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Sacrifice (Burke #6)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,258 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
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 who ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 30th 1996 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1991)
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Dan Schwent
Nov 21, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
A gifted nine year old boy is a murderer that calls himself Satan's Child and it's up to Burke to find out how he got that way. Burke's also been tasked with finding a father and a missing baby. Can Burke find who he's looking for and set things right?

Right off the bat, Andrew Vachss is so bleak he makes James Ellroy look like Richard Simmons. The New York Burke lives in is a cesspool of pimps and pedophiles. Burke's a miserable loner but the men he goes up against make him look like a saint.

Nov 18, 2016 Nate rated it really liked it
Another black-as-night Burke tale. This one really delved into the psychology of abused children with seriously chilling results. These books usually end with a severe kick to the balls but this one was more like unceremonious castration with a cold knife.
Tim Niland
Jun 23, 2008 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008-reads
Unlicensed private investigator and con artist Burke is back in New York City for his latest case. An abused child is accused of two brutal murders, but claims he remembers nothing. The DA wants to prosecute him, while child advocates are trying to keep him out of the clutches of the justice system. Burke must locate the adults who abused this child and drove him to kill. Burke is also employed by a Voodoo Queen to track down a child killer, who has escaped into the New York underground. So, it ...more
Oct 12, 2014 Lynn rated it really liked it
The people are emotionally dark and the issues are always ugly, but there is a kind of bounce to the characters kind of reads like rap lyrics.
Larry Bassett
Jul 03, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I have not had much experience reading series so this is a relatively new experience for me. I started with book one and expect to read through in order to book eighteen. I have all the books at ninety-nine cents each from This is book six and I am now familiar with and fond of the regular supporting characters including Pansy, the dog. This is the first book of the Burke series where the title is not the name of a woman.

Liking Burke was not a sure thing for me since violence has be
James Kidd
Nov 12, 2010 James Kidd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I re-read Flood a few months back. Read some other stuff and then started on a Vachss/Burke fest. I have whipped through the next 5 books in this series in a few weeks. A real trip down memory lane for me. I first read Sacrifice int he early nineties. My abiding memory is of reading it whilst on a short holiday with a good mate. We were camping and had some kit, but not enough. I remember sitting in a chair near the tent, Snoddy was cooking and I was reading. I found Sacrifice compelling then an ...more
Sometimes, I pick an Andrew Vachss book out of boredom. I really liked the first one but now, I can't help but be disappointed whenever I read another one in the series.

What Burke and Andrew Vachss though him try to do is laudable. Fighting for endangered children, revealing how sordid and cruel adults can be toward the vulnerable is crucial. However, I have a problem with the writing style, a problem that detracts me somewhat from appreciating the book. I don't know if it's because I am not a n
Jul 30, 2012 Harry rated it it was amazing
What did I think? This guy's the king of "Noir", is what I think. Andrew Vachss, a lawyer and author with a penchant for the welfare of kids and women - especially the kids - has created Burke to let some steam escape.

Burke's world is not the world you and I live in. Burke exists in NYC but he is not seen in it. When society mentions the name "Burke" it is in the fashion of a legend: a myth, someone who is not real. Burke likes it that way.

With unforgettable characters fully developed over a lon
Craig Werner
Dec 26, 2013 Craig Werner rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Excellent Burke novel. This is the first in the series, which I'm (re)-reading slowly, that doesn't overdo Burke's sexual encounters. Other than that, it's a familiar mix: Burke's "family" (Mama, the Mole and Terry, Max and Mac, the Prof, Wolfe, even Michelle, who doesn't physically show up but is present); the focus on the sexual abuse of children; the presence of a New York City with its true face showing. This one centers on what may or may not be an actual Satanist cult--for Burke the trappi ...more
John Grazide
May 07, 2015 John Grazide rated it liked it
I really like Burke and the way in which they are written, but with this one I felt like there really wasn't that much of a story. Or the story wasn't the driving factor. There was still a little more peeled away of Burke's past and more development so it wasn't all bad, but I wish that there was a little more to the "title". I do love the way past characters are brought up, not in a way that you have to have read the previous books but enough to make you glad that you did. And I have to say, th ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
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.

Just discovered this author and now reading my way throu
Feb 15, 2015 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: burke
Burke - the anti hero - doing his best to save abused kids, while living off the grid.

