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.
Excerpted from That's How I Roll by Andrew Vachss. Copyright © 2012 by Andrew Vachss. Excerpted by permission of Vintage, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Andrew Vachss is a lawyer who represents children and youths exclusively. His many books include the Burke series and two collections of short stories. His novels have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, and The New York Times, among other publications.
The dedicated website for Andrew Vachss and his work is www.vachss.com.
“Classic, gritty Vachss, who writes prose you can strike a match on.” —Shots
“It’s brutal, grindhouse and poetic. . . . As if the devil himself had penned [That’s How I Roll]. . . . Vachss is a writer to admire, one that does not shun from showing a world with all of its ugly flaws.” —Lit Reactor
“A noir masterpiece.” —Irish Independent
“[A] chilling tour de force. . . . Crafty, strong-willed Esau combines courtly manners, deadly paybacks, and ruthless singularity of purpose.” —Publishers Weekly
“Vachss’s stories . . . burn with righteous rage and transfer a degree of that rage to the reader.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Esau Till has to be about the most unique killer-for-hire ever invented. . . . A great character study of a man with a mission, despite overwhelming odds. His survival instincts and matter-of-fact philosophies promise to remain unrivaled for quite some time.” —Bookreporter
“Vachss’s tough-guy writing style grabs you by the hair and jerks you to attention.” —Detroit Free Press
“This novel could easily be mistaken for a memoir. . . . Both chilling and realistic.”—New York Journal of Books
“Vachss combines his trademark black humor with his longstanding concern for children and their well-being. . . . A smart, cynical glimpse into the human condition.” —Kirkus Reviews