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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.From the Trade Paperback edition.read more
I know, I always say I will never read another Vachss book and then I always do. His endings always infuriate me. All that tension, all that tight writing, all that intense noir and it ends with a big bang of nothing. I hate it and yet I keep reading.But this time, I am so happy to say, Vachss gets almost everything right. The stories sickening, upsetting, morally depraved and just plain nasty, and every one of them has a decent ending, the sort of ending that means you don't regret having read it.This is an excellent collection that mines all the veins Vachss is so famous for, and in a collection of 46 stories, only two or three are clunkers. That's a pretty good ratio, if you ask me.Never mind this borderline giddy reaction - I'm just glad that my decision to keep reading Vachss has finally been vindicated.Also less Asian fetishization. So there's that.read more
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Hard, dark, and raw, this collection of 40 short stories and a play provides ample material for Vachss fans. Unfortunately, the quality varies greatly, ranging from the author's earliest, sometimes sophomoric writings to his more current, professionally crafted stories. None of it is light reading. His writing is always on fast forward, curt, terse but it is sometimes blinded by compassion for the victim--most often children who have been sexually, physically or mentally abused (``Watched the little girl testify in court, her tiny hand clutching the magic stone. The defense attorney hammered away at her, like a sweating, fat pig, boring for truffles. But she stuck it out--he couldn't change the truth. I was proud of her.''). This passion, understandable though it is, sometimes overwhelms his craft. Revenge is the justice of choice because, in Vachss's world, the legal system is inept, unfair and unworkable. Vachss has a flair for unique twists in the final story lines that will leave readers twisting in their seats as well. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved