If, like us, you want to see lobbyists stalking the halls of Congress, pressuring politicians to practice crime prevention through child protection, then you'll want to be a part of the National Association to Protect Children. PROTECT, America's first political lobby for child protection, was founded in 2002. The organization has members in 50 states and nine nations, and can boast of achieving significant changes in the "child protective" laws in North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee, California, and New York. But there's a lot more work to be done. If, like us, you believe that blogging isn't behavior, and only behavior is the truth, and you live for the day when children have as strong a lobby as whales, or guns, or the oil industry, how about giving up dinner-and-a-movie once a year and joining us in the only "Holy War" truly worthy of the name?!?
Should a captive chimpanzee have the same rights as a "legal person"? A hundred years ago, they were asking the same question about Pygmys. But you'd know that, if you'd been listening to the Whisper-stream.
In their review of Urban Renewal, Booklist writes, "Vachss is unlike any other crime writer. His Burke series set the standard for dark noir. Cross is a bit more conventional than Burke, but not much. The straight world is as corrupt as any 'criminal' enterprise, and Cross and crew, fiercely loyal to each other, set out to exploit it. Readers who want to visit a new twist on the dark side will be mesmerized." And Publishers Weekly describes the book as a "hard-hitting ... raucous ride." To read the complete reviews, click here.
To see the full cover (front and back) to the forthcoming Cross novel, Urban Renewal, click here. (And if you read the credits on the back closely, you'll see that the photo used for the front cover was taken by Andrew Vachss himself.)
How can you help support PROTECT, America's first political lobby for child protection? You can be like Phil Garfinkel, who is giving a 10% match for every donation his Facebook friends make to PROTECT. (For the record, the match goes for his Facebook friends only, but the rest of us can be inspired by Phil's incredible generosity and spirit and make our own "match"!)
Or you can buy a motorcycle! PROTECT is auctioning off a 2012 Suzuki LS650 Savage bike that was donated by comedian/actress Margaret Cho and signed by a host of celebrities! Learn more and place your bid today! The auction closes Monday.
"This is a lemon, not a lime. Nature does it this way to prevent birds from seeing it ... doesn't turn that bright yellow until it's too big for seed-eating birds to do anything about it. And this is the lesson of The Shaolin Cowboy. Yes, it's a masterpiece of artwork. Yes, no one but Geof Darrow could draw anything close to it. But if you think that just because it's sold in comic shops, it's only a comic, you're going to miss out on some of the finest multi-faceted commentary on ... well, damn near everything. Don't be fooled by the camouflage, folks. Buy this one issue, which should be out today, read it once ... then go back and let the message germinate to full bloom. You'll thank me for it, I promise."
"I'm not saying anyone who spanks their kid is a child molester, but when you see stories, pictures, discussions, whatever ... of children being spanked in the same publications which clearly treat spanking as an erotic/sexual act, the connection is obvious. And inescapable." Read the entirety of Andrew Vachss' latest dispatch, "'Child Discipline' as Kiddie Porn."
Andrew Vachss says, "I have neither the credentials for, nor an interest in, 'literary criticism.' But I can pick winners." To read about one of those winners, Joe R. Lansdale, click here.
If we sentenced distributors of "child pornography" proportionate to the damage they do, or even to the value of their "product," they would all be doing life sentences. Their victims are. Read the full article here.
We keep hearing how "people can disagree, but still be friends." About some things, sure. But not when you get down to the core. When you're fighting a war that can't be won in your lifetime, some people will do what it takes ... and fight to the death.
This Friday, 17 of our country's bravest military heroes will graduate from their 11-week training as the first class of the H.E.R.O. Child-Rescue Corps. They'll be embedded for nine months with Homeland Security Investigations offices around the country, completing an internship in which they'll use technology to identify and rescue child victims of rape and exploitation. Everyone at The Zero is proud to say we've supported this program financially since day one, and we're thrilled to see it come to fruition at last. And we're excited to see the results—the children rescued and the predators apprehended—that these H.E.R.O.s will produce. To learn more about the program, and to join us in supporting it, click here.
Some of our nation's greatest warriors are training to go into battle against child predators. The National Association to Protect Children is orchestrating the largest troop surge in the history of child protection. You can be part of history by helping to fund this program. Check it out:
September 11's terrorist attacks were not just aimed at buildings, or at people ... their goal was to destroy the perception of personal safety for every adult and child in America. Donna Schuurman, director of The Dougy Center for Grieving Children, has put together some information to assist your response to children in your care, and some tips for reacting to their needs. You'll find it here.
