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Blossom (Burke #5)

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,209 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In the figure of Burke, Andrew Vachss has given contemporary crime fiction one of its most mesmerizing characters. An abused child raised in orphanages, foster homes, and prisons, Burke is a career criminal and outlaw who steals and scams for a living.
In Blossom, an old cellmate has summoned Burke to a fading Indiana mill town, where a young boy is charged with a crime he...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published October 29th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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Dan Schwent
Burke leaves the Big Apple behind to help a former cellmate in a small town in Indiana. Virgil, the cellmate, has a nephew that's been accused of gunning down couples at a local lovers' lane. Can Burke figure out who the real killer is before he strikes again? And what about the mysterious Blossom who's tugging at Burke's heartstrings?

This Burke book was one of my favorites so far. Burke does a lot more detective work than usual and Vachss doesn't rely on the usual supporting cast. While the Pro...more
Larry Bassett
I read one of the later Burke books and decided that I would like to try reading the series and to read it in order. So now I am on #5. I know from looking ahead that all the titles are not the names of women who have a relationship with Burke. He does bounce from woman to woman and I am hesitant to say the women are a love interest since Burke is not the most emotional guy around. I love you is just not much in his vocabulary.

I like short chapters and Blossom gets points from me for having 186...more
Stephen
A bit different from the others in the series as action all takes place out of the city and for the most part, without Burke's gang (including his dog) - thought that might take away from it a bit but it didn't as it allows scope for some more about Burke's own character and background and Blossom herself is an intriguing figure who goes from a bit part in the first half of the book to the main item in the latter half. So in all in all, more of the same excellent but incredibly bleak material th...more
Tim Niland
You can take the man out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the man. That is what Vachss' anti-hero, con-man and unlicensed private investigator Burke finds out when he is called to Indiana to help his former cell mate's nephew, who is accused of a string of murders. With Burke away from his network of New York City accomplices, he must look for help where ever he can get it, including a blond waitress named Blossom, who is much more than she seems. This was another fine Burke novel...more
Ian
All Vacchs stuff is great. He is an exclusively child lawyer and his books are about investigations involving child abuse, sexual exploitation etc. With a particularly noir slant.
I've added this one, but there were many others this summer: Hard Candy, Flood, Strega, Blue Belle, Everybody Pays, and Only Child. This past Friday, I got the compilaton of Blues Music which he put out to go along with teh publication in 1998 of Safe House. It is a fabulous, focussed Blues set. Mainly stinging electri...more
Sam
The book was okay. The chapters in this one were very short which for reasons unknown to me, I tend to be able to get through books like that quicker. What I really didn't like about the book was the fact that it was written in short choppy sentences. It could have used a lot more detail. I had a lot of difficulty picturing any scene of the book in my head and it changed scenes so often and suddenly it was a little hard to keep up. Another problem that I had with the book was the fact that it en...more
Susan
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.
Harry
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...more
Lee
Burke heads to the Midwest to help his "brother", a former cellmate. After the first four in the series, a unique change to have him out of his element - of the gritty back alleys of New York.
Burke's mission in life to get the, freaks/predator's/monster's off the streets, even in the Midwest....let's the reader know they are everywhere.
Ramzi
Enjoyable installment in the Burke series and the first one I've read that takes him out of his native habitat of New York City. Burke is lured out to the midwest to help a former prison buddy clear his nephew's name of murder. In the process, he starts up a relationship with a young woman who also hunts the killer but for different reasons altogether. Obviously the theme of society "making its own monsters" and the failure of what to do with them is once again addressed and we get to see Burke...more
Craig Werner
An excellent Burke novel. Vachss shifts the setting from New York to Indiana, where Burke goes to help out his "brother"--family in Vachss work is never a matter of biology--Virgil, whose nephew has been accused of murder. The ingredients of the book are familiar: the underworld where right wing politics and sexual predation mingle; the clear-eyed moral vision which has nothing to do with conventional religion; Burke's ongoing struggle with his dark side; the presence of a beautiful, intriguing...more
Blair Erotica
This was an interesting story, but I found it far too choppy. The characters ranged from being fascinating to stereotypes and a bit more time spent explaining things would go a long way toward making the book more enjoyable.
Anna Pappas
Not impressed. I did not like the character of blossom, and the writing was choppy.
Mike
Fast moving Burke vehicle set in Indiana instead of the city, looking for a sniper.
Madeline
I don't have quite as many feelings about this as I did when I first read it, but it's still a great book.
Azariphale
A lot of reviews seem to indicate that out of the Burke series this one is perhaps the weakest. Notably due to the fact that Burke is out of his element, not in New York and the usual cast of characters are mostly absent.

