Blackjack: A Cross Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

TO:  UNIT 3 Chicago
FROM: DIRECTOR
IMPORTANCE: Critical
 
SUBJECT:  Specimen Retrieval
 
TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID'ed ...
See more details below
Blackjack: A Cross Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

TO:  UNIT 3 Chicago
FROM: DIRECTOR
IMPORTANCE: Critical
 
SUBJECT:  Specimen Retrieval
 
TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID'ed via signature kills worldwide. Identifiable only by skull-spine removal from victims. No witnesses, no forensics, no particular race targeted. On rare occasions, scraps of what appear to be playing cards found at murder sites.
 
OBJECTIVE: Locate and capture any member of such teams. MUST be taken alive for study and observation.
 
AUTHORIZATION APPROVED FOR USE OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR: Individual ID'ed only as "Cross" and his team. A pure mercenary outfit, well known throughout criminal underworld--no inside informants available. Ruthless, undeterred by risk, rumored never to fail, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to be trusted. No known political or social objective, but has proven treacherous when retained by government in the past.
 
UPDATE: Cross and his team claim to have identified a pattern to the signature-kills, and believe they can predict a forthcoming strike. They are prepared to personally confront-and-capture, but financial arrangement alone not sufficient. What you describe as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card is hereby APPROVED.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Having appeared in short stories and comics, Cross, the “ultra-pragmatic man-for-hire,” makes his full-length fiction debut in this lively cartoon in prose from Anthony Award–finalist Vachss (Batman: The Ultimate Evil). Cross and his unusual crew (Buddha, Ace, Princess, and Rhino) operate from a Chicago subterranean poolroom known as Red 71. Another group of similarly unusual characters (Percy, Tiger, Tracker, Wanda, and “the blond man”) want to hire Cross to find a live “specimen” of a creature that removes the spinal cords of its victims as trophies. Such a creature, described as a “blotchy mass” or “shadowy blob,” flows down the sides of an abandoned gas station in one chilling scene. The devastating climax comes at one creature’s chosen killing field—a federal prison divided among hostile groups of whites, blacks, and Latinos. Vachss effectively channels Predator and Rambo in this heated blend of fantasy and machismo in the urban jungle. Agent: Lou Bank, Ten Angry Pitbulls. (July)
From the Publisher
"[A] heady mix of spy thriller, crime novel, and horror. . . . Vachss approaches it as he does all his work, imbuing it with a strong moral core. Without that moral core, Blackjack would simply be a better-than-usual take on the thriller genre; with it, the belief in and search for justice and loyalty that permeate the story echo in the hearts of its readers so that they see the world in a new light."
    —The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

"Vachss has always been able to pit his protagonists against the darkness of the human heart to great effect."
    —Booklist

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307744722
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/10/2012
  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 125,389
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Andrew Vachss is a lawyer who represents children and youths exclusively. His many novels include the Burke series and two collections of short stories. His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, and The New York Times, among other publications. He divides his time between his native New York City and the Pacific Northwest.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE


THE LION'S full-maned magnificence filled the glass of the high-power telescopic sight. Accustomed to domination of all he sees, the beast was unaware that what he does not see was now holding him captive.
 
His captor dialed in with great care—only a perfectly placed shot would preserve the trophy he had paid so much to take. The lion was no menacing figure to the human cradling the rifle—he regarded himself as the king of a very different jungle, one much more vicious and far less forgiving.
 
To this man, the lion was a mere objet d’art: destined to become still another symbol of his elite standing, its value enhanced by difficulty of acquisition. Any man can buy things; only those of a special breed may grant themselves permission to take things. And what better way to illustrate the difference than to display those trophies they have taken with their own hands?
 
The title “King of the Jungle” had been reduced to ultimate irony. The lion’s multi-generational belief that he was master of all he surveyed had become an illusion. In reality, he was nothing but a mere target for an impending hostile takeover.
 
The sight’s crosshairs intersected on the lion’s vital organs—a head shot would destroy the trophy. The scope was mounted on a custom-built .458 Weatherby Magnum, the rifle itself bolted onto a tripod with its own click-adjustment capability. A separate range-finder–and–windage-meter combination was mounted within its housing. The rifle’s heavy, non-reflective barrel protruded through a mesh netting covering the open sunroof of a khaki-and-beige Land Rover.
 
If the lion knew an enemy was approaching, he would follow the natural sequence of his breed: first warn, then attack. But he had no such knowledge. Instead, he rested comfortably in the restorative sun, waiting for the female members of his pride to make a kill. The beast remained unaware that he had been reduced to a potential trophy from the moment the hunter’s kill-shot had been dialed in.
 
The hunter was dressed in couture jungle gear: knee-high black boots and matching cartridge belt topped with a leopard-banded bush hat. He stood frozen behind the scope, visualizing as would any artist picturing in his mind what he would create on the blank canvas before him. As always, this master artist’s preferred medium was blood.
 
“Isn’t he perfect?” the artist gloated. “Here, take a look for yourself.”
 