I really liked this - "I flicked on the all-news radio station. A human beat his baby to death, cut the kid up, fed the parts to his German Shepard. The authorities took charge. Killed the dog.
They say when a dog tastes human flesh, it'll always seek more. A dog like that, you have to put down, When humans get the same way, we give them therapy." **like how Burke thinks...
Hard-boiled, lean prose and the gritty
Raegan Butcher
Apr 27, 2008 Raegan Butcher rated it really liked it
Burke takes on voodoo, satanists and child pornographers in this revenge thriller. As the central character, Burke, says, his religion is revenge.
Spencer Abbott
Still heads and tails above the first three novels, but nowhere near as tight as either Hard Candy or Blossom. In many ways this entry felt like a transitional story, perhaps better fit if it had been the 4th in the series. Interesting themes running through that unfold more like a horror film (not that the subject matter in any of the previous books is any less horrific, here it's a little more "out there" in regards to dealing with "satanic" cults and voodoo). Interesting sexual tension is dev ...more
Dec 24, 2010 Ramzi rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pat Burns
Jan 28, 2011 Pat Burns rated it really liked it
...another great Burke book. This series is tough to read though, due to the dark subject matter. One can only read so many stories about sex crimes involving children. I've just read 2 more of the series in a row and it's time to take another break. The writing is great and the characters are original and colorful, but the serious, disgusting nature of the crimes is too much to bear at times.
Feb 03, 2013 Karl rated it really liked it
Burke hits the bottom and from where he falls it doesn't seem like it would be all that bad. But when you choose to delve into the world where children are the victims of the freaks, things are not going to be pretty and someone always gets hurt. This book brought home the sadness of Burke's world more than any of the others. One of the best book series that I have ever read.
Jul 19, 2014 Suvi rated it really liked it
First book by Vachss I've read, and have to say it took some time before I got used to his writing style, but now I'm loving it and reading another one of his books. Burke is very likable but complex character, and so are all the others, you just want to learn more. The book was really dark and so is the world it depicts, so not to everyone's liking I suspect.
Tim Warner
Oct 01, 2011 Tim Warner rated it really liked it
Very unique writer.Extremely economic but that's taste I have. I would also describe his style as raw, gritty, real, down and dirty. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sacrifice and am now interested in exploring his other works. This is not great literature, but a unique style which gets Mr. Vachss' point(s) across.
Bill S.
Aug 10, 2012 Bill S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: andrew-h-vachss
Most of Vachss' books are tough to read because of the gritty subject matter (usually child abuse) and this one is no different. But Vachss' cast of characters - Burke, Max, the Prof, Clarence, et al - are easy to root for when things get rough. And you know they will. Vachss makes sure of that.

If the subject matter doesn't bother you, this is another fine addition to the Burke series.
Sep 21, 2008 NightAuditMan rated it really liked it
Once again another amazing read from Vachss.

Burke is such a gripping character who is written so well that he's almost timeless. And yes although other characters from other books are mentioned this can still be read on it's own merit and still be intensely satisfying.

I really just can't get enough.
Aug 20, 2016 Mike rated it liked it
This is Andrew Vachss' sixth of the Burke series and I fear he is starting to write the same book over and over. Sacrifice tries hard to be even more vile and lurid than its predecessors but really it's the same people doing the same thing once again.
David Ward
Jun 30, 2011 David Ward rated it liked it
Sacrifice (Burke #6) by Andrew Vachss (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard 1991) (Fiction - Mystery) was a pretty good read. When a sweet child is hypnotized, he calls himself "Satan's Child" and acts accordingly. My rating: 5/10, finished 6/25/11.
Jun 26, 2012 Patrick rated it liked it
I have read most of Vachss' books. This was one of my less favorite. He is equally as gritty, on-the-edge as ever, bu the story of protecting a gifted little boy who is a (multiple personality?) killer is a tad far-fetched.
Apr 05, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
Good Burke, Max, Mole, Mama, Prof story, centering on a young killer with a troubled past.
Erika Van
Sep 13, 2011 Erika Van rated it really liked it
Just love these books, and going back to the beginning, reading as the author finds his voice, as he grows... so awesome!!
Stuart Mcgrigor
Sep 05, 2015 Stuart Mcgrigor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely the 'King of Noir' .... slightly creepy... and 13 to go
Sep 09, 2014 Max rated it it was amazing
Another great Burke caper. Vachss is always top notch.
William Thomas
Brilliant. No other Burke book lives up to this one. So glad this was voted in the top 40 horror novels of all time by the Horror Writers Association.
Jul 13, 2014 Deepti rated it really liked it
Gripping read. Looking forward to more of the series.
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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 varie ...more
More about Andrew Vachss...

Other Books in the Series

Burke (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Flood (Burke, #1)
  • Strega (Burke, #2)
  • Blue Belle (Burke, #3)
  • Hard Candy (Burke, #4)
  • Blossom (Burke, #5)
  • Down in the Zero (Burke, #7)
  • Footsteps of the Hawk (Burke, #8)
  • False Allegations (Burke, #9)
  • Safe House (Burke, #10)
  • Choice of Evil (Burke, #11)

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“When you hunt predators, the best camouflage is weakness.” 16 likes
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