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Authors: Andrew Vachss

Born Bad

BOOK: Born Bad
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Acclaim for

Andrew Vachss

"Vachss [is] in the first rank of contemporary American crime writers."






"Next to Vachss, Chandler, Cain and Hammett look like choirboys."


—Cleveland Plain Dealer




"[Vachss] does to pimps, pederasts, snuff film makers and porn industry purveyors what you know he'd like to do in real life, but seldom can. In other words, he decimates them."


—Detroit News




"Vachss is a contemporary master."


Atlanta Journal-Constitution




"Move over, Hammett and Chandler, you've got company…. An absolute original… Andrew Vachss has become a cult favorite, and for good reason."






Vachss' writing is like a dark rollercoaster ride of fear, love and hate."


—Times Picayune




"Andrew Vachss, a lawyer who specializes in the problems of child abuse, writes a hypnotically violent prose made up of equal parts of broken concrete block and razor wire."


—Chicago Sun-Times




"The best detective fiction being written…add a stinging social commentary…a Célinesque journey into darkness, and we have an Andrew Vachss, one of our most important writers."


— Martha Grimes








Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social caseworker, 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, two collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, poetry, graphic novels, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty different languages and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, The New York Times, and numerous other forums. He lives and works in New York City and the Pacific Northwest.

The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is www.








Blue Belle
Hard Candy
Down in the Zero
Born Bad
Footsteps of the Hawk
False Allegations
Safe House
Choice of Evil
Everybody Pays
Dead and Gone
Pain Management









Andrew Vachss


Vintage Crime / Black Lizard

Vintage Books • A Division of Random House, Inc. • New York


Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 by Andrew Vachss


All rights reserved under International and Pan–American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.


Some of the stories in this collection were originally published in The Armchair Detective; Borderlands; Cemetery Dance; Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; Hard Looks; Hardboiled Detective; A Matter of Crime; New Mystery; Underground; Cold Blood (Ziesing); Crossroads Press (chapbook); Dark at Heart (Dark Harvest); Invitation to Murder (Dark Harvest); Narrow Houses (Little, Brown, UK); New Crimes (Robinson Publishing, UK); The New Mystery (Dutton); Ten Tales (Cahill Press) , and in trade paperback by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 1994


Library of Congress Cataloging–in–Publication Data
Vachss, Andrew H.
[Short stories. Selections]
Born bad: stories / by Andrew Vachss.–1st ed.
p. em.–(Vintage crime/black lizard)


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Random House Web address:


eISBN: 0–375–71909–1


This book is also available in a print version:
ISBN 0–679–75336–2






Tortured far apart

Children of the Secret are

Alone until love























riting short stories is like fighting in a real small ring: whatever your style, you have to get busy quick. It's easier to make mistakes, and it costs more if you do.

If you're looking for a Chandler clone, save your money. If you think "noir" is French for "dark meaninglessness," move on. If your idea of a good time is vigilante slasher-splatter porn, pass.

Those interested in labels will find justification for everything from hardboiled to horror. Some of the pieces concern a mercenary named Cross, soon, if my plans work out, to invade the paperback market. Some are stage plays, others are works-in-progress. Some have been previously published in a wide variety of forums. Others are original to this collection. Most are first-person narratives, some from ground zero and some—the "Underground" series—from below that.

I'll spare you self-congratulatory adjectives. Writing isn't my work, it's an organic extension of that work. I may not be a good writer, but I write for a good reason. And if that reason isn't apparent by the time you've finished this collection, I didn't get the job done.

A Flash of White



he bitch in 24-G is a whore. A real slut. She parades around in front of her bedroom window in her underwear, trying on different outfits. Sometimes she looks right out the window. She knows I'm here.

The highrise has a lot of windows. They all have different coverings: curtains, drapes, Levelor blinds. The bitch in 24-G has curtains, but she never draws them.

I have a diagram of the building that I made myself. I go in the and out all the time. I make deliveries for a florist. They got me that job when they let me out.

I really don't need a job. I have the money my mother left me. But the bitch from the Probation Department, she said I have to have employment.



he bitch in 19-E just came home. She's a pig. When she gets home, she throws off all her clothes, right on the floor. When she comes back into the front room, she has a towel wrapped around her. She doesn't even pick up her clothes until she has a drink. I'm sure it's liquor, because she takes so long to put it together.

I wouldn't drink liquor.


•     •     •



here's a blonde in 16-F that I really hate. She's the biggest bitch of them all. She walks like there's a poker stuck up her ass. I'd like to stick a poker up her ass. A red-hot poker.

BOOK: Born Bad
7.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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