Book Notification

Burke Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Burke Books

Burke is the main character in a series of eighteen fiction novels authored by a bestselling American author of crime fiction novels. The series revolves around Burke and his fight again the child abusers. The series is narrated in first person perspective from Burke’s view. Andrew Vachss began the publication of Burke series in 1985 when Flood the first book in the series was published and concluded in December 2008 when Another Life was published.

As a child, Burke was abandoned by his teenage mother. His mother was not sure who his dad was and he Burke found himself tossed around from one surrogate home to another during his early years. However, it is later revealed that he was abused during his stay in different foster homes which severely affected his mental state. During his teenage years, Burke often lived on the streets with a group of other deserted and abused kids. Throughout this series, Burke often narrates the days when he was a “cowboy” claiming that he wished to die in a gang war or robbing a convenience store.

Burke was sent to prison twice and while in prison, he made friends that became part of his family of choice. Of the different livelong companions, Burke meets a fatherly figure by the name Prof during his first stay in prison. Prof is the short form for both Prophet and Professor depending on the person listening. Prof teaches Burke a philosophy that Burke manages to abide by for the rest of his life: to Survive. He further explains Burke how to survive in this harsh world without throwing a punch, and how to use knowledge to survive each day. Burke adheres to Prof’s advice, reads almost every single book in the entire prison library, and when he is finally released from prison without his mentor, Burke waits for him and picks him up when he is released.

Later Burke meets another man named “Max the Silent” whom he adopts as his brother. Max is a Mongolian soldier and mute and deaf. Burke also meets Mole, an anti-Nazi Jew specializing in weaponry, bombs, chemistry, breaking and entering, and computer hacking. Mole is closely connected with Michelle, a transsexual woman who later teaches Burke social skills, and Terry, a man whom Burke had once rescued from a brothel-keeper and his abusive family whom the Mole and Michelle have adopted.

As the series progresses, after Burke is released from prison and after a deal gone sour with a gang when he ends up holding off the cops with a crate of grenades in order to give his friends time to escape, Burke moves on to a career of hijacking.

Unfortunately, Burke is arrested for the second time, and during his 2nd prison sentence he states that he “finds the freaks.” He learns of the child abuse and potential scars the abuse leaves upon a child’s mind. He spends his prison term carefully studying the freaks, and when he is finally released, he begins a new career as an unauthorized private investigator. He spends resources and his effort to stay off the radar with different fake identities. He starts a battle against child abuse, takes on cases, aids a few cops in locating several runaway girls, extorts, steals, blackmails, operates fake subscription for kiddie porn in to update his list of notorious “freaks.” He also does whatever he can to hide his identity from the cops but still make a change and somehow find revenge for all the wrongdoing committed to him in his childhood years.


Flood is the debut novel in Burke series by Andrew Vachss. Apart from writing crime fiction stories, Vachss has spent most of his adult life-saving children from the two-legged predators. In the introductory part of this novel, the author is unabashedly honest that the main reason for writing this Burke series was to educate and inform people about the bitter truth of the widespread child abuse and the need to protect our young ones or otherwise create the next generations of “monsters.” Vachss explains that when he first wrote this debut novel in the early 1980’s that child abuse was rarely given much consideration as it is today.

However, after writing a positively acclaimed but mostly unknown nonfiction work on the subject of child abuse, the author decided to present his non-fiction case against a fictional backdrop with a touching story to reacher a wider audience.

In this first novel, Burke is approached by a young woman named Flood who hires him to find the whereabouts of a psychopath who raped her best friends baby girl. However, the woman does not want Burke to kill the man, but she wants him to find him so that she can kill him.

You see, Flood is not the average woman, she is an expert in martial arts at training in Japan, and so she can quickly kill you with her little finger.

Once Burke starts hunting down the man aka “the Cobra” the story really takes off. Burke uses several savory and unsavory techniques to flush the bad guys. He sees the world as a never-ending game between the predators, the smart survivors like him and the ordinary citizens who are too dumb to live according to him. He makes for an interesting character, with his constant paranoia, and the concept that a criminal is lurking in every crevice and crack of New York.


In the second installment in the series, Burke the main character continues to live and work under a fake identity, bringing down the depraved and scamming the crooked. A woman by the name Strega hires Burke to locate a lewd photo of her best friend five-year-old son. As Burke mission takes him through a series of pimps, Nazis, and kiddie porn dealers, his client, Strega gets her sharp hooks deeper into him. Can he find the photograph and escape Strega’s grasp?

In the second book in Burke series by Andrew Vachss, we get to learn more about the main character’s past and why the relationship with the secondary characters we have already been introduced to is so strong.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Burke

2 Responses to “Burke”

  1. Freddie Benjamin Lynch: 1 year ago

    In your list for Andrew Vachss’ books, you did not include “Shella” (1993).

    • Graeme: 1 year ago

      Hi Freddie – that book is listed on his page under standalone novels.


Leave a Reply