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Flood [Paperback]

Andrew Vachss
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 10 1998 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard

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 investigator 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.

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"Hard-boiled fiction at its best."- The Chicago Tribune Book World

"Vachss's tough guy writing style grabs you by the hair and jerks you to attention."- Detroit Free Press

"An extraordinary thriller... Vachss never flinches from the horror."- Washington Post Book World

"Burke would eat Spade and Marlowe for breakfast, not even spitting out the bones. [He] is one tough, mean, pray-to-God-you-don't-meet-him hombre."-Boston Herald

About the Author

Andrew Vachss, an attorney in private practice specializing in juvenile justice and child abuse, is the country’s best recognized and most widely sought after spokesperson on crimes against children. He is also a bestselling novelist and short story writer, whose works include Flood (1985), the novel which first introduced Vachss’ series character Burke, Strega (1987), Choice of Evil (1999), and Dead and Gone (2000). His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Playboy, and The Observer, and he is a contributor to ABA Journal, Journal of Psychohistory, New England Law Review, The New York Times, and Parade.

Vachss has worked as a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a caseworker in New York, and a professional organizer. He was the director of an urban migrants re-entry center in Chicago and another for ex-cons in Boston. After managing a maximum-security prison for violent juvenile offenders, he published his first book, a textbook, about the experience. He was also deeply involved in the relief effort in Biafra, now Nigeria.

For ten years, Vachss’ law practice combined criminal defense with child protection, until, with the success of his novels, it segued exclusively into the latter, which is his passion. Vachss calls the child protective movement “a war,” and considers his writing as powerful a weapon as his litigation.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SIZZLING THRILLER TO HEAT THESE COLD DAYS Nov. 12 2009
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Amazing when you think that this iconic thriller was first written some 25 years ago. Since then there have been a number of copycats who have tried to imitate Vachss's tough guy narrative or replicate the jaw-dropping cast of characters who dwell in hero Burke's netherworld, but it can't be done. Vachss set the pace when he introduced his quixotic hero, a guy with a record and standards he's set for himself. Burke is a street wise (or more accurately dark alley wise) misfit who takes on cases that baffle the police.

A gorgeous gal named Flood comes to him asking for help in finding a child killer so as she delicately puts it she "can kill him with her bare hands." The search is on through some of the most dangerous places in New York City and among the lowest of the lowlifes, the desperate depraved denizens of the City. However, while police and other private eyes would be put off by the likes of these, they're people Burke knows and understands.

Vachss writes in a gripping almost staccato style, which is the way actor Christopher Lane narrates the story. It's a task to take on the voices of not only Burke but also his crew of pals, such as a panhandler dubbed the Prof and a genius in electronic who dwells under a pile of junked cars.

If you want a sizzling thriller to heat these cold days, FLOOD is for you.

