In this collection of short fiction, Vachss' prose reminds us that evil is real, as tangible as a lethal insect crawling in our direction. The situations are as close to home as fiction can get -- protecting one's self from a vicious rumor and accidentally killing the teller in the frenzy; murdering pedophiles in exchange for getting one last shot at the thug who ravaged a family member -- and show that every single person alive is in some way, shape, or form touched and tormented by crime.
The book is divided into three sections: basic stories, tales of symbolism mixed with substance from the Underground Series, and stories and one novella featuring Vachss' soldier of fortune, Cross. The first section arguable carries the greatest weight of the collection as the author weaves passioniately dramatic tales of revenge with as few words as is humanly possible with dazzling effectiveness. While the Underground stories do leave some readers with little more than a sense of bewilderment, Vachss manages to leave even the casual reader wanting more. The Cross series presents a troupe of right-minded 'mercs' doing more for the cause of justice than perhaps most uniformed men and women do every day. Also, the Cross characters are so vividly drawn it would be terrific to see this team of avengers brought to the cinema screen.
While the characters and situations presented here may not be to everyone's taste, Vachss deftly shows us how widespread evil is in the modern world. He reminds us that, just as vile desires have created a sex slave state that exists around the globe, it's also touched casual souls on quite possibly every street in the United States. He drives his point home -- everybody pays -- with amazing weight in these brief tales that it'd be hard for any reader to resist the temptation for soul-searching his own past for the price already paid.
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What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more
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