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Everybody Pays: Stories [Paperback]

Andrew Vachss
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 7 1999 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original
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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From Publishers 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 jailAstrictly 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 characterizationsAboth Vachss strengthsAthat 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Vachss is widely recognized for his dark, New York City^-based Burke crime novels in which the sometime criminal and his cadre of vigilantes battle those who exploit women and children. Justice in Burke's world is never meted out by officialdom, but by a Solomon-like street code set in motion by Burke. These short stories mostly deal with the same theme, though there are some in which we see the world through the eyes of the criminal. Vachss, a lawyer who works as an advocate for abused women and children, clearly believes most abusers and killers are made not born. Stories such as "Homeless" , "Dress Up Day" (with an eerie Columbine angle), and "Last Date" all reflect that view. Mixed in are some science fiction, a little fantasy, and a novella, "Everybody Pays" , in which an abuser meets a just end in typically Vachssian style. Some of the pieces work better than others, but all are unmistakably Vachss and will attract his sizable audience. Wes Lukowsky

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody Pays Sept. 18 2002
If you're a friend of mine, and you're not familiar with Andrew Vachss' writing, I usually suggest one of his collections of short stories to start with -- either *Born Bad* or *Everybody Pays*. That's because I consistently hear only one of two reactions to his work. Either it's something along the lines of "too dark," "too intense," "too scary," "too brutal," or "too *real*" . . . or it's "Has he written any more books?" Clearly, I fall into the latter category. For those that fall into the former, with short stories, you can take it five to ten pages at a time.
Because Vachss' writing *is* "too real." And that makes it all the more important for us to read. His research is his life, and all of the brutal, ugly corners of this earth he has been -- from the midnight human meat markets of New York City to the genocidal killing fields of Biafra -- confronting evils few people dare to even acknowledge voluntarily. But for all of the darkness, in his short stories, Vachss always seems to find some beauty -- an orchid amongst the spent shell casings.
Vachss is a warrior poet, on a mission to save children from abuse. His sword is his writing, and his haiku is the short story. If the purpose of writing is to communicate one's experience of reality so accurately that the reader feels like he or she has actually experienced it, then Vachss is one of the most skilled writers of all time. And if you liked *Born Bad*, you will believe he has perfected the art of the short story after reading *Everybody Pays*.
So, read Vachss to be entertained, scared, intellectually stimulated, angered, inspired to take action, enlightened, strengthened, nourished, or healed. Read it simply because it is great writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rips the nerves wide open May 3 2001
By Keris
Nobody frees the truth from the mud the way Andrew Vachss can. I've had enough of pain and abuse as plot-points, and I can tell you that *this* writer's never goes near that kind of exploitation. Instead, he shows the reader the anatomy of evil -- so we can *recognize* it when we see it in the real world. His fictional work ends up giving the reader a crystal clear set of textbooks on the evil that preys on our society. Why? Because after the diagnosis, the cure becomes obvious. Buy the book!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven and not as good as "Born Bad" Feb. 28 2001
I'm a huge Andrew Vachss fan and I loved his first collection of short stories entitled "Born Bad." Unfortunately, "Everybody Pays" just isn't as consistent or as good. By now, Vachss has come to wear his anti-abuse feelings on sleeve so obviously that many of these stories take far too predictable turns. Many of them are also far too short (some only a couple of pages) to have any real impact. The "Underground" series is sci-fi that makes little sense. The "Cross" stories aren't as realistic or satisfying as Vachss' Burke novels. That said, the book is at least an entertaining read for Vachss fans. Even when he's not at his best, he is at least interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars storytelling beyond compare Aug. 4 2000
These stories are so simply told and so deeply empathetic that Mr. Vachss seems to speak straight into your heart. Gorgeous short tales are sprinkled all through the collection, and the very first story, "Proving It", is a perfect gem of romance. Every friend I have given this book has thanked me -- read it soon!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cross. July 17 2000
This collection is as good as, if not better than, his first collection-BORN BAD. But to fully understand this collection, read the first. They have the same themes, the same prose, and the same settings.
The Underground series focuses on tribalism of the human species in a not too distant future. Sci-fi isn't really Mr. Vachss strong suit. But dialogue and description are. Everything contained herein is shredded down to it's bare meaning. Other authors write dialogue. Mr. Vachss transcribes it. He's heard it, he's said it. Some of it's even been cursed at him.
The absolute jewel in this book, however, is the CROSS novella. Having difficulty in publishing a CROSS novel on it's own, this is the perfect setting to unveil exactly what these characters are about. Enough teasers in the lean, stabbing prose of the short stories lead into the novella. Which finally gives enough room for Cross and his crew to breathe and infiltrate into you. I had to read it twice in the same sitting, just because I wanted to read more of Cross. A character you shouldn't even like to read ABOUT much less like.
I'm now eagerly awaiting the full novel about CROSS and crew in their own series (or mini-series of books).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Collection April 18 2000
By brx
I become to like Vachss' Collections better than his novels. This one is even better than born bad, thanks to a complete Cross Novel and some disturbing tales. The sci-fi stories are not as well as in Born Bad, but occupy less space. If you've read one, only one of the stories in this book, you'll want to read all his books. Be warned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book! Jan. 4 2000
I have seen the future of short crime fiction and it (he) is Andrew Vachss. Like a series of rabbit punches to the solar plexis, these stories cut to the chase and leave you breathless. Especially good are the underground stories and the Cross material. If you like Vachss, you will love this stuff - if uninitiated, this is a great place to jump on. Stop dawdling and buy the freaking book!
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