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5.0 out of 5 stars Vachss' best book!
Some people would argue that "Flood," his first novel, or his later novels such as "Dead and Gone" are better than "Blue Belle," but I would disagree. Why? This novel is, pure and simple, the most forthright of all of his novels. Burke is clearly not the narrator here--Vachss is. There is so much social commentary involved, and every...
Published on Feb. 28 2001 by Ryan Kuntze

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3.0 out of 5 stars Vachss should mix in a little decaf
In my opinion, this is almost a very good book. What I think primarily keeps it from being one is the "over the top" nature of so many characters and so many story elements. For example, in this book one of the villains is Mortay, a hooked up martial arts killer. No problem so far, but - he can dodge bullets?? Too much. Pretty much everything about Belle is...
Published on March 7 2003 by brazos49


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3.0 out of 5 stars Vachss should mix in a little decaf, March 7 2003
By 
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
In my opinion, this is almost a very good book. What I think primarily keeps it from being one is the "over the top" nature of so many characters and so many story elements. For example, in this book one of the villains is Mortay, a hooked up martial arts killer. No problem so far, but - he can dodge bullets?? Too much. Pretty much everything about Belle is overblown as well.
I think if Vachss had just toned down things in general, he would have gained a lot of realism and delivered a fine book. He has the elements, he just seems to lack the confidence in his story to not oversensationalize it.
I've now read two of Vachss' books and I find I have the same feeling after reading this one as I did after Strega - I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to read another one of his works. He delivers some very intriguing, gritty crime material, but he burdens it with some negative baggage. I think I'll browse the reviews for his other works and see if one of them sounds promising. If so, maybe I'll check it out. Otherwise, I think I'll move on.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Suspenceful criminal fiction, Nov. 16 2000
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
Mystery writer Vachss continues his series in which Burke, a street-wise ex-con, is reputable for solving crimes that requires inside knowledge. Money pooled from the pimps of New York hire Burke to solve the mystery of the "Ghost Van". This van comes upon under-aged prostitutes and either kidnaps or shoots them without warning. Burke, having a soft spot for abused children decides this is worth his efforts to eradicate.
With the help of a voluptuous exotic dancer, who eventually becomes Burke's girlfriend, Burke and his friends begin to determine who and what is behind the murderous machine. His inquisitiveness stirs up a rat's nest and eventually leads to an explosive and suspenseful ending.
I had a hard time finding sympathy or even caring too much about the characters in the book. Burke is hardly one to look up as a hero and the way he treated Belle, in general, was lousy. However, they are both street characters and it fits into their characters. The mystery was pretty shallow and I felt that most of the book dealt with Burke and Belle's sexual appetites rather than the crime. The ending also was so rushed that I wasn't sure what was happening, but knew the final result (actually I guessed the final result early on...). Although not necessary, it probably would've helped if I had read the previous books in the series to know more about Burke's friends. This book was similar to Stephen Womack's Harry Denton series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Almost a parody of the Burke novels, Oct. 19 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
I have, to date, read six of Andrew Vachss' Burke novels, although not chronologically. I started with SACRIFICE, which I found to be one of the most hard-boiled, intense, and nasty novels I had read in a long time. I was hooked. But BLUE BELLE confused me. On the one hand, all of Vachss' trademark characters are present, his stylized prose is in abundance, and Burke, THE most hard-bitten man in crime fiction. He reminds me of a line in the movie MILLER'S CROSSING; "I never met anyone who made being a son-of-a-b**** such a point of pride.". But somehow, BLUE BELLE doesn't sit right. It's almost a parody of the Burke novels, with every situation he gets in heightened to almost absurd effect. It almost as if Vachss wrote the book on auto-pilot, putting his characters into a vague plot with an unsatisfying outcome, and hoping it comes together. I know that Vachss regains his form in books published since, but here, it doesn't click. Everything is too similar, with no surprises. Still, sub-par Vachss is better than no Vachss at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vachss' best book!, Feb. 28 2001
By 
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
