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Everybody Pays

( 3 )


A hit man defies the confines of a life sentence to avenge his sister's batterer.  An immaculately dressed man hires a street gang to extract his daughter from a Central American prison, for reasons as mysterious as they are deadly.  A two-bit graffiti artist with a taste for Nazi-ganda finds himself face-to-face with three punks out to make a mark of their own—literally—with a tattoo needle.

From neo-noir master Andrew Vachss comes Everybody Pays, 38 ...

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Everybody Pays

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A hit man defies the confines of a life sentence to avenge his sister's batterer.  An immaculately dressed man hires a street gang to extract his daughter from a Central American prison, for reasons as mysterious as they are deadly.  A two-bit graffiti artist with a taste for Nazi-ganda finds himself face-to-face with three punks out to make a mark of their own—literally—with a tattoo needle.

From neo-noir master Andrew Vachss comes Everybody Pays, 38 white-knuckle rides into a netherworld of pederasts and prostitutes, stick-up kids and fall guys—where private codes of crime and punishment pulsate beneath a surface system of law and order, and our moral  compass spins frighteningly out of control. Here is the street-grit prose that has earned Vachss comparisons to Chandler, Cain, and Hammett--and the ingenious plot twists that transform the double-cross into an expression of retribution, the dark deed into a thing of beauty. Electrifying and enigmatic, Everybody Pays is a sojourn into the nature of evil itself—a trip made all the more frightening by its proximity to our front doorstep.

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Editorial Reviews

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

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Vachss is a contemporary master.
Times Picayune
Vachss' writing is like a dark roller coaster ride of fear, love and hate.
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 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.
Kirkus Reviews
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 top—or, maybe more accurately, under the bottom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375707438
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 488,238
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social caseworker, and a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for youthful offenders.  Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively.  He is the author of numerous novels, including the burke series, two collection of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, poetry, graphic novels, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty different languages; and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, The New York Times, and numerous other forums.  He lives and works in New York City and Pacific Northwest.

The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is

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Table of Contents

Proving It 3
Reaching Back 13
Last Date 23
Tag 28
Dress-Up Day 31
Homeless 36
Mission 40
Going Home 47
The Real Thing 58
Slow Motion 65
True Colors 69
Curtains 83
The Writing on the Wall 88
Safe Sex 93
Charmed Life 97
Gamblers 104
Just the Ticket 113
Summer Girl 119
Big Sister 125
Time Share 130
Goin' Down Slow 135
Word Play 138
Stepping Stone 144
Fireman 149
Dope Fiend 156
Escort Service 160
Stuntman 170
Piecework 175
The Real World 178
Perp Walk 186
Good for the Soul 191
Hit Man 196
Searcher 203
The Concrete Puppy 209
Harvest Time 221
Pigeon Drop 238
Two-Way Radio 247
Everybody Pays 253
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2008

    IF you like Vachss Already......'ll probably enjoy this collection of short stories that mostly contain that last minute 'twist' Andrew is so famous for. Vengeful twists. My only reservation with the stories is with the novella about Cross, a dark figure with a gang so like Burke and his posse from that famous series of novels that one might wonder why Andrew even bothered to change names. The differences were few and the original Burke crowd far more interesting. Maybe he's afraid of type casting like movie actors are? Ah well. His fault is the way he glorifies street racing and how he is prone to overstate and overdescribe every aspect of a street race, attempting to turn a quarter mile, illegal race into the chariot scene from Ben Hur. He does that a lot. He's been known to take a page to light a cigarette via his overly dramatic renditions of simple acts. Which makes for a very boring time, since, as the reader, you are as aware of his writer's overkill as you are of his subject. For god sake's, just light the cigarette already, you want to scream. Andrew may have learned his street racing back in the glory days of Queens and connecting highway and Crossbay Boulevard and he may know how it's degenerated into overdone, super $$$ race mania amongst the psycho classes, but as for me, I would rather he stopped including the arbitrary race events and similar odd ball scenes wherein he tries to impress us with all he knows about obscure topics. He hasn't learned not to have such an overbearing hand in that one aspect of his usual, flowing, gritty prose. And glorifying that level of street racing that causes too much damage to too many innocents, is, to my more rational mind, not something very responsible. I say this because these inclusions are always merely 'obligatory filler' and rarely have anything to do with the plot. They tend, to me, to be Andrew's ego slipping into the story, saying 'Look how much I know about stuff.' If you can get past that one weakness in Andrew's writing, you'll have a great time with these short stories, but REMEMBER! These are best enjoyed by already hooked on Vachss folk and NOT for those who've never read him before. Otherwise, you'll be flipping and skipping and being bored by them. Start Vachss by reading 'Flood' and proceed from square one. It's quite a ride IF you do it right......just don't do it in a street racer on nitrous!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2002

    a little goes a long ways

    this is the first time I've read Andrew Vachss and I found a little of this style of writing goes a long ways, also found the story line to be redundantand and that I was skipping around in the book quite a bit looking for something of more interest. All in all I thought it was boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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