Earlier this month, Nathan Myhrvold wrote in the Huffington Post about "striking down malaria with a laser." But you'd know what he really meant if you had your ear to the whisperstream.
Mark Andresen sent us a beautiful drawing inspired by Haiku, and we wanted to share it with you. Check it out!
Teenagers can take "Driver's Ed" to obtain their license more quickly. An additional benefit is that their parents' insurance rates will drop. But no "Driver's Ed" course will prevent those same teenagers from driving drunk ... or getting into a car with a drunken peer at the controls. You want to protect your teenagers? You want to help them make the right choices in their lives? You want to save lives? You want to get your insurance company to sharply lower its rates for teenage drivers? Look no further: Licensed For Life. You can watch the short film, if you have a short attention span. But we strongly recommend the full version — director Lorraine Darrow and BonBon Films have captured a typical Licensed For Life class beyond anyone's ability to describe it — and its effects — in words. When you're done, and after you've shared it with all your friends, send a copy to your insurance company and DEMAND it offer a discount to any family with a teenage driver who has completed this "course." Will all companies comply? Of course not. But even if just one does, all the lizard ads and "good hands" stuff will crumple to the hard fact that people don't have money to throw away. And that they want the best for their children. So if one company runs an endorsement, a link, even a mention of Licensed For Life that is coupled with a RATE REDUCTION, they'll all (eventually) switch. Help make Licensed For Life a national priority, lower your rates ... and save some lives. Take you maybe a few minutes ... and could make all the difference in the world to some teenagers ... and their families.
At this year's ComicCon, Dark Horse Presents won the Eisner award for Best Comics Anthology of 2012. Andrew Vachss wrote three stories for that anthology, all of which later appeared in Mortal Lock, the conclusion of which is the screenplay for "Underground," which will be a graphic novel next year.
Authorities are going to exhume the body of confessed Boston Stranger Albert DeSalvo. Maybe they finally tapped into the whisperstream.
Between the comics and audio adaptations of Andrew Vachss' Underground, we thought it was time for the series to get its own page. Check it out.
Back in 1989, Alice Vachss made the news for making her wolf/German Shepherd cross, Sheba, an office staple to comfort abuse victims. Then in 1994, a dog named Vachss made headlines for comforting witnesses on the stand in court. Now, using dogs to calm witnesses in court is becoming standard practice. Check it out.
"Aftershock is crime fiction at its best built around a solid cast of characters, with an intriguing mythology. Vachss covers many of his classic themes yet in a way that seems to have invigorated his writing, allowing him to explore these themes in new and fascinating ways.... Phil [Gigante's audo adaptation] was brilliant as always, and his interplay with [fellow audo adapter] Natalie [Ross] was so natural and flowing that I didn't experience any of the dissonance this type of narration often gives me." To read the rest of the Guilded Earlobe's review of the audiobook, click here.
"There are songs I know well, songs I've had inside me for a long time. Some of those songs were playing when I wrote my newest novel, Aftershock. ... I don't want to give away too much about Dell, the first-person narrator of [this] new series, but it's kind of a map of his life. There's a philosophy that maintains people are 'useless' unless they possess certain useable skills—you're useless if you can't be used. Mercenaries fall into that category. We assume that their life is their choice, but that's as intelligent as any 'they're all alike' statement would be. But let's say you believe you're useless. What then? You want to connect with someone else, you want to feel something. That's brutally hard for some of people, and the outcome isn't always a good one." To read the rest of the interview with Andrew Vachss—including the playlist for Aftershock—click here.
"By this point in the long game, I've interviewed a lot of crime writers. Elmore Leonard once read me the opening chapter of a novel—while he was in the middle of typing it up. I spoke with Walter Mosley and Donald E. Westlake within the same two-hour window one Christmas eve. Go toe-to-toe with Richard Price and you'll come out of it feeling like the losing end of a prizefight. But there is nothing in the world like a sit-down with Andrew Vachss." To read the rest of Clayton Moore's interview with Andrew Vachss, as published by Kirkus on June 11, 2013, click here.
Andrew Vachss is going to Comic-Con. Why? Click here for the answer ... and for a print-your-own poster, too. And if you're at Comic-Con, look for Andrew Vachss at the Random House and Dark Horse booths, as well as artist Geof Darrow's table.
"Aftershock [is] about the effect of post-traumatic stress syndrome . . . on people who treat it." To listen to John Cody's interview with Andrew Vachss, as it aired on CBS Radio on June 08, 2013, click here.
Publishers Weekly calls Andrew Vachss' Aftershock the "[C]ompelling first in a new thriller series ... [R]eaders will
stick with the story, and the series, because the steadfast, relentless Dell,
with his uncompromising morality, commands attention."
