The idyllic facade of a small coastal tourist magnet hides its secrets well. But when the shining star pitcher of the girls' softball team guns down the most popular boy in school, the shockwaves reverberate far beyond the school's walls. In the wake of the killing, two of the town's newer residents turn over deeply embedded rocks, exposing a subculture of almost unimaginable horror lurking beneath. Formerly a nurse with Médecins Sans Frontières, Dolly has become a defender and confidante to dozens of local teenage girls, and she refuses to accept that MaryLou ("Mighty Mary") McCoy's gunning down Cameron Taft in a high school hallway is a typical school shooting. Although MaryLou's guilt is not in doubt--it's even captured on the school's security camera--the girl insists on a trial . . . but inexplicably refuses to cooperate with her own defense. Enlisting her troupe of teenagers and the local contacts she has cemented, Dolly calls on all of her resources to get to the truth . . . and to whatever secret MaryLou is guarding. When Dolly's husband, Dell, sees his beloved wife begin her quest, he immediately signs on. A former mercenary and ex-Legionnaire, Dell treats this "job" as he would any other--with no boundaries. His entire arsenal is put into play: guile, extortion, tracking devices, shadow networks, and, finally, an act of terrorism that blows the cover off the soul-killing rite of passage demanded of the town's most vulnerable girls. Dell's discovery of MaryLou's true motive and the community's shocking failure to protect its children culminates in a decision to put the town itself on trial. The explosive verdict blows away the facade . . . and forces the village to stand in judgment of itself. The aftershocks keep coming until the foundation itself fractures, leaving cracks too deep to patch ever again.
From the author of the acclaimed Burke series: a searing new novel that follows a band of homeless outcasts on a journey to recover what each has lost. Ho was a revered sensei, but when his dismissive arrogance caused the death of a beloved student, he renounced not only his possessions but also his role as master, and now roams the streets in search of a way to atone. Drawn by his presence, a group forms around him: Michael, an addicted gambler who has lost everything, including himself; Ranger, a Vietnam veteran with a tenuous grip on reality; Lamont, a once-fearless street-gang warlord turned hopeless alcoholic; Target, a relentless "clanger" who speaks only by echoing the sounds of others; and Brewster, an obsessive collector of hardboiled paperbacks he stashes in an abandoned building that even vermin avoid. Late one night, Michael spots a woman in a white Rolls-Royce throwing something into the river. Convinced that the woman is a perfect blackmail target, he attempts to recruit the others to search for her. But news that Brewster's library is slated for demolition turns this halfhearted effort into a serious mission to find the ultimate problem-solver: money, and with it a new home for Brewster's precious collection. Each frantic knock opens another barred door as the building's destruction draws nearer. And the answers to each man's questions trigger shocking explosions that hit you with all the visceral power we have come to expect from this fierce and dynamic writer.
TO: UNIT 3 ChicagoFROM: DIRECTORIMPORTANCE: Critical SUBJECT: Specimen Retrieval TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID'ed via signature kills worldwide. Identifiable only by skull-spine removal from victims. No witnesses, no forensics, no particular race targeted. On rare occasions, scraps of what appear to be playing cards found at murder sites. OBJECTIVE: Locate and capture any member of such teams. MUST be taken alive for study and observation. AUTHORIZATION APPROVED FOR USE OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR: Individual ID'ed only as "Cross" and his team. A pure mercenary outfit, well known throughout criminal underworld--no inside informants available. Ruthless, undeterred by risk, rumored never to fail, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to be trusted. No known political or social objective, but has proven treacherous when retained by government in the past. UPDATE: Cross and his team claim to have identified a pattern to the signature-kills, and believe they can predict a forthcoming strike. They are prepared to personally confront-and-capture, but financial arrangement alone not sufficient. What you describe as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card is hereby APPROVED.
