Burke Series by Andrew Vachss (Books 1 -18)
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Overview: 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, 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. 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 Giuria a Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy)…
Genre: Fiction: Mystery/Thriller
Flood (Book 1)
Burke’s newest client is a woman named Flood, who has the face of an angel, the body of a high-priced stripper, and the skills of a professional executioner. She wants Burke to find a monster for her — so she can kill him with her bare hands. In this cauterizing thriller, Andrew Vachss’s renegade private eye teams up with a lethally gifted avenger to follow a child’s murderer through the catacombs of New York, where every alley is blind and the penthouses are as dangerous as the basements. Fearfully knowing, crackling with narrative tension, and written in prose as forceful as a hollow-point slug, Flood is Burke at his deadliest — and Vachss at the peak of his form.
Strega (Book 2)
Andrew Vachss’s implacable private eye has a new client, Strega. She wants Burke to find an obscene photograph–and that search will take him into the ocean that flows just beneath the city, an ocean whose currents are flesh and money, the anguish of children and the pleasure of twisted adults. It is a place that Burke can visit only at the risk of his sanity and his life. But between the power of Strega and his own sense of justice, there is no turning back. In Strega one of our most acclaimed crime writers gives us a thriller that might have been imagined by Dante. For this is a tour of hell with no stops left out, conducted by a novelist who writes with the authority of the damned.
Blue Belle (Book 3)
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.
Hard Candy (Book 4)
In this mercilessly compelling thriller, Burke–the private eye, sting artist, and occasional hit man who metes out a cruelly ingenious vengeance on those who victimize children–is up against a soft-spoken messiah, who may be rescuing runaways or recruiting them for his own hideous purposes. But in doing so Burke becomes a target for an entire Mafia family, a whore with a heart of cyanide, and a contract killer as implacable as a heat-seeking missile. Written with Vachss’s signature narrative overdrive–and his unnerving familiarity with the sub-basement of American crime–Hard Candy is vintage Burke.
Blossom (Book 5)
In Blossom, an old cellmate has summoned Burke to a fading Indiana mill town, where a young boy is charged with a crime he didn’t commit and a twisted serial sniper has turned a local lovers’ lane into a killing field. And it’s here that Burke meets Blossom, the brilliant, beautiful young woman who has her own reasons for finding the murderer–and her own idea of vengeance. Dense with atmosphere, savagely convincing, this is Vachss at his uncompromising best.
Sacrifice (Book 6)
What–or who–could turn a gifted little boy into a murderous thing that calls itself "Satan’s Child"? In search of an answer, a man named Burke travels from a festering welfare hotel to a neat frame house where a voodoo priestess presides over a congregation of assassins. For this vigilante and unlicensed private eye has made it his business to defend the small victims whom the law has failed–even a child who has been made into a killer.
Down in the Zero (Book 7)
Now Burke is back, investigating an epidemic of apparent suicides among teenagers of a wealthy Connecticut suburb. There he discovers a sinister connection between the anguish of the young and the activities of an elite sadomasochistic underground, for whom pan and its accompanying rituals are a source of pleasure–and power
Footsteps of the Hawk (Book Eight)
In Footsteps of the Hawk Burke himself is in danger of becoming a victim. Two rogue cops are stalking him. The coolly seductive Belinda Roberts wants him to free a man charged with a grisly string of rape-murders. The brutal and half-crazy Detective Jorge Morales may be trying to frame Burke for the same crimes. What ensues is a novel of high-wire suspense and nightmarish authenticity informed by an insider’s knowledge of the city where everything–from flesh to other people’s cellular phone numbers–is up for sale.
False Allegations (Book 9)
Burke’s new employer is Kite, a fanatical crusader who specializes in debunking "false allegations of child sexual abuse. Kite has a case that may be the real thing, but needs Burke to tell him if it is. And if mere money can’t persuade Burke to cooperate, Kite has plenty of other incentives at his disposal–including a fanatical bodyguard with a taste for corsets and brass knuckles. A tour guide to hell written in icy prose, False Allegations is Vachss at his most unnerving.
Safe House (Book 10)
Burke’s client is Crystal Beth, a beautiful outlaw with a tattoo on her face and a mission burned into her heart. She is trying to shield one of her charges from a vengeful ex with fetishes for Nazism and torture. But the stalker has a protector, someone so informed, so ruthless, and so connected that he need only make a few phone calls to shut down Crystal Beth’s operation for good–and Burke along with it. Sinuous in its complexities, brutal in its momentum, Safe House is Burke at the edge of his nerve and cunning. And it’s Vachss at the peak of his form….