- Gail Cooke
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fast paced March 25 2004
This book is entertaining by all means and will not leave you bored at any point during the novel. If that is what you are going for, than by all means pick up this novel, it will not leave you disappointed. The characters are incredibly interesting and at some points Vachss reminded me of Spillane, my all time favorite mystery writer. The only problem I had with this book was with the main character. Everything seems to go his way, not necessairly in the events of the story, but in his past. Numerous times when an object is referenced to, Burke will go ahead and explain how he attained it, and this happens quite often. In the first few pages you learn why Burke does not pay for his apartment, and you think "Wow, that is pretty cool." And then when you read about his friend Max the Silent, you think, "Wow, that is pretty cool." And you think this when you learn about his mail, or when you learn how his calls are routed. It just seems too convenient and fantastic. I have not read any of Vachss' other books (I plan to), but I have heard from friends that they are all about child molesters. This isnt a good thing, writers should write about more than just one topic.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not So Good June 11 2003
I am a fan of James Lee Burke, Alan Furst, Robert Parker, John Sandeford, etc., and I really hoped to like this novel by Andrew Vachss. It's a lot of fun to discover a new series of books you know you are going to like?
Sad to say, I couldn't finish this novel. I found the tone confusing. Sometimes the writer seemed to be making fun of the main character, and sometimes he seemed to be taking him seriously.
There were irrelevant asides, such as the story about the lawyer defending the dog. The story seem forced, and not nerely as funny as the author wanted it to be. I had the feeling the writer was trying too hard to make me laugh.
And what's with all the impossible and implausable gadgets, the alarms all over the office, the secret entrances? All of this kind of stuff seemed Mickey Mouse, as though Vachss had been reading too many comic books.
There are lots of excellent, beautifully written novels in the mystery/detective genre. This is not one of them. I got the feeling the writer doesn't take writing seriously.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A dark universe Dec 11 2002
The first book in Vachss's Burke series, Flood is a good tough-guy sort of mystery and is as hard-boiled as they come.
Flood takes place in a sinister version of New York City, where everyone is crooked, no one seems to have both a first and last name and even the dogs are aggressive, if not vicious. Burke, the anti-heroic main character is not a very pleasant person except in relation to the sleazy characters he must face. In this story, he is hired by the woman Flood to find an elusive child-killer; along the way, he also must deal with other unsavory people.
While good, this book is not quite great. In his first novel, Vachss shows some beginner's traits in his style, and his characters sometimes come off clown-like or cliched. Also, this is an unpleasant world, and no character really has redeeming values; this may be compelling, but it can also be a turn-off if overdone.
In the end, I found this good enough that I will probably try another in the series, but I think I will wait a little while. Too much of this dark universe at one time could be depressing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Darkly funny Oct. 27 2002
This is the first in the Burke series. I read the second (didn't even know they were a series at the time) when I was a teen... you really don't need the first to read the second... Anyways, I read it, and thought "yes". Burke is a con artist, an ocasional murderer, a paranoid (but they're really after him) and a theif. He lives on the edges of the gene pool, where the scum grows thick and green. He also, incedentaly, hates loaths and despises child molesters and abusers in general. Voilla, a story is born. Flood, as the first book, is also the first of several tough sexy women, all physically different but all sharing similar charactistcs (Vachss doesn't deal in innocence much, unless it's in how it was taken away).
Andrew Vachss became somewhat of a target of controversy for writing these books; some people say he's capitalizing on child abuse, others think he should be sainted for drawing such unflattering attention to it & campaigning against it. Personaly, I give less than a smidge for the politics of my authors; if I had to research the backgrounds of everyone who writes the books I read I'd never bother to read. I generaly just judge a book on how it was written. And I really, really like these books. They crack me up (ok, so some people seem to think they're morbid and cynical. So?) and [annoys me]at the same time.
If there's one thing about this series that gets to me it's a sameness about the women as Vachss writes them. Not a physical sameness... he's good about that. And as characters, they stand out vividly in mind. But... while Vachss characterizes his main people extremely well (I love Michelle and the Mole) he doesn't give as much depth to the ones who arn't sticking around. They tell their stories and step offstage.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Original
I recently revisited the first book in Vachss' BURKE series -- FLOOD. This book still holds up and shows what an inventive and original writer Vachss really is. Read more
Published on June 21 2003 by "jdny"
4.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Vachss' FLOOD
Burke is a man of many trades. All learned and honed on the New York streets and some of the toughest penitentiaries. These days his livelihood is made as a private detective. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2002 by Christopher Mc Nally
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough as Nails
...The novel introduces us to the toughest, take-no-[stuff]-I-dare-you-to-take-a-swing-at-me-if-you-value-your-life detectives, Burke (no first name, just that)!!! Read more
Published on March 30 2002 by Hassan Galadari
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone out there is laughing!
This is a remarkable work of "detective" fiction. The world it portrays is all too real, if disturbing in the extreme. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I read in one sitting!
I've known about Vachss for years, and picked up this book at a thrift store ... I had nothing to do one Sunday, so I picked it up at 10 a.m. and started reading. Read more
Published on June 11 2001 by Annie_Xmas
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully morbid
Flood is the introduction book of Burke, a street-wise detective who understands the filth of the world. Read more
Published on March 28 2001 by flodnag
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gritty Urban Revenge Fantasy
What is it about revenge that makes it such a vicariously satisfying experience? While most people would never act on their impulses for it, the desire for vengeance can be an... Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2000 by Stone Junction
4.0 out of 5 stars The Starting Point Of Burke
I am someone who has read the entire Burke series, and many of Mr. Vachss other unique, disturbing, and informative novels about the inter relation between Child Abuse of all kinds... Read more
Published on May 22 2000 by kris darlington
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