I like the various mix of characters and hope to see more of them. Didn't really like the standard (in too many series) description of the amazing ma..Show More »rtial artist that apparently live only to assist the main character - also pretty predictable group of bad guys - but remember this was written before so many used the same computer (confused also with telecom) genius living deep in the ground. And the poor dog never got any exercise so how could he stay in shape. But what the heck this is fiction and once I got into the first few chapters I didn't stop till it was done. So I liked it a lot, warts and all.
A woman seeks a Polaroid taken for a child porn collector because the child victim wants to see it destroyed. She hires the paranoid, jerk private det..Show More »ective named Burke. You really get the sense Vachss knows the world he’s writing about, from the therapists working with kids who have had horrible things done to them, to the lawyers advocating on their behalf, to the runaways hustling on the streets of NYC. It all rings true, even if Vachss gets a little carried away with his noir tough-guy prose. In the end, it’s another piece of social activism disguised as revenge fantasy. Written in the 1980s; 2nd in a series.
As for the narrator, he was kind of offensive with his stereotyped readings of black and Asian characters in the first book but he tones it down here. He gets Burke perfect.
I purchased this last year and I have been trying to listen to it but keep giving up. It is really soft porn rather than a mystery. I can't even fo..Show More »llow the story because the main female character is so weak, silly and stupid. This book is not to my liking and I tried to listen to it because it had such positive reviews. It is just not worth the effort. I give up - I can't even finish the first part of the book.
I received this book back in 1991 in a care package while deployed in the military. Vachss writing style hooked me from the first few paragraphs, and..Show More » I reread the book a second time immediately when finished.
Fast forward to now, and listening brought old memories and new feelings for Hard Candy. Phil Gigante does a superb job reading. He is right on voice acting wise, in my opinion with each character. Amazing work on a great book.
In Burke's world, the word "family" means something different from what most of us think of as family. See, Burke never had a biological family -- hi..Show More »s mother threw him away at birth, his father was unknown, and the State of New York (its orphanages, foster homes, and prison system) raised him -- so he had to grow a soul-family: fellow convicts, prostitutes, con artists, chiselers, and other bottom-feeders. I am just listening to Vachss' amazing Burke series for the first time in sequential order; and I am watching several penetrating qualities emerge, in the process. First: The Burke series is dark, savage, violent, not easy to listen to, and not for everybody. Second: The Burke series is all about 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮, according to Burke's definition. Third: Andrew Vachss is a brilliant, talented, sex-obsessed, angry, misogynistic author. Fourth (and this is what keeps me listening): Phil Gigante is a brilliant, immensely talented narrator; and the Vachss/Gigante team was made in heaven. Fifth: The Burke series really, 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 needs to be listened to in sequence. Don't start here, with "Footsteps of the Hawk" (the eighth book in the series). It is not the best entry in the series, and you will miss a lot of character development. (The "family" members in this long-running saga -- and the ways in which they each get adopted into the "family" -- play an important role in the Burke series.) If you want to dive in, start at the beginning, with "Flood," and brace yourself for the chill.
... unless you enjoy pornography, which I don't. Nonetheless, I am listening to Vachss entire Burke series, in sequence, because it does have some si..Show More »gnificant redeeming qualities: excellent writing, excellent plotting, and excellent narration. If only Andrew Vachss would stop indulging in his ridiculous male sexual fantasies .... (His books would end up a lot shorter!) You stand forewarned: You will hear the "F" word quite a lot. You will have to put up with a lot of misogyny. The female characters are constantly not only offering themselves to Burke, but literally 𝙛o𝙧𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 themselves upon him, poor guy. (Burke is described as not too good looking, not in very good shape, and he chain-smokes all day long. I guess that he must have something else going for him ....) We hear frequently about how much Burke is enjoying felatio, but not how he is offering the corresponding service to his partner. The female characters act dingy, and Burke calls them "little girl," or "bitch," interrupts them in the middle of their attempts to communicate with him, and treats them like dirt. ("I have had so much sex with so many women in my life. Some of them I even liked.") The only other author to whom I could even remotely compare Andrew Vachss would be James Ellroy; but Vachss writes even darker and angrier. I probably would never read the Burke series in print; but Phil Gigante's narration has me totally addicted. Gigante can do 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜. He has the most amazing vocal repertoire of any narrator that I have listened to. I don't even know, for sure, what his natural voice sound like, because he can do so many voices and so many accents so well. It almost justifies the purchase of one of Vachss' Burke series audiobooks just to hear Gigante doing Mama -- the Chinese matriarch of Burke's gang-𝘤𝗎𝘮-family. He does Mama spot-on. Gigante can not only do many different male voices in conversation with each other, but also many different female voices as well; and switch between them instantly when they interrupt each other. In short, I would recommend Vachss' Burke series to anyone who loves good acting, and to most male listeners; but don't start with "Safe House." You need to listen to the Burke series in chronological order, starting with "Flood," otherwise you will miss out on a lot of the ongoing story. Brace yourself for dark, angry, grimy, hard-boiled violence.
