Cross Takes on the Criminal Underworld: Andrew Vachss’s Blackjack

Weekly Lizard

Andrew Vachss’s Cross and his strange but multi-talented crew together form one of the most ruthless and efficient hired gun teams the world has known. In Blackjack—the crew’s first novel—they take on an elusive serial killer who no one has ever seen.

With a savage murderer leaving a trail of eviscerated bodies all over the world, a shadowy team of government operatives hires Cross’s crew to track and capture—but not kill—this elusive hunter. When a pattern is finally deduced in the seemingly random strikes, the Cross crew devises an elaborate plan that will put their leader directly into the creature’s path.

Cross and crew originated in Vachss’s short stories, many of which are collected in Born Bad and Everybody Pays. An almost mythic character, Cross is an elite assassin with a strong but extremely narrow moral code. The members of his crew live entirely outside the law, trust no one but themselves, and do not expect to die of old age. The only thing uniting these wildly-varying personalities? A common hatred of “them.”

Blackjack is classic Vachss, a nail-biting, cat-and-mouse thriller where the roles of cat and mouse can switch in an instant…and where the mouse may become the more dangerous of the two. Click here for a glimpse of the underworld—but be careful. You might like it.