Dan Schwent's Reviews > Flood

Flood by Andrew Vachss
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Dec 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, 2010
Read in December, 2010

A woman named Flood shows up at Burke's office and hires him to find a child molester calling himself the Cobra so she can kill him with her bare hands. Can Burke navigate the cesspools of New York and bring in the Cobra?

You know a crime book is going to be good when the author has an eye patch. I've been aware of Andrew Vachss for a long time. Partly because of his work as a lawyer but mostly because Joe Lansdale based his Veil character on him. Does Flood live up to my eye patch-fueled expectations? You bet your ass!

Vachss knows how to write a hard boiled crime book like nobody's business. Burke is far from the detective cliche, the child of a broken home who grew up in orphanages and detention centers, an uber-paranoid guy bent on beating the system, getting by on various scams in addition to his detective work. The bad guys of the story are so much worse than Burke that they make him look like an angel by comparison. Then again, that's not hard when the baddies are pimps and/or pedophiles. Goldor and the Cobra are both despicable and you can't wait for them to get what they have coming.

The supporting cast was interesting. You have the deaf mute Max the Silent, the Prof, the Mole, Mama, quite a memorable cast. Like in Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series, New York is almost a character itself. Flood, the title character, is pretty believable for a kung fu master consumed with a desire for revenge.

Burke isn't a super-hero like some detectives. He's scared, not all that tough, and doesn't go in with guns blazing. He's a survivor, though.

The thing docking Flood a star? The ending involving the pimp seemed forced. I just didn't buy her relationship with Burke. Based on their backgrounds, I just didn't buy that they'd end up in the sack so fast. Other than that, I've got no complaints.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Kemper I see you're going for some light-hearted reading....


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I've heard it was so dark I'd need some Jim Thompson to lighten the mood afterwords.


Kemper Burke is so gloomy and paranoid that I watch the movie Seven afterwards to cheer me up....


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Burke is so dark he makes Parker look like Miss Marple.


Kemper Burke is so dark that just like a black hole, no light can escape him...


Kemper I like the Burke books, but I have to do them in small doses. His paranoia wears me out.


message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Once the to-read pile is a little smaller, I'll probably start nabbing the Burke books and alternating them with the Spenser ones.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I am a little over halfway through the book and I think I have the same concerns about Flood's character you did. Their relationship is over the top...but so is the fact that she is a secret karate master. Are all the books like this? Everyone has secret handshakes and codewords and I don't think I have read a mystery that is so grounded in social injustice yet so out there in terms of plot and characters.


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent All of the books are this dark or darker. After this book, I don't think any of the supporting cast are as cartoonish as Flood.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I usually prefer my books dark, so I dig Vachss' level of bleakness. Still, I can see why you and Kemper have both suggested breaks between reading each book. And I can't wait to see the bad guys in this book get destroyed (hopefully).


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent All the books have the "I can't wait to see Burke settle this guy's hash" feel.


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