In the figure of Burke, Andrew Vachss has given contemporary crime fiction one of its most mesmerizing characters. An abused child raised in orphanages, foster homes, and prisons, Burke is a career criminal and outlaw who steals and scams for a living. But he draws the line at the psychopaths and predators who stalk children. Sometimes he draws that line in blood. In Blossom, an old cellmate has summoned Burke to a fading Indiana mill town, where a young boy is charged with a crime he didn't commit and a twisted serial sniper has turned a local lover's lane into a killing field. And it's here that Burke meets Blossom, the brilliant, beautiful young woman who has her own reasons for finding the murderer-and her own idea of vengeance. Dense with atmosphere, savagely convincing, this is Vachss at his uncompromising best.
Burke is one of the most cold-blooded yet strangely honorable heroes in the history of crime fiction, an outlaw who makes his living by preying on the most vicious of New York City's bottom-feeders, those who thrive on the suffering of children. In Andrew Vachss's tautly engrossing novel Burke is given a purse full of dirty money to fnd the infamous Ghost Van that is cutting a lethal swath among the teenage prostitutes in the hood. He also gets help in the form of a stripper named Belle, whose moves on the runway are outclassed only by what she can do in a getaway car. But not even Burke is prepared for the evil that is behind the Ghost Van or for the sheer menace of its guardian, a cadaverous karate expert who enjoys killing so much that he has named himself after death. "A book so ferocious, with characters so venal and actions so breakneck, that you dare not get in the way . . . . First rate. " -- Chicago Tribune
Before Burke, before Cross, Andrew Vachss created Wesley: a ruthless assassin who would stop at nothing to take out his targets. A BombBuilt in Hell is Wesley's story. While doing extended time for killing a fellow prisoner, Wesley meets Carmine Trentoni in a New York state prison. Carmine's life sentence hasn't cut him off from his outside sources, and he sees great potential in Wesley to carry out his revenge, and carry on his lucrative business. Wesley emerges from prison prepared to be the perfect hitman: calculating, deadly, and driven by money. On his release from prison, Wesley follows Carmine's directions to locate a Mr. Petraglia--the Q to his working-class James Bond. Pet and Wesley set up shop in Brooklyn, and execute their assignments, from a rising Chinatown mobster to a visiting Haitian dignitary, with finesse--and, occasionally, more explosives than are strictly called for. But Wesley isn't satisfied with his low-profile lot, and sets out to make a mark on the city that everyone will notice--which he does, in a shocking, dynamite conclusion.
From a writer whose novels have been acclaimed for their unflinching exploration of evil comes a brilliant collection of short stories--some never before published--that distill dread back down to its essence--and inject it straight into the reader's back brain. Andrew Vachss might have scissored his characters from today's headlines: a stalker prowling around an anonymous high-rise; a serial killer whose transgressions reflect a childhood of hideous abuse; an inner-city gunman who is willing to take out a blockful of victims in order to win a moment of acceptance. Tautly written and endowed with murderous ironic spin, Born Bad plunges us into the hell that lies just outside our bedroom windows. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
A rally in Central Park, a protest against gaybashing. A murderous drive-by. Five people down, two dead. One of them Crystal Beth, girlfriend of Burke, the most haunted and darkly talented man-for-hire in the city. First the gay-bashers celebrate . . . then they start dropping. Claiming responsibility is the mysterious "Homo Erectus," whose identity is as unknown as his mission is clear. Burke is unsurprised when the cops pull him in for questioning--"I was born a suspect. " But he is now also homeless and homicidal, a gun without a target, unable to find the shooters who killed his last chance at love, and drifting near the brink of the ultimate despair he calls the Zero. Most citizens see Homo Erectus as a serial killer with a political agenda. But to some, he's become a hero. Like the police, they desperately want to find him. But unlike the police, they want to help him disappear before the dragnet tightens. They hire Burke for the job. Which is when things really get ugly. For as Burke tracks the killer, he stumbles across the unmistakable footprints of the man who was the city's most feared assassin before his own death--an ice-cold murder machine whose very name still inspires terror in the city's underground. The whisper-stream is divided in its verdict: either Wesley never really died . . . or he's found a way to come back. InChoice of Evil, Burke strays closer to the edge than he ever has before, and closer to the most twisted workings of the human heart and mind. It is also Andrew Vachss's most haunting and frightening novel to date.
