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Publisher's Summary

Once a devastated mill town, by 1959 Locke City has established itself as a thriving center of vice tourism. The city is controlled by boss Royal Beaumont, who took it by force many years ago and has held it against all comers since.

Now his domain is being threatened by an invading crime syndicate. But in a town where crime and politics are virtually indivisible, there are other players awaiting their turn onstage.

Beaumont imports a hired killer, Walker Dett, a master tactician whose trademark is wholesale destruction.

In a stunning departure from his usual territory, Andrew Vachss gives us a masterful novel that is also an epic story of postwar America. A searing portrait of corruption in a small town, this is Vachss' most ambitious, innovative, and explosive work yet.

©2005 Andrew Vachss; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The pace is good and the plot is riveting." (Publishers Weekly)
"Vachss plows a field famously sowed by Dashiell Hammett and reaps his own kind of red harvest....Dark, violent, blood-drenched, page-turning." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Bob
  • Reed City, MI, USA
  • 02-05-07

give this one a pass!

This book is supposed to be historical fiction, or at least, I think so. In my opinion, it fails both as history and as fiction. Though the narrator does his best to resurrect the book, he has an annoying habit of dropping his voice at the end of each and every sentence. My advice, don't bother with this one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Sellersville, PA, USA
  • 03-06-06

Couldn't relate to any of the characters

This book was billed as having some 1950/60's era historical explication but, besides the overplayed car model descriptions, there was nothing in this book that wasn't common knowledge. I couldn't relate to any of the characters (they were flat anyway) and I found the book frustrating. I did think the reading was good, but the book was not.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Very boring

The writer has an undistinguished writing style. Boring sentences, boring reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • paul barron
  • Victoria, British Columbia Canada
  • 08-02-14

A mile wide and an inch deep

The author has managed to introduce every era-related theme into his plot but the result is stereotypical and shallow. Its overambitious shopping list of characters/groups includes -- and this is only a partial list -- a hired Korean-war-vet killer, the local mob, the mafia, the Irish mob, proto-Black Panthers, the KKK, the FBI, Happy-Days-style street gangs, a gold-hearted madame, a seemingly bent straight cop, a taboo mixed-race liaison and a beautiful-but-innocent diner-waitress love interest. With all those ingredients, the stew could conceivably be exciting, but the delivered dish is tasteless and thin.

One of the most annoying artifices is that the author insists on using dialogue to provide the backstory which forces the listener to endure a whole series of highly unlikely and stilted conversations.

Having thoroughly enjoyed veteran narrator Stephen Hoye's readings of other novels (The Killer Angels is superb), I couldn't help but feel sorry for him as he tried valiantly to make this book come alive.

I don't often write reviews but I have felt compelled to write this one to warn fellow Audiophiles to save their credit and avoid this book.