A woman’s head slowly emerged through the opening. A pink chiffon scarf covered her long blonde hair; another protected her throat. She was well aware that every asset she possessed was depreciating, so she guarded them all with extreme care, knowing that plastic surgery would, eventually, become self-mockery.
 
She slid closer to the man, calculating every movement, knowing her role was to be another of his trophies, always on display. Delicately, she peered through the scope, taking care not to let it actually touch her extended eyelashes.
 
“Oh, he is a beauty. I’ll bet he has his pick of the whole herd.”
 
“Pride.”
 
“What?”
 
“Pride. That’s what they call a herd of lions, a pride.”
 
“Oh.”
 
“You have to understand the culture of this area, Celia,” the artist pontificated. “That’s the only way you can truly appreciate the thrill of the hunt.”
 
“I see...” she murmured, gently placing her hand on the man’s forearm arm as she gazed adoringly into his eyes. These seemingly spontaneous moves had been practiced and polished since her early teens, and perfected well before her first marriage.
 
Two natives squatted on the ground, grateful for the meager shade provided by the faux-camo Land Rover. They exchanged glances but did not speak. Like the woman, they had fully internalized their role many years ago; their every word and gesture honed by constant practice.
 
“He’s a man-eater,” the great white hunter said.
 
Celia checked her husband’s face for hint of a double-entendre. Detecting none, she quickly ran her tongue over her lips, taking care not to speak.
 
“No question about it, he’s the one. Killed three of their people so far, and I’ve got the documents to prove it. You know why that lion is so nice and relaxed? This whole area is reserved for photo-safaris. No hunting allowed. The only exception is when the government certifies that a particular animal has become dangerous to man.”
 
“Aren’t they all dangerous?”
 
“Only if they leave the preserve. And why should they do that? They’ve got everything they need right here: plenty of food, clean water, a goodly supply of game... you name it. If you lived at the Four Seasons, why would you ever check into a Motel 6?”
 
“Then how is this one different?”
 
“He’s not,” the man said, his voice a life raft bobbing on a perfect ocean of confidence. “I am. The ‘president’ of this so-called country is actually the owner—everything inside the borders belongs to him.
 
“You understand?” the man continued, glancing at the woman to make certain she missed none of the implications of his speech. “This country is his property. If you own something, you can sell it. Or rent it. But there’s nothing left for him to sell anymore, not from this country. Half the population’s already dead. Natural causes, like starvation and disease. There’s no infrastructure at all, no way to dis- tribute food or even seed. It could have been a paradise, but President-for-life Qranunto never understood even the simplest business principles. Now it’s impossible for that maniac to get his hands on hard currency.”
 
“He must have some—”
 
“Money? Sure. He did. But now it’s all gone. Sitting in banks all around the world. Billions. But he can’t get his hands on it.”
 
“If it’s in his name, why not just take it out?”
 
“Because he has no one he could trust, so he set everything up so that he’d have to show up in person to claim it. And he’s wanted by every country on the planet. The UN, the World Court, even whatever useless organization they have for Africa, they all have him under an arrest-on-sight order. If he wants any money in his hands, he has to have someone come over here and put it there.”
 
“Oh.”
 
“‘Oh’ is right, baby. Cost me one-point-five million. That’s in euros, not dollars. For that, I get the run of the place. That’s why we’re using the Land Rover. What we’re doing isn’t some stupid ‘safari’—in fact, it’s not about hunting at all.”
 
“It’s not?”
 
“No,” he replied, in the same smug voice he used when a casino employee kowtowed to him—as a well-known “whale,” he was courted and comped by every legal gambling establishment from Vegas to Monte Carlo. “When you hunt for trophies, there’s all kinds of stupid rules about how to do it. But when you’re hunting for food, there’s never any rules.”
 
“We’re not going to eat that thing, are we? I mean—”
 
“Just listen!” the man abruptly halted whatever foolishness was about to come out of that ripe mouth of hers. Well within his rights, was he not? A man owns what he pays for, and those top-drawer collagen injections hadn’t come cheap.
 
“Some trophies are food. Not the kind of food you live on, the kind of food that lets you live any way you choose. When I walk into a boardroom, why do you think the others stand up? I’ll tell you why: because they know what I can do. They know what I’m capable of. And it’s trophies like that incredible creature over there that prove it.”
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    Knock it off, please

    Ive seen your boring nonsensical posts on several books reviews.what is ur point in posting your ramblings here?its
    Annoying, rude, and pathetic. So give us a break and post this stuff elsewhere.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Andrew

    Waits for lacey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Lacey

    Walks in na..ked

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    SHADOWSTAR TO ALL MEMBERS OF FEARCLAN!!!

    Hell to everyone! If you were once a member of Fearclan, founded by Deathstar and succeded by me, Shadowtar, when she died, then go to 'black ice' result one. Together, we can rebuild FearClan!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Iceheart

    Vixenstar scarclaw is expecting kits and she cant travel....so i am planning to start a clan with my brother

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Blueclaw

    Now what do we do?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    To blueclaw

    Ok

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)