From the Publisher
Andrew Vachss is the author of the Burke series of novels, the 14th of which, Only Child, will be released Fall 2002 by Alfred A. Knopf. His books have been translated into twenty languages and have won The Gran Prix de Litterature Policiere (France), The Falcon Award (Japan), The Deutschen Krimi Preis (Germany), and The Raymond Chandler Award (Italy). His work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, The New York Times, Playboy, and numerous other forums. read more
Andrew Vachss' writing has been described as "red-hot and serious as a punctured lung" (Playboy), "hypnotically violent ... made up of equal part broken concrete block and razor wire" (Chicago Sun-Times), and "short and choppy, like the ticking of a time bomb" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer).
This brand new book contains fifteen of Vachss' most compelling, life-at-ground-zero stories, brought to life by an outstanding line-up of comics' most talented writers and artists. This exciting book also contains Half-Breed, a never-before-published story by Vachss, with illustrations and a new cover by Geof Darrow, conceptual designer for the motion pictures The Matrix I, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful: "Look Down, or Look Hard", March 2, 2003 Reviewer: Marc Ruby from Warren, MI USA Andrew Vachss is a problematic short story writer. His style is so frontal and minimalist that often the stories are over before they have penetrated intellectually. Instead, the reader experiences a sudden burst of emotion or horror, leaving a stunned silence in its path. To be honest I prefer his novels, which give the reader a grace period before the roller-coaster starts down the first big drop. 'Hard Looks' is really a compilation - 15 stories extracted from a Dark Horse comic-book series of the same name. Most of these stories actually appeared originally in two short story collections - 'Born Bad,' and 'Everybody Pays.' Six of the stories are strait text, the rest are adaptations of Vachss' stories to the graphic format. The largest percentage were adapted by Neal Barrett, Jr., but a broad spectrum of other authors are represented, from Joe R. Lansdale to Charles de Lint. Each story, graphic or not, is as tough as one can make a recreation of Vachss' work. The stories are about people who are suddenly brought face to face with the reality that underlies their fantasies, whether it is a kid who dreams of being a big tough in the neighborhood or a woman working in a phone-for-thrills studio. The only goodness that happens is on those rare occasions when evil loses the struggle. In Vachss' world, that isn't often enough. The illustration is pure pen and ink, by a variety of artists. While the general styling is gritty and noir, there is considerable variation. One of my few irritations with the book is that while the artists and adapters are given credit, they deserve a better introduction. Especially since only a small part of Vachss' readership is familiar with the modern comic as art. Like any experiment, some stories work better than do others, but over all, this is a very successful effort. Fans will enjoy the graphic insight into a dark work, and, hopefully, this will mark the introduction of one of the our most intense writers to an entirely new readership.