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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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody Pays, proves it. Sept. 27 1999
By A Customer
I may not be a professional reviewer, and for those of you reading this, let me assure you that can be a good thing. I actually READ the book. I notice from some of the reviews they are very vague or worse yet, state things that are so wrong I know they never even read the work.
"Everybody Pays", my god. I have no idea how Andrew Vachss manages to write such wonderous stories so swiftly and still do all his child advocacy work. I am astounded. He has once again proven he is a master of written word.
"Proving It" is by far one of the most moving stories I have ever read. It could be considered a romance by some, but I think it has so much more depth than that. Anyone can say they love, but does that prove it?
I can't put in a category except to say that it was so powerful and Mr. Vachss captured the feeling so well that I was immediately swept up into the story, and when it was over... I sat and thought for a long time and had to read it again.
I do that with a lot of Andrew Vachss' stories. They aren't mindless pulp like so many of the books out there today. They deal with REAL feelings and REAL emotions and cause the reader to feel as they follow the characters, and most importantly to THINK about the tale when it is over. There is no greater compliment I can pass on to an author than to say his work captivated me completely and caused me think on each story, afterwards.
Mr. Vachss' work is such that friends and I can discuss it time after time and always feel we have come away with something more. I see enough mini reviews of the stories here already I wont rehash each one for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hardcore for the hardboiled Aug. 28 1999
By A Customer
EVERYBODY PAYS is the perfect starting point for fans of true crime, action, thrilling suspense filled drama, romance, and the honor driven double cross. If you have not yet heard of or read Andrew Vachss' work, EVERYBODY PAYS is the place to start. VACHSS' writing grabs you like Joe Pesci in CASINO shoving your head into a vice grip. EVERYBODY PAYS is a collection of razor-wired short stories. The hardest, coldest crime you've ever been exposed to anywhere. It will chill you, like Edward Norton in AMERICAN HISTORY X as he coldly stomps on a rivals neck. Yet VACHSS' writing can also move you like DeNiro in HEAT as he walks away from his one true love. No one touches VACHSS' stripped down, hit and run style of writing. He spins the absolute brutal best in reading entertainment. Take that first step and you find yourself falling into sheer hard poetry of language that is VACHSS' unique talent to possess and share with us.
EVERYBODY PAYS has the perfect mix, from PROVING IT, VACHSS' best love story since SHELLA; to gut-wrenching tragedy by evil done to innocence as found in DRESS UP DAY; to a voyage for truth in SEARCHER. For you first time readers, I couldn't be more jealous at your fortune of having just discovered VACHSS and having all those wonderful novels and stories ahead of you. Let yourself fall into this collection of short stories, indulge. As for the rest of us, VACHSS addicts, we'll greedily read this new collection the minute we get home with our copies.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rips the nerves wide open
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... Read more
Published on May 3 2001 by Keris
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven and not as good as "Born Bad"
I'm a huge Andrew Vachss fan and I loved his first collection of short stories entitled "Born Bad. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2001 by Brian D. Rubendall
5.0 out of 5 stars storytelling beyond compare
These stories are so simply told and so deeply empathetic that Mr. Vachss seems to speak straight into your heart. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2000 by terri nolan
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Collection
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. Read more
Published on April 18 2000 by brx
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book!
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... Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2000 by Stew J. Weldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Knife silvered with lethal butter
There is not too much I wish to say except these stories take the tradion of the short story to a new height, then depth. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A short, sharp blade
Andrew Vachss is a decent novelist. Decent meaning that for his books, it is the content that draws the reader in and makes you hang on. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 1999
Everybody Pays is exactly the kind of book you wish your best pal would get you before everyone else starts buzzing. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars EVERYBODY PAYS Proves Vachss' Storytelling Powers
This new short story collection offers a wonderful counterpoint to Vachss' novels, which chronicle the life of his on-the-edge PI character, Burke. Read more
Published on Sept. 16 1999
Andrew Vachss' shorter works are absolute gems: compact and perfectly formed. They are variously chilling, or romantic, or warm with tender humor, but each one packs a... Read more
Published on Sept. 16 1999
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