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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.
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 LukowskySee all Product Description
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 morePublished on May 3 2001 by Keris
I'm a huge Andrew Vachss fan and I loved his first collection of short stories entitled "Born Bad. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2001 by Brian D. Rubendall
These stories are so simply told and so deeply empathetic that Mr. Vachss seems to speak straight into your heart. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2000 by terri nolan
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 morePublished on April 18 2000 by bob
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 morePublished on Jan. 4 2000 by Stew J. Weldon
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 morePublished on Nov. 7 1999
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 morePublished 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 morePublished on Sept. 20 1999
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 morePublished on Sept. 16 1999