Some people would argue that "Flood," his first novel, or his later novels such as "Dead and Gone" are better than "Blue Belle," but I would disagree. Why? This novel is, pure and simple, the most forthright of all of his novels. Burke is clearly not the narrator here--Vachss is. There is so much social commentary involved, and every character is definitely a portrayal of differing aspects of our society. Add to this a story line that is truly magnificent and characters whose depth are unrivaled in other novels by Vachss, and I believe "Blue Belle" comes out on top. Read the novels in chronological order, of course, but reserve a whole night solely for "Blue Belle." I've read it at least six times, and every time I find something new worth thinking about. Not too many novels nowadays deserve as much credit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is is a book and author that should not be passed up..., Nov. 8 1998
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
I have been a somewhat long-time fan of Andrew Vachss, after seeing an interview of him with (I admit)Oprah. After watching him, I could see where the hard edge to Burke comes from, and this is most apparent in his masterpiece, Blue Belle. I cannot begin to describe the tale woven into this powerful work of prose, but I will warn you now- put time aside for this, for once you start, Vachss grabs you by the lapels (if you are lucky) and drags you in. So I tell you: Take the phone off the hook, turn off the TV, leave a note on the door telling your friends that you are alive and well....but to bug off, pick up this book and take a trip into the darker underbelly of New York. It is more then worth the time, and your friends will forgive you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book in the Burke series, Dec 15 2003
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
If you like Vachss' Burke series, don't miss this one. This book contains Burke's greatest love interest (besides his dog Pansey). It also has a lot of information and action involving his "family". The way that Burke's family of misfits understand and stand by him is one of the reasons why I have read and reread each book in the Burke series and look forward to each and every one as they are released. This one is my favorite of the series. If you didn't think that Burke would ever find his ideal woman or at least one who wasn't using him for something, you were wrong. Do things work out for Belle and Burke? Well those of you who have read the later books in the series know the answer and those who haven't will have to get a copy to find out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Read it for the series, otherwise forget it, April 20 2002
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
Again, another book of being "under Burked". Burke is a great character, hard nosed, mean when has to, holds back nothing, really hard boiled. Vachss describes nasty characters and situations in a fantastic way, you can feel your disgust for them and even some for the society that allows this stuff to happen. Problem is, about 75% of this book isn't about that, it's about Belle, and while she isn't a bad character, she's not the reason to read a Burke book. I found this book to be over sexed and under nasty for one of this series. The characters where good, the outline of the story was good, but the focus was wrong. Read it if you're going through all the series, but don't make it your first one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Burke's best, May 15 2000
By 
Brian D. Rubendall (Oakton, VA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
I have read all of Vachss's Burke novels and this one is one of my favorites. The "Belle" of the title is one of Burke's more interesting leading ladies. And the threat, in the form of the Ghost Van, is one of the more horrific. The climax is also one of the more memorable in the Burke series. Vachss is one of the best crime writers working today. Perhaps it is because his working with abused children brings him so close to the dark side that he is able to capture it so well on the written page. "Blue Belle" is one his darkest and one of his best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book I wished would never end..., Aug. 10 2003
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Mark A. Mahlmeister (Hamburg, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
This book was so good, I read it over a span of 2 days. I never wanted to put it down. Burke is an excellent example of a street-level character that is tough, multi-leveled & real. Vachss writing explores all angles of his characters and is great at explaining past occurrences in his Burke series to newcomers without dragging it out too long for the familiar. Vachss' writing is well researched and he makes me wish his books could go on forever. Blue Belle is my favorite of his Burke books so far and I hope this series never ends because all the Burke books are great.
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3.0 out of 5 stars usual suspects, sordid city, wierd black folks, March 3 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Belle (Paperback)
I'm getting a little weary of Mr. Burke and his paranoia. And frankly, a little tired of the liscensed racism that so many authors of his ilk employ. Orientals are "noble warriors", women are "heart 'o gold" whores, and blacks, poor blacks have to once again take a hit as pimps, transvestites and confidence men. Vachs teases us with (in my opinion) much more interesting snippets of Burke's earlier history. When he finally tires of this formula, perhaps he'll explore that area a little more fully.
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Blue Belle
Blue Belle by Andrew Vachss (Paperback - July 4 1995)
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