Andrew Vachss, the master of hard-boiled fiction, returns with a deeply revealing new novel about an assassin whose love forced him to kill his own conscience.
Esau Till’s race is almost run. After pleading guilty to a series of homicides, he sits on death row, awaiting lethal injection. And writing his life story. But his memoir is no case study in tragedy—it’s his one last chance to protect his brother, Tory, after he’s gone. And, as too many have learned, when it comes to protecting his baby brother, Esau Till is a man without boundaries.
Esau’s father was a widely feared beast who, it was commonly believed, killed his wife and used his own daughter as a substitute. In Esau’s own words, when your sister is your mother, too, you know you’re not going to come out right. Not you, not your life, not nothing.
When the genetic cards were dealt, Esau drew a genius IQ but a horribly crippled body. His brother Tory drew a “slow” mind but almost superhuman strength. Very early on, Esau learned that the only way to guarantee his baby brother’s safety was to make himself indispensable to certain people. A self-taught explosives expert, he became the top assassin for two rival local mobs. When a third mob attempted to recruit his brother, Esau took them all out, unaware that one of them was an under-cover FBI agent.
Execution looms, but no prison can hold Esau’s mind. Or his love. As the State prepares to take his life, Esau plots going all-in on the last and most deadly hand he will ever play.