Vachss's book Burke novels are always about the dark part of the streets with all its grime, shadows, smells, and bare reality that few novelists have..Show More » the courage or knowledge to write about. It is a world full of greys and outside the radar. The novels are fun thriller/mysteries but made only for those that don't mind the dirt of reality served with thier thrills.
The one thing bad about all Burke books is that they never go in a straight line so it can be difficult to those with a bit of ADD. Vachss likes to constantly be going off on side stories, explanations, and background which makes it very difficult for me to read. The good news is that this is not as aggrivating when your are listening to the stories.
The reader for this series is excellent. All the Burke novels are highly recommended and unlike any other. If you like your vision to teach you something and see things in a new light (even if messes with how you want to see the world), not just take you on a ride then you can miss with anything at Audiobooks by Vachss.
First off, let me say - Andrew Vachss is incapable of writing an imperfect novel. He has long been my favorite author, though I'm just recently trying..Show More » his material out on audiobook. As with any Vachss novel, you'll have to pay close attention to every single word. If you zone out here and there, it won't make sense later on. For this reason, I prefer his work in print - because it forces me to grab on to every word.
Great narrator, though, with a very interesting take on The Mole's voice. Not at all how I've heard that voice in my head for well over a decade and a half, but it kind of made sense once I heard his version. Very nice work on The Prof as well.
I would recommend this audiobook over Two Trains Running, primarily due to the narrator. He keeps you pulled in, and that will give you a good introduction to the pace and cadence of a Vachss novel.
Andrew Vachss is an acquired taste. People often find him excessively graphic or unrealistic. He is neither. I find it interesting that The Girl wi..Show More »th the Dragon Tattoo can come to the international attention of readers, and have an almost similar level of graphic violence and details thereof. While Vachss has been patiently spinning his cautionary and descriptions of the undertow tales for years. I think the main difference is that it is easier to feel sympathy for Larsson???s characters. They are for the main good people, who fight adversity. Without spoiling, even the main character in Larsson???s books ends up being a victim and one can justify her actions. Perhaps not agree with them, but understand her motives. I read my first of Vachss??? books on a recommendation several years ago; I haven???t looked back. He does grit like a Vermeer painting. His main character is an antihero. He is a thief, a con, a man who lives a life under the radar. He doesn???t evoke much sympathy. After the life that formed him into the man he is, he retains one redeeming quality. He saves kids. He saves the ones the cops can???t find and can???t get to. He is the embodiment of the pain every public servant feels when he or she knows the person is guilty, but can???t make it stick and has to walk away. Burke is the avenging Doberman Pincher of vengeance wish made by those public servants - turned flesh and blood. He goes into those places that no search warrant will open and he metes out the just deserts that the pederasts deserve. The characters return, wafting into one book and out of another. There are a few supporting characters that are a joy to encounter whenever we see them. There is one in particular that I would love to see again. I suspect Vachss will just keep her hidden for all time. Another Life is a Burke novel. Not his best, in my opinion, but definitely a solid thriller, filled with the murky slime that isn???t seen by the streetlights and building safety cameras. His family is a team as well. They use their skills together and solve the unsolvable, by methods that most of us could not even imagine exists, let alone consider utilizing. Very intricate use of characters to solve specific problems ??? a definite strong point with Vachss??? work. The thing I admire most about Vachss??? books is his willingness to tell some of the worst stories known to man, and make people sit up and look! He wrote about sex trafficking and the internet years before it became a popular theme on television. If you haven???t read any Vachss, start with Shella or one of his short story collections ??? Born Bad is excellent.