Bone-crushing impact, set in a milieu that clogs your lungs and stings your eyes, Down Here is the penetrating and remarkable new thriller from the master of American noir. For many years, Burke has carried a torch for Wolfe, the beautiful, driven former sex crimes prosecutor who was fired for refusing to "go along to get along." They share a marrow-deep hatred of predators but walk different sides of the street when it comes to justice. So when Burke hears that Wolfe has been arrested for attempted murder, he knows something is double-wrong and deals himself in. Putting together a distrustful alliance between his "family of choice," Wolfe's outlaw network, and an informant inside the police department, Burke starts with the alleged victim, a brutal serial rapist Wolfe had personally prosecuted. He's back on the street because his conviction was reversed, and any of his long list of victims has plenty of motive to kill him. The deeper Burke gets into the investigation, the more holes he finds in the case against Wolfe. Yet the DA's office continues to press forward, and Burke has to find out what their game is. No stranger to devil's bargains, Burke reopens the rape investigations--his way--and discovers an artist whose violent work in progress is a whole city's nightmare.
Andrew Vachss has reinvented detective fiction for an age in which guilty secrets are obsolete and murder isn't even worth a news headline. And in the person of his haunted, hell-ridden private eye Burke, Vachss has given us a new kind of hero: a man inured to every evil except the kind that preys on children. Now Burke is back, investigating an epidemic of apparent suicides among the teenagers of a wealthy Connecticut suburb. There he discovers a sinister connection between the anguish of the young and the activities of an elite sadomasochistic underground, for whom pain and its accompanying rituals are a source of pleasure and power. "[Vachss's] short sharp sentences crackle with energy; his plots are satisfyingly elaborate; the narratives are beautifully paced, and the characters ... are always pungently individual." - Chicago Sun-Times. "The characters and events are as sharply defined as if they were etched in steel. The prose is short and choppy, like the ticking of a time bomb about to explode." - Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
"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 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. "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 From the Trade Paperback edition.
Burke, ex-con, mercenary, and rumored hit man, makes his living by preying on New York's most vicious predators and occasionally avenging their innocent victims. But in Andrew Vachss's mercilessly suspenseful new novel, Burke ﬁnds himself working the other side of the street, where guilt and innocence are as disposable as the sheets in a Times Square hotel . . . and as dirty. Burke's new employer is Kite, a fanatical crusader who specializes in debunking "false allegations" of child sexual abuse. Kite has a case that may be the real thing, but needs Burke to tell him if it is. And if mere money can't persuade Burke to cooperate, Kite has plenty of other incentives at his disposal, including an over-zealous bodyguard with a taste for corsets and brass knuckles. A tour guide to hell written in icy prose, False Allegations is Vachss at his most unnerving. "Burke is the toughest talking ﬁrst-person narrator since Mike Hammer. " - Los Angeles Times "Vachss . . . writes hypnotically violent prose. " - Chicago Sun-Times
Burke's newest client is a woman named Flood, who has the face of an angel, the body of a high-priced stripper, and the skills of a professional executioner. She wants Burke to find a monster for her -- so she can kill him with her bare hands. In this cauterizing thriller, Andrew Vachss's renegade private eye teams up with a lethally gifted avenger to follow a child's murderer through the catacombs of New York, where every alley is blind and the penthouses are as dangerous as the basements. Fearfully knowing, crackling with narrative tension, and written in prose as forceful as a hollow-point slug, Flood is Burke at his deadliest -- and Vachss at the peak of his form. "An extraordinary thriller. . . . Vachss never flinches from the horror. " -- Washington Post Book World"Burke would eat Spade and Marlowe for breakfast, not even spitting out the bones. [He] is one tough, mean, pray-God-you-don't-meet-him hombre. " -- Boston Herald
