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Aftershock: A Thriller Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 11, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Aftershock Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a small Oregon town, MaryLou, the star pitcher for the high-school girls’ softball team, brings a pistol to school, kills one boy, wounds two others, and surrenders herself. It seems like an open-and-shut case, but MaryLou has two formidable defenders: Dell, a former mercenary with his own concept of justice, and his wife, Dolly. Rallying around MaryLou, they uncover a pervasive culture of evil that has operated without resistance owing to an incompetent and timid justice establishment. Dell enlists a group of experts who are able to turn the prosecutor’s slam-dunk case on its head, even as Dell plots his own street justice against a culture of evil entitlement. Vachss, best known for the very dark Burke series of urban crime and retribution, seems to be embarking on a new series with Dell and Dolly. As in all of his work, Vachss explores the horrific intersection of victims and victimizers, evil and avengers. The setting has moved from urban to small town, but the eternal conflict is as it ever was. As always, Vachss is disquieting but engrossing. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

"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

"Andrew Vachss impresses again with his new, dark and compelling thriller.” —Largehearted Boy.com
 
“Razor-edged and compulsively readable, the pages fly by.” —Library Journal
 
The closing courtroom scenes serve as a powerful reminder that the practice of law is at heart a blood sport. . . . Vachss’s followers will devour it and will keep watch for Dell and Dolly’s return.” —Kirkus Reviews

“As in all his works, Vachss explores the horrific intersection of victims and victimizers, evil and avengers. The setting has moved from urban to small town, but the eternal conflict is as it ever was. As always, Vachss is disquieting but engrossing.” —Booklist
 
“Prolific author Vachss introduces Dell, a graduate of the French Foreign Legion, in this compelling first in a new thriller series. . . . Readers will stick with the story, and the series, because the steadfast, relentless Dell . . . commands attention.” —Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition first Printing edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307907740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307907745
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Vachss' stories are well-plotted and character driven -- unfortunately, they're almost always the same characters, with similar backstories and physical characteristics. "Dolly" is virtually identical to every female lead in every novel Vachss has written, and "Dell" is Burke without the birth identity crisis. I kept waiting for a mention of Dolly's "chubby little hands"; fortunately, we were spared that classic Vachss cliche.
Careless detail editing makes me wonder if Vachss wrote with another author who simply didn't check his or her facts. Taking a gun off a prison guard, which Dell suggested, is just about impossible. The only prison guards carrying guns of any kind are on the guard towers and never come in contact with prisoners or visitors when armed. Yet more petty complaints: I'm not sure how coastal Oregon got to be 1300 miles from Tucson; why interesting dialog relating to the story was presented in French without English translations; or that the murdered bodies of three local poachers left with what sounded like big honkin' green anarchist symbols painted on 'em didn't rate a serious law enforcement investigation. These issues reinforce the suggestion of "superhero to the rescue" waving a magic wand, rather than Dell being just some ordinary schmuck fiercely trying to help innocent victims with the same resources and abilities the rest of us have.
Andrew Vachss is the patron saint of abused kids and has important stories to tell; only a fool would think the horrors he describes don't exist in real life. But Burke, and now Dell, are jarring. In real life, those who avenge the wrongs committed by sexual predators triumph through good detective work and daily grinding away at a society that turns blind eyes to the exploitation of the innocent.
Please, Mr.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dell is a mercenary for most of his adult life until he meets Dolly after he is wounded. Dolly is a nurse who tends to his wounds. He settles down with Dolly near the coast of Oregon. Dolly is a magnet for the local teenagers. Dell wants to keep her protected from any danger. In order to do this, he must resort to his mercenary skills. He kills two deer hunters who hunt too near his home and deer hunting is forgotten in this area ever after. A favorite bird of Dolly's, Alfred Hitchcock, is tortured and killed and Dell tracks down the teenaged killer. Then a bomb goes off in his house, killing him and taking the whole back of his house down. Dell is no one to mess with and if someone messes with Dolly, there is hell to pay.

Dolly tells Dell about a murder that takes place in the local high school. One of her favorite kids, Mary Lou, kills Cameron Taft and shoots two other students. It is definitely her. There are over fifty eye witnesses and it is all on tape. Dell takes it upon himself to find out who the killer is and in the process he finds out about a culture of rape and abuse that is rampant in the local high school.

The novel is written in Vachss' unique style, one that I've loved since Strega, Flood, Blue Belle, and many of his early books. Though this one is a stand-alone, it has the same power, force and insight that make Vachss one of my favorite writers.
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By Tina on September 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a book I picked up from my local library. Wow! I love love love Andrew Vachss' work; I've been a fan of the Burke series for a long time. This is another winner in the same dark, abrupt style of the Burke books. I especially enjoyed how Vachss parlayed his knowledge of law and children's advocacy into this gripping tale of a star athlete accused of murder. Great story, I hope it's the beginning of another series, as the characters are excellent.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not going to lay out the plot for you- other reviewers seem to have done that!
What I will say is that I have been reading Vachss since he started and felt that he was past his best and had shot his bolt.
So I wasn't that hopeful when I picked this up- how wrong I was, this is a fantastic read and is Vachss back at his mighty best, like the early Burke titles.
Read it, you won't be able to put it down!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
This is the first volume of a new series, so there's info not yet given -- that's for other books, and I"m looking forward to getting to know Dell and Dolly as we go along. I wasn't reminded of Burke at all -- it sounds odd, but I think of Dell and Dolly as Ghost and Shella, if they lived up there in the sunlight. A great start to what looks to be a great new series!
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Format: Kindle Edition
If Mr. Vachss is as good an attorney as he is a story teller then his clients have excellent representation. He draws word pictures of the most awful human behaviors, but in such a way as to allow one to examine them and then move on. Living in his mind must be challenging.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another gripping read. The story breaks open the inner life of the narrator Dell an ex French Foreign Legionary, escaped into a peaceful home under false identity, whose violent skills are called back into action by a perplexing crime hitting near home. Dolly his wife, a therapist of sorts, works with him to unravel the tangled causative strings of the fabric of the event and follow them deep into the dark places from which they come.

A good counterpart to "Bomb Made in Hell," exploring school violence, and as always an insightful study of abuse and trauma and its psychic consequences full of implicit prescriptions. Vachss keeps up the good fight!
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