friend Prof is badly injured while making inquiries on the street about the van. Prof’s attacker was a crazy kung-fu master named Mortay who wants to draw their buddy Max into a fight to the death. Burke scrambles to protect Max, learn Mortay’s connection to the Ghost Van and deal with his new romance.While I generally like the Burke novels, they wear me down. Burke’s world is a relentlessly grim place with freaks and criminals waiting around every corner. While I like the idea of this urban survivor living off the grid and working these crazy jobs, the stories are just so goddamn bleak that I don’t dare read them too often lest I fall into a dark depression that would leave me weeping under the covers for days at a time.I had a lot of other problems with this one, too. Far too much time is spent with his relationship with Belle. Essentially they instantly fall in love, and Burke is showing her every aspect of his life which doesn’t really fit with the character's paranoid nature. And as you’d expect from two people with traumatic issues in their childhoods, their relationship is pretty fucked up. She’s needy and constantly demanding more while Burke is always instructing her on how he expects his woman to behave. And of course (view spoiler)[ Belle ends up sacrificing her life for Burke at the end. Was it even necessary? Didn’t seem like it.(hide spoiler)]This relationship stuff was almost enough to get me to drop this to two stars but one of Burke’s crazy and ultra-violent scams to draw out Mortay was enough to bump it back up to three.
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