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Mortal Lock (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original) Paperback – May 7, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307950832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307950833
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 "A collection of white-hot short stories.... The baddest noir stylist of them all digs into his archives from the past 15 years and comes up with 20 visits to hell." --Kirkus Reviews


“Vachss’s reverence for storytelling is evident in the blunt beauty of his language.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“Vachss is a contemporary master. . . Decidedly hard-boiled, his prose is lean, tough-edged, and brittle.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“To read Andrews Vachss at his best is to take a ride on the dark side, where the plight of the oppressed and vulnerable . . . becomes the catalyst for revenge-fueled street justice.” —Los  Angeles Times

“Many writers try to cover the same ground as Vachss. A handful are as good. None are better.” —People
 
“Vachss’s stories . . . burn with righteous rage and transfer a degree of that rage to the reader.” —The Washington Post Book World
 
“Writing in a style so sleekly engineered that it purrs when you pop the hood, Vachss gives us such a smooth ride that it’s easy to forget someone is driving this thing.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Vachss is red-hot and as serious as a punctured lung.” —Playboy

About the Author

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social services caseworker, and a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for youthful offenders. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youths exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, three collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty languages and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, the New York Times, and numerous other forums. A native New Yorker, he now divides his time between the city of his birth and the Pacific Northwest.

The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is vachss.com.

More About the Author

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for "aggressive-violent" youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, three collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, essays, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, The New York Times, and many other forums. His books have been awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére, the Falcon Award, Deutschen Krimi Preis, Die Jury des Bochumer Krimi Archivs and the Raymond Chandler Award (per Giurìa a Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy). Andrew Vachss' latest books are Mortal Lock (Vintage, May 2013) and Aftershock (Pantheon, June 2013). The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is vachss.com.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
Cannot wait for the new Cross novel next month!
niittymaki
This author is known for his un-deviating, straight-shooting, portrayals of often subtly-twisted characters and stories.
carl brookins
Reading a new collection of Vachss short stories is always great.
Kortick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Mackela on May 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
I had been meaning to read one of the many novels by Andrew Vachss but somehow never got around to actually picking one up. When I saw that this book of his short stories was going to be published in May, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to sample Mr. Vachss' work. This was an excellent plan. In this collection of short stories, Mr. Vachss gives us a selection of tightly written glimpses into the inner workings of a very original thinker. There are 20 stories varying from just over one page to a screenplay that consumes the final third of the book. The shorter works are a timeless mix of contempory thought pieces, while the screenplay is a post apocalyptic story dealing with abuse in many forms. The writing is very focused and concise, the ideas strong and intense.
I give this book 4 Stars out of 5 and A Thumbs Up. The only thing that prevents me from giving 5 Stars is the screenplay. It takes up too much of the book and is a more difficult type of read for many people. You could skip it, but then you would be missing another insight into the workings of Mr. Vachss' mind.
This is an excellent introduction to Mr. Vachss' writing and will intice me to read more by this fine author.
I received this Digital Review Copy for free from Edelweiss.com.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rose Dawn Scott on May 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's been a while since Andrew Vachss' last collection of short stories was published, so this book was a real treat for me. I've always loved Vachss' short fiction. Sometimes it's short indeed: MORTAL LOCK contains a couple pieces that run a page or two total (give or take a couple paragraphs). Not only are they complete within themselves, they resonate. Took me less than a minute to read "Sure Thing," front to back -- then I spent another ten minutes thinking about what I'd just read. *Feeling* it. Vachss' stories always leave an aftertaste, sometimes unpleasant (that's when the reader, hopefully, takes some ACTION -- rinse and spit, right?). Occasionally (as with, for me, "Blood Orchid") the aftertaste is unexpectedly sweet.

There's, as has been noted, a complete screenplay for the "Underground" series, tying the shared world together and expanding its vision. When reading a screenplay, I've found it helpful to keep a mental picture going -- we're not just reading about a guy walking through a door, we're "seeing" him walk through the door. We don't read the words he speaks on a page; we listen to them in our heads. Not sure it works that way for everyone, but it kept me inside the action! :-)

"Ghostwriter" was a definite fave for me -- I do like it when Vachss takes on the kind of sociopath who lives up here, with the rest of "us" rather than sticking to the shadows! And "Pig" reminded me of my old neighborhood, and the folks who lived there. A sad story, wrapped tight around a sad, nostalgic smile.

"Veil's Visit," is, as has been noted, a collaboration with author Joe Lansdale, and features his characters Hap and Leonard. I'd heard of the characters before, but this story was my intro to them, and made me want to seek out more.

It really was a treat for me to read this book. If you like AV's writing, you'll love these stories. A wonderful collection!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dorathea on June 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After years of writing the wonderful and disturbing "Burke" novels (along with other good works of fiction), Burke has been retired. This does not mean that Vachss isn't still exploring the underbelly of humanity and finding good and evil living side by side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wayne d. dundee on May 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
This collection of 20 short stories and one original screenplay proves two things:
One, nobody writes tight, tough, powerful crime fiction any better than Andrew Vachss; and Two, despite the core purpose of his writing having always been to serve as a vehicle for carrying the message and truths of his central life's works -- i.e. to protect our society's young and vulnerable by impacting laws and perceptions and shedding light on the predators who prey upon these victims, thereby perpetuating a cycle of violence by "creating our own monsters" -- Andrew's skill as a pure writer and stylist, always being honed and expanded and experimented with, has never been on better display.

For starters, the sheer range of stories, as far as the span of settings, plots, and characterizations that they incorporate, are imaginative and impressive. One story ("Postwar Boom") reaches into the noirish past; another ("Underground") looks ahead into a grim future. The distinctive voices incorporated into the individual narratives as well as the different characters are spot-on and indicative of a writer always reaching, always stretching, never settling for a "comfort zone".
True, a number of the stories have urban jungle backdrops that Vachss is probably most closely associated with. But others are dark slices of suburbia, science fiction/horror, mysticism, and betrayal and sacrifice found in remote villages far removed from any steel and concrete urban sprawl. Vachss's popular Cross character is featured in one of the stories, "Profile"; and the character Veil is teamed with Joe Lansdale's rowdy Texans, Hap and Leonard, in the raucously entertaining "Veil's Visit".
The final and lengthiest entry in the collection is the aforementioned original screenplay, "Underground".
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