by Andrew Vachss
"A noir archtype as bare as unfinished furniture. The plot . . . has been sanded down into a taut monofilament . . . The prose in Shella is boiled to the bone."
"Mesmerizing . . . a subterranean nightmare world, a place as compelling and morally challenging as any to be found in the best crime fiction today."
—Washington Post Book World
"A book so icy it can freeze your fingers as you turn the pages, and numb your soul in the process. Shella is as lean and mean—but also as literate and deeply felt—as crime fiction, or any fiction gets."
From the author of the acclaimed Burke private-eye series comes an ambitious and chilling novel that shows us not only what evil is, but where it comes from. For Shella is nothing less than a tour of evil's spawning ground, conducted by one of its natural predators.
He is called "Ghost" because he is so nondescript as to be invisible and because he slays with such reflexive ease that he might be one of the dead. Once he traveled with a woman who was called "Shella"—because those who had treated her as a horrendously ill-used child had tried to make her come out of her shell. Now Shella has vanished in a wilderness of strip clubs and peep shows, and Ghost is looking for her, guided by a killer's instinct and the recognition that can only exist between two people who have been damaged past the point of no return. The result is Andrew Vachss' most compelling work to date, the thriller reimagined as a bleak romance of the damned.
Vintage, 1994 (trade paperback)
Knopf, 1993 (hardcover)
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