Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books


Shella by Andrew Vachss
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Edition
1994

I recently discovered Andrew Vachss's noir thriller Shella and started reading it with really no expectations other than that it sounded like my kind of read. By the time I closed the book I was half way through it. I finished it in the next sit. And wow...this book is the bomb! The writing style got it's hooks into me immediately. It's lean. It's mean. It's dirty.

Shella is the story of John Smith aptly nicknamed Ghost, a depraved cast-off grown up tough in in the system, who makes his living killing people. After doing 3 years in prison for manslaughter, he gets out and begins searching for his dancer girlfriend Shella, who sometimes works as a dominatrix and runs a scam ripping off tricks. Ghost's single objective is to find Shella and be reunited with the only person in the world he feels any emotion for. It becomes his obsession. Everything else in his life doesn't matter. He has no family, no friends, no dreams, desires, or needs, other than Shella. And he's willing to travel down some pretty dark roads and eliminate anyone he has to in order to get to her. Shella is a deliciously grim and tragic love story between two equally damaged souls written in the style of the best classic noirs.

Originally published in 1994, it has since been rereleased with several different covers. It also looks like it's set for release on audio book later this year. If you get the chance pick it up. Highly recommended.

For more Friday's Forgotten Books, visit Patti Abbott here: http://pattinase.blogspot.com/http://pattinase.blogspot.com/

9 comments:

  1. Hey Julia, I don't know if you've read any of Vachss' other stuff too; if not, you're in for a treat...

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  2. Vachss books - all that I have read, which is several - are all pretty powerful. This is a good one but I don't think it's his best.

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  3. This is the first Vachss book I've read. I'll have to check out his other ones. I keep hearing they're good. Thanks guys!

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  4. I have a friend who has been urging me to read Vachss for years. What is his best?

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  5. I'd recommend FLOOD (the first Burke book) as the place to start if you're going to read Vachess. His work is very dark so be prepared.

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  6. Thanks for the tip, Julia! I just checked our local library's catalog, and they have "Flood" and several others, including an anthology of stories Vachss edited, "Hard Looks."

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  7. It's hard to read a Vachss book. I get too jealous wishing I'd written it myself.

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  8. Love this one. I've read all his standalones (except the new one The Weight) but the Burke novels are so bleak I have a hard time with them. The Getaway Man was my introduction and it's great. Two Trains Running is epic in scale but a fascinating read.

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