"Burke has returned to the streets of New York City - territory he knows so well and hates so deeply. " "Two rogue cops - one male, one female - are stalking each other, and all of Burke's survival skills are not enough to keep him out of the cross fire. She seems to want Burke to help an innocent man get out of prison. He seems to want to make Burke a suspect in a series of murders possibly connected to the rape-murder her prisoner is serving time for. None of it adds up. Burke can't fit any logic around the situation, but it feels "treacherous bad. " He's got to figure it out before he can get out of it - and by that time it might be too late. "--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Eddie starts stealing cars long before he's old enough to get a license, driven by a force so compelling that he never questions, just obeys. After a series of false starts, interrupted by stays in juvenile institutions and a state prison term, Eddie's skills and loyalty attract the attention of J.C., a near-legendary hijacker. When he gets out, Eddie becomes the driver for J.C.'s ultra-professional crew. J.C., the master planner, is finally ready to pull off that one huge job every con dreams of ... the Retirement Score. But some roads have twists even a professional getaway man couldn't foresee ...Andrew Vachss, a writer widely acclaimed for breathing new life and death into the crime genre, here presents a classic noir tale, relentlessly displaying and dissecting not guilt, but innocence.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the author of the acclaimed Burke series comes a sharply affecting new novel about a group of outcasts who undertake a "mission" to save a schizophrenic's hidden treasure. When his most beloved student dies as a result of what he believes to be his misguidance, Ho renounces his position as a revered sensei, abandons his dojo and all of his possessions, and embarks on a journey of atonement on the streets of New York City. Here a group of homeless men gather around him: Michael, a gambler who lost it all; Ranger, a psychotic Vietnam veteran; Lamont, an ex-con, poet, and alcoholic in that order; Target, a compulsive "clanger"; and Brewster, the keeper of a secret library in an abandoned inveterate building on the waterfront. When news hits that the building is slated for demolition, the group must subsume each individual's demons into one shared goal: save Brewster's library, at all costs.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this mercilessly compelling thriller, Burke--the private eye, sting artist, and occasional hit man who metes out a cruelly ingenious vengeance on those who victimize children--is up against a soft-spoken messiah who may be rescuing runaways or recruiting them for his own hideous purposes. But in doing so Burke becomes a target for an entire Mafia family, a whore with a heart of cyanide, and a contract killer as implacable as a heart-seeking missile. Written with Vachss' signature narrative overdrive--and with his unnerving familiarity with the sub-basement of American crime--Hard Candy is vintage Burke.
They meet in a no-name diner. A shadowy man hands Burke a CD dossier of someone he wants found. Minutes later, as Burke watches from an alley, his client is gunned down by a professional hunter-killer team. Burke slips away, unsure if he's been spotted.
A VINTAGE CRIME/BLACK LIZARD ORIGINALA hit man stalks his mark at a race track. A sociopath crosses every moral boundary to become a published author. An ex-mercenary obsessively defends his "perimeter" from a dangerous interloper. A man for hire grudgingly accepts help from a teenage girl to track an online predator. In a dystopian future, young people struggle for survival underground, forming themselves into vicious gangs with only the graffiti of the "last journalists" accepted as truth. Andrew Vachss collects twenty tight, powerful stories--all from the past decade of his career, including some now published for the first time--along with an original screenplay. Together, they form Mortal Lock, a searing portrait of the criminal underworld, with both its depravity and humanity on display.
After years on the run, Burke is desperate to return to his native New York, the only way he can reconnect with his outlaw "family." But to survive in their part of the City, where reputation is everything, Burke must take major risks to reestablish his presence. So when a Mafia man contacts him about the murder-as-message of his sixteen-year-old daughter--the offspring of what he calls an "outside the tribe" affair that he must keep secret at all costs--Burke's depleted bankroll persuades him to step out of the shadows and do something he hasn't done in years ... actually investigate a crime. Burke needs cover to penetrate the teenage subculture of the Long Island town where the girl lived and died, so he puts together a crew of gifted role-players, including a pair of lesbian "power exchangers" who market their special brand of sex on the Internet. When Burke himself surfaces as a casting director, seeking tomorrow's stars for a movie to be shot on location, the investigation quickly spins off into uncharted depths. What he discovers is a new kind of filmmaking, a new kind of violence, and a predator unlike any he's ever known. When they meet head-on over a brutal work of cinéma vérité, only one of them will survive the final cut.