I, however, think that for all of those same reasons this book is more interesting. Seeing Burke work with the same drive as he usually does in a place he doesn't know or understand makes it all that more compelling. I always eat up Vachss's work but this one more so.

James Kidd
Vachsss shakes the scene up with Burke leaving Ny to help out his prison brother. In doing so he meets Blossom. And there he makes a connection missing since Blue Belle, but on nowhere the same magnitude. This is a search for a killer, which only Burke can find as he knows this type of freaky so well. A bit too much perhaps is made of just how well Burke knows the freaks and how he can attune himself to them, but nonetheless, a story that rolls by and which I read again in a matter of days.
Lorilee
Not one of my favorites in this series.
Karl
Burke leaves New York City! That alone should be enough to end Burke since he relies so heavily on the camouflage of his element. But help from the most unlikely element gives him the little extra he needs to take care of his chosen family. If you ever needed someone to care about what happens to you in the harsh light of life, it would be Burke. One of the best book series that I have ever read.
Walt
Burkes travels to Indiana to help out the nephew of a prison buddy. While uncovering the truth about whether or not the boy is actually the serial killer prosecutors say he is Burke also meets and romances the beautiful Blossom and tracks down a white supremacist sniper (quite obviously modeled after an actual criminal). I found the change of scene and characters refreshing. Recommended.
Ben Brackett
Ugh. It's like these books are written by a 12 year old boy. The protagonist's tough guy bravado is so overdone its laughable. There's ton of things crammed in you can tell that the author thought sounded cool, but then over explains to the point where it's tiresome.
Michael
This was the story where I started to fall out of love with Andrew Vachss and the Burke series. A lot of good stories came after this one and Burke and his team were still entertaining, but the series started to move away from hardboiled crime fiction to more of a soapbox for issues important to the author. Not a bad thing, it just changed the tone of the stories for me.
Ashvin
I love Andrew Vachss. Make no mistake, it's trashy, but it's fun as hell to read and filled with crazy almost comic-book scenes. I also like his general stance on the characters: tolerance for people of all types (one of the main characters in the series is a person who identifies as a female but is in a male's body), but none for the monsters of the world.
David Ward
Blossom (Burke #5) by Andrew Vachss (Vintage Books 1990)(Fiction - mystery) is a step down from the previous Burke novels. This one takes Burke on the road to rural Indiana to help an old convict friend whose nephew has been arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. I miss the author's usual cast of characters. 4/10, finished 4/1/11.
John
If this was the first of Vachss' books that I read I probably wouldn't read any of his other work. His usual characters are missing since the story takes place out of NYC. I read his four previous books and loved them. This book really suffers from the absence of all the characters that usually surround Vachss' central character, Burke.
Jason
Not the best Burke book I've read, but it's still Burke and it's pretty good.

This one takes him out of NYC which is a nice change of pace, but it definately misses the cast of supporting characters.

Previous Burke novels, while adhering to a formula, have always felt kind of natural, but this one did not.
Lynn
Great series ...... gritty and dark. Burke leaves NYC for once.
Heather Crawford
Slow to start, roller coaster middle, and the end tapered and dropped. I wasn't impressed with this one. There was a lot of sub plot that took the driver's seat more then the main plot did. Not his best work in my opinion.
Patrick
Vachss' books are a serious read, you really gotta want it to get through his books. I was introduced to Vachss when I read his Batman story, even THAT was a deep, deep message novel.
holls
Burke is a great character - totally hard-boiled and awesome! This is the first one of this series that I have read but now I realize that it is out of order. Must find the others now.
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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
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