From the Publisher
"Vachss is a contemporary master."The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Vachss' writing is like a dark roller coaster ride of fear, love and hate." The Times- Picayune
"Vachss [is] in the first rank of contemporary American crime writers."The Kansas City Star
"Andrew Vachss has become a cult favorite, and for good reason." Cosmopolitan
Vachss is a contemporary master.
Vachss' writing is like a dark roller coaster ride of fear, love and
Kansas City Star
Vachss [is] in the first rank of contemporary American crime writers.
Andrew Vachss has become a cult favorite, and for good reason.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burke, Vachss's popular underground PI, is nowhere to be found in this second collection (after Born Bad, 1994) of short stories from his creator's stiletto of a pen. Fans won't much mind: Cross, the mercenary crook who's so hard he makes tough Burke seem gooey, shows up in several entries, most notably in the swift and savage title novella, which sees the Chicago-based antihero and his crew break a young woman out of a Peruvian jail--strictly for financial reasons, of course. In this novella, as in most of Vachss's fiction, child abuse plays a pivotal role, and it's as often the author's moral outrage as it is compact plotting and sharp characterizations--both Vachss strengths--that provides the energy. In too many stories, Vachss relies on trick endings for that extra wallop (as in "Mission," where a man confesses to murder in order to land behind bars and take vengeance upon imprisoned abusers), but he also takes some admirable chances, roaming afield for five (regrettably murky) tales set in a totalitarian future and collected as being from "The Underground Series," and even one western ("Searcher"). Though many of these stories have appeared previously (and in an astonishing variety of venues, from Esquire to Amazon.com to the Swiss journal Das Magazin), they were all written recently, to be compiled into this book. With the Burke novels in general sliding downhill, it's good to see that Vachss can still rile and sting, especially via the ice man Cross and his deadly crew, who deserve to star in a full-length novel, and soon. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Nobody's earned the right to more attitude than Vachss, a former social services caseworker and prisoner director whose legal clientele is restricted to children. But his swaggering, strutting novels (Choice of Evil, p. 481, etc.) often seem to revel in the catalogue of unwholesome horrors his macho heroes avenge. Vachss' stripped-down, pumped-up prose shows to better advantage in a good half of these 38 stories, since the unspeakable revelations tend to cut off the heat just as the pot is about to boil over. There's room for some hard-won tenderness, too, in stories like "Proving It" (a released convict's not-exactly-romantic reunion) and "True Colors" (how far will a gang-banger go for his girl?). The four stories about Cross, the Chicago crew chief who always delivers because he has no higher loyalty than the job at hand, are a suitably tough counterweight, along with the title novella, in which Cross and his crew contract to rescue a young woman from a Latin American prison (think Mission: Impossible with a sideshow cast and a body count through the roof). Only the "Underground" stories, which wallow in the unspeakable details of child-abuse hell, go over the topor, maybe more accurately, under the bottom.