Choice of Evil (Book 11)
When his girlfriend, Crystal Beth, is gunned down at a gay rights rally in Central Park, Burke, the underground man-for-hire and expert hunter of predators, vows vengeance. But someone beats him to the task: a shadowy killer who calls himself Homo Erectus and who seems determined to wipe gay bashers from the face of the earth. As the killer’s body count rises, most citizens are horrified, but a few see him as a hero, and they hire Burke to track him down…and help him escape…
Dead and Gone (Book 12)
Urban Outlaw Burke barely survives an attack by a professional hit squad that kills his partner. With a new face, Burke goes into hiding. And on the hunt. Dead and Gone takes him from the streets of New York City through a cross-country underground, and deep into his own tortured past. The violent journey ends in a place that exists only in the dreams of the darkest degenerates on earth.
Pain Management (Book 13)
Burke is back, but still lurking in the shadows, unable to return home. He is prowling the unfamiliar streets of Portland, Oregon, in search of a runaway teen. By all accounts, Rosebud Carlin is a happy, well-adjusted girl. She doesn’t fit the profile of the runaway kids Burke knows so well and once was. But there’s something about her father. Burke knows the street script, but the actors are all strangers. Cut off from his family and his network of criminal contacts, Burke is forced into a dangerous alliance with a renegade group dedicated to providing relief to those in intractable pain by any means necessary. A bargain is struck, and the fuse is lit. Heart-stopping and hard-hitting, Pain Management is the latest bout in Andrew Vachss’s thrilling reign as undisputed champ of brass knuckles noir.
Only Child (Book 14)
It’s been years since Burke has been home, years since he’s seen his "family" and worked in the underbelly of New York City. Although his appearance has changed, his reputation grown dusty and his wallet thin, his skills and his crew remain razor sharp. So when he is contacted by a mob boss to investigate the murder of his illegitimate daughter, Vonni, Burke takes the job and begins searching for an unspeakably brutal killer. Posing as a casting director looking for tomorrow’s stars, Burke reaches out to the high school students who knew Vonni, and may know the identity of the killer. Before long he unearths a perverse enterprise–a young director pursuing a brutal new type of cinema verité.
Down Here (Book 15)
For years Burke has harbored an outlaw’s hard love for Wolfe, the beautiful, driven former sex-crimes prosecutor who was fired for refusing to "go along to get along." So when Wolfe is arrested for the attempted murder of John Anson Wychek, a vicious rapist she once prosecuted, Burke deals himself in. That means putting together a distrustful alliance between his underground "family of choice," Wolfe’s private network, and a rogue NYPD detective who has his own stake in the outcome…
Mask Market (Book 16)
Burke, the relentless urban mercenary, returns in this riveting new thriller by bestselling author Andrew Vachss. Two decades ago, Burke "recovered" a teenage runaway from a pimp. Now she’s on the run, again. After seeing the man who hired him to find her gunned down by a professional hunter-killer team, Burke realizes he could be next. The master urban survivalist knows he has to finish the job to learn the truth, only now he’s looking for a predator, not a victim. The search will force Burke to walk down the one dark alley that has always terrified him — his past.
Terminal (Book 17)
After years of carefully working the edges, a blood-commitment forces Burke’s return to his former career: "violence-for-money." Claw, once the shot-caller of a white supremacist prison gang is free . . . and terminally ill–he desperately needs a pile of cash to bet on a long-shot cure. He tells Burke about a punk who once purchased protection from him, a man who claims to know the truth behind a "cold case, " the unsolved rape-murder of a thirteen-year-old girl. The killers are all weathly men today, ideal blackmail marks. But wealth is power, and the informant needs Claw’s protection again. Burke decides to roll the dice. A win would give Burke the two things he lives for: Money and Revenge. A loss would turn "terminal" from a diagnosis into a certainly, and not just for Claw.
Another Life (Book 18)
In this blistering conclusion to the nationally bestselling series, Burke is forced into a journey that will change the lives of the urban survivalist and his outlaw family forever.The only person Burke has ever called father, known throughout the underground as "The Prof," is in a coma, barely clinging to life in an off the-books hospital. So when Pryce, a slippery man with government connections, offers the best medical services for the Prof and a clean slate for all concerned, Burke takes the contract without reading it. The two-year-old son of a Saudi prince has been kidnapped. A highly professional snatch; no mistakes, no clues, and no ransom note. Burke’s job: get the kid back, whatever it takes. To do so, the ultimate man-for-hire must return to the day "Baby Boy Burke" was written on his birth certificate, and write, in the blood of his enemies, the final act of this story.