Born Bad

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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.
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About the author

Andrew Vachss, an attorney in private practice specializing in juvenile justice and child abuse, is the country’s best recognized and most widely sought after spokesperson on crimes against children. He is also a bestselling novelist and short story writer, whose works include Flood (1985), the novel which first introduced Vachss’ series character Burke, Strega (1987), Choice of Evil (1999), and Dead and Gone (2000). His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Playboy, and The Observer, and he is a contributor to ABA Journal, Journal of Psychohistory, New England Law Review, The New York Times, and Parade.

Vachss has worked as a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a caseworker in New York, and a professional organizer. He was the director of an urban migrants re-entry center in Chicago and another for ex-cons in Boston. After managing a maximum-security prison for violent juvenile offenders, he published his first book, a textbook, about the experience. He was also deeply involved in the relief effort in Biafra, now Nigeria.

For ten years, Vachss’ law practice combined criminal defense with child protection, until, with the success of his novels, it segued exclusively into the latter, which is his passion. Vachss calls the child protective movement “a war,” and considers his writing as powerful a weapon as his litigation.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
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Published on
Sep 25, 2001
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780375719097
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •  Lee Child returns with a gripping new powerhouse thriller featuring Jack Reacher, “one of this century’s most original, tantalizing pop-fiction heroes” (The Washington Post).

BONUS: Includes a sneak peek of Lee Child’s new novel, Past Tense.

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.

The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.

Praise for The Midnight Line
 
“Puts Reacher just where we want him.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A gem.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“A timely, suspenseful, morally complex thriller, one of the best I’ve read this year . . . Child weaves in a passionately told history of opioids in American life. . . . Child’s outrage over it is only just barely contained.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“A perfect example of Lee Child’s talent . . . Lee Child is the master of plotting. . . . This is Child’s most emotional book to date. . . . This is not just a good story; it is a story with a purpose and a message.”—Huffington Post
 
“I just read the new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. . . . It is as good as they always are. I read every single one.”—Malcolm Gladwell
Andrew Vachss's Burke is one of the most cold-blooded yet strangely honorable protagonists 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 the defenseless. In these three thrillers, Vachss gives us a series of stories 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.
 
This bundle includes the following titles:
 
FLOOD: The renegade “investigator” Burke teams up with a lethally gifted avenger to follow a baby’s murderer through the foul 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.
 
STREGA: The urban mercenary has a new client, a deadly and sultry woman who calls herself “Strega.” She wants Burke to find a kiddie porn Polaroid, and she’s prepared to pay whatever that might cost. The search will take Burke back into the fetid river that flows just beneath the city: its currents are flesh and money, the anguish of children, and the pleasure of twisted adults. It is a river Burke can navigate only at the risk of unleashing the rage that is never far beneath his icy surface. But considering who actually hired him, refusing the job isn't an option. 

BLUE BELLE: Burke is given a purse full of dirty money to find the infamous Ghost Van that is cutting a lethal swath among teenage prostitutes who work the night streets. During the track-down job, he finds a stripper named Belle, whose moves on the runway are outclassed only by her skills as a getaway driver. But not even Burke is prepared for the evil that powers the Ghost Van, or for the sheer menace of its guardian, a skeletal martial artist who wants to add Max the Silent to his long lost of underground fight kills.
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 Hardcover edition.
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