Andrew Vachss's previous novel, Dead and Gone, prompted the Rocky Mountain News to say, "Starting a Vachss novel is like putting a vial of nitroglycerine into your pocket and going for a jog." With his latest thriller, Vachss turns the heat up a notch by dropping his career criminal and ultimate urban survivalist, Burke, in the middle of some of the most dangerously determined humans he has ever faced.
What - or who - could turn a gifted little boy into a murderous thing that calls itself "Satan's Child"? In search of an answer, a man named Burke travels from a festering welfare hotel to a neat frame house where a voodoo priestess presides over a congregation of assassins. For this vigilante and unlicensed private eye has made it his business to defend the small victims whom the law has failed - even a child who has been made into a killer. Gripping and chillingly knowledgeable about the mechanisms of evil, Sacrifice is a thriller of savage authority from one of the best crime writers of our generation. "Vachss is a contemporary master. . . . Decidedly hard-boiled, his prose is as lean, tough-edged and brittle as the man who is his protagonist. " - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution "A harrowing tale in which outcasts are the moral heroes, and the people who belong to civilization are corrupt. . . . An absolute original. . . . Andrew Vachss has become a cult favorite, and for good reason. " - Cosmopolitan
The new novel from Andrew Vachss puts Burke 'hard-core career criminal and man-for-hire' up against a new breed of predator: stalkers. Some obsessed, some deranged, all dangerous. Burke's old prison pal Hercules, hired by a shadowy network that runs a safehouse for stalking victims, botched the job, and one of the stalkers is dead. To save his partner, Burke has to penetrate the network, and he makes a deal with the boss, Crystal Beth, a woman as obsessed as the stalkers. But Crystal Beth has a stalker of her own, an extortionist who threatens to bring down her entire network unless she surrenders one of the women she's hiding. When Burke learns that the extortionist might be government-issue, and that the stalker he's protecting is a member of a neo-Nazi cell with plans to make Oklahoma City look like a pipe bomb, his survivalist instincts go on full alert ("When there's too many loose threads, somebody always weaves them into a noose"). And when it comes down to making his own house and his family-of-choice safe, Burke turns lethal. With blistering power, Safe House reminds us why Kirkus has called Burke "one of the most fascinating male characters in crime fiction. " From the Hardcover edition.
From the author of the acclaimed Burke private-eye series comes an ambitious and chilling novel that shows us not only what evil is, but where it comes from. For Shella is nothing less than a tour of evil's spawning ground, conducted by one of its natural predators.He is called "Ghost" because he is so nondescript as to be invisible and because he slays with such reflexive ease that he might be one of the dead. Once he traveled with a woman who was called "Shella" -- because those who had treated her as a horrendously ill-used child had tried to make her come out of her shell. Now Shella has vanished in a wilderness of strip clubs and peep shows, and Ghost is looking for her, guided by a killer's instinct and the recognition that can only exist between two people who have been damaged past the point of no return. The result is Andrew Vachss's most compelling work to date, the thriller reimagined as a bleak romance of the damned.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Andrew Vachss's implacable private eye has a new client, Strega. She wants Burke to ﬁnd an obscene photograph and that search will take him into the ocean that ﬂows just beneath the city, an ocean whose currents are ﬂesh and money, the anguish of children and the pleasure of twisted adults. It is a place that Burke can visit only at the risk of his sanity and his life. But between the power of Strega and his own sense of justice, there is no turning back. In Strega one of our most acclaimed crime writers gives us a thriller that might have been imagined by Dante. For this is a tour of hell with no stops left out, conducted by a novelist who writes with the authority of the damned. "It's wonderful. The words leap off the page. The plot is fresh. The principal character is original. The style is as clean as a haiku. " - The Washington Post Book World
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