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard is running "A Piece of the City," from Andrew Vachss' Mortal Lock, as a free read. Read it here.
Kirkus describes it as "20 visits to hell." Somebody Dies calls it "gripping fiction." We call it Mortal Lock, and it's on sale now. (But don't fall for that notice on the Amazon page. This isn't a "Vintage; Reprint edition," as they note in the publisher info; it's a "Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original," like it says at the top of the page.)
Underground is no "post-apocalyptic" fantasy. "The Terror" isn't thermo-nuclear war, it is the death of Journalism ... something the "Rulers" knew was coming decades ago, when construction of "Underground" began. Underground is a vision of a world where reporting the news is risking death ... a world that may not be so far off. It will appear as:
A fully executed screenplay (WGA Registration number 1346194) contained within Mortal Lock, to be released May 7th;
A fully story-boarded graphic novel—adapted initially by Mike Richardson and then later by Chet Willliamson—the first episode to appear in DHP #25, and all episodes to be collected into a single volume upon completion; and
A complete audiotrack, adapted by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross, available (like the printed book) May 7th.
"The baddest noir stylist of them all digs into his archives from the past 15 years and comes up with 20 visits to hell." That's the Kirkus review for Andrew Vachss' third short-story collection, Mortal Lock, which goes on sale May 07. For more information, click here.
"There's freaks all over. And when you get down to the bone, where the truth is, one person's power is always about another person's pain."
"N.Y. murder, rape suspect removed and reassembled monitoring bracelet in under a minute"—that headline from the Daily News is no news to anyone listening to the Whisper-stream.
We're less than eight weeks out from the release of Andrew Vachss' next book: Mortal Lock, his third collection of short stories. To learn more, click here.
Congratulations to Dr. Joel Dvoskin, a Zero contributor, whose latest release was awarded the American Psychology-Law Society's 2013 Book Award! Click here to read Using Social Science to Reduce Violent Offending:A scientifically informed approach to increasing public safety. And if you want to read Dr. Joel's writings for the Zero, click here.
In 2002's Pain Management, Andrew Vachss warned about the "[s]tupid, mean-spirited,
nasty little . . . moralists" who would rather see people die in pain than become drug addicts. Count among them Bloomberg.
Debbie Weiss just made a major contribution to PROTECT: $1 million to establish the Weiss Center for Child Rescue and Protection Technology. The Weiss Center will focus on advancing technology to protect children. Their first project is the HERO Child-Rescue Corps, which will train wounded veterans to hunt down child predators over the Internet. Thank you, Ms. Weiss! To learn more about her game-changing gift, watch this news clip.
Too dangerous to be in Population, but they're fine for the street. That's a line from Andrew Vachss' The Weight (2010), and we were reminded of it when we received Dallas Akers' essay. Ms. Akers—who is incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women—submitted her essay into a Prison Writing Contest and won. "That gave me a definite feeling of pride," she told us. "The $250 that came with it ... well, that gave me a different feeling of accomplishment altogether."
Heads up, San Francisco! We know there are connections between childhood trauma, crime, and mental health. We need to know where to intervene. And we need to know the costs if we don't. Journalist Trey Bundy and licensed clinical social worker Zak Mucha will be speaking about this at two events in the Bay Area: the UC Berkeley Schools of Social Work, Journalism, and Public Policy on Tuesday, March 12, and San Francisco State University on Wednesday, March 13. Click here for details.
Convicted predatory pedophile Mel Reynolds was running for his old Congressional seat in Illinois' 2nd district. No surprise: we wouldn't expect someone who enjoys raping little girls to feel shameful about his conduct. That he lost yesterday's primary election also comes as no surprise; considering what happened to the last girl who volunteered for his campaign, we're guessing he didn't get a lot of girls looking to sign up this time around. But the best news of all? Reynolds only received 453 votes ... and, as of this writing, the Anyone But Mel Facebook page has 818 "likes."
Next up: Andrew Vachss' third collection of short stories, Mortal Lock. Contents list and cover preview here, and the book, everywhere, May 07.
We're no longer the only ones calling "Law & Order" a sit-com. Check it out.
In a 1992 article in the ABA Journal, Andrew Vachss wrote, "Castration will not remove the source of a violent sex offender's rage—only one single instrument of its expression. Rapes have been committed with broomsticks, Coke bottles—and blunt objects. Indeed, most criminal statutes now incorporate just such a possibility." Apparently, New York has yet to get the message: "New York's definition of 'rape' requires vaginal penetration. Cuomo will head to Albany on Tuesday to speak out in favor of a bill by Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas that would change that." To read the whole article, click here.
From Andrew Vachss' 2008 novel, Another Life: "Africans don't trust us. Why should they? Nigeria may be the
richest country on the whole continent, but it has the highest rate of polio in the world." And the headline of a story from last week: "Nigeria polio vaccinators shot dead in Kano." Think they're not connected? Think again.
Andrew Vachss' latest novel, That's How I Roll, is out in trade paperback. Read an excerpt here.
Want to hear Andrew Vachss' niece Kasey, a/k/a the Blonde Nightingale, sing her heart out? Here's your chance:
If you want to better understanding bullying—its causes, effects, and how to intervene—and you're anywhere near Chicago, you'll want to register for Zak Mucha's free workshop, "Teaching Emotional Self-Defense," to be held Thursday, February 21st, at Open Books. Click here for more information and to register.
Anyone who's stopped by here with any kind of regularity knows who Zak Mucha is. What might be news to you is that he has a new novel, about small crime, the people who commit it, and the reasons they do. It went on sale yesterday. Click here to read an excerpt!
"How many juries have decided an accused rapist's guilt or innocence based on the attire or occupation of the victim? Why is virtually all 'rape porn' designed to show that 'she really wanted it all along'? How many people refuse to believe that 'a handsome man would never stoop to raping an ugly woman'? How many secretly believe that any underage male student victimized by a female teacher is someone who 'got lucky'?" To read Andrew Vachss' article on "rape culture"—as published on The Zero on January 11, 2013—click here.
Headline from Monday's Daily News: "Here are the four guys who killed Raphael Ward for his Marmot jacket." If that's news to you, you need to plug into the Whisper-Stream.
We're five months away from the release of Mortal Lock, Andrew Vachss' third short-stories collection. And six months away from his next hardcover, Aftershock, which is the beginning of a new series. But both are already listed on Amazon. And while we don't like to announce releases this early, we also don't want our readers to miss out on the best price possible. Amazon's policy is, if you order now and the price gets better before the book is released, you get that better price; if the price increases, you're still locked in at that lower price. So, as of this writing ... Mortal Lock is listed at 32% off cover, and Aftershock at 40% off cover. More info on each when we're closer to the release dates.
Some people checked in to ask our thoughts about the Newtown school massacre. Others said they didn't have to ask our thoughts, because they'd been listening to the Whisper-stream.
Last Friday, President Obama signed into law the Child Protection Act of 2012. It doubles existing funding for investigating people trading child porn over the Internet (40% of whom are found to be abusing at least one child); it creates tough, new penalties for people who threaten or harass a child witness; and it fast-tracks subpoenas for fugitive sex offenders, among other things. This bill was passed into law because of PROTECT, a membership organization that lobbies for laws that protect children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. We say all that to say this: (1) Not all lobbyists are in it to line their own pockets—in fact, PROTECT runs on a budget of less than $500K. (2) That $500K comes from individuals like you. So if you want to be a part of a movement that is successfully changing the landscape as regards child protection, click here. And if you don't ... don't waste our time.
"Andrew Vachss' style raises the story a few notches higher than the pulp paperbacks he's saluting. And Phil Gigante's perfectly tuned, affectless country boy narration transforms [The Getaway Man audiobook] into a nifty bit of performance art." Click here to read the entire review, as published in Mystery Scene. And check out their review of A Bomb Built in Hell, which proclaims, "Andrew Vachss takes antiheroism to new extremes ... in this brutal, detailed piece of work."
The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine has tamed The Savage Critic! In his review, he refers to it as "a loving evocation of the pulp magazines of the past. ... what you get here consists of pages of words punctuated by a plenitude of Darrow's hypnotically precise spot illustrations ... Vachss is a perfect choice for a pulp project like this. He's an accomplished writer of fiction whose work tends to read like nothing so much as pulp filtered through a dark adapted eye. ... [And] the Michael A. Black time travelling/dinosaurs short that brings up the rear of the book is pretty neat and will take you back to Sundays reading Ray Bradbury on the rug in front of the fire." Click here to read the entire review.
Big Wayne's got a new book, Body Count, that contains "six short stories, 13 homicides, five hot dames, and one tough PI." And if you snap it up during its introductory period as a Kindle, you'll get it for 99¢. So go get it.
A couple weeks ago, we warned you about railing against "Tea Party" politicians. Specifically: You are confusing dirtbags who thought such positions would get them elected with men who went to a lot of trouble to prove them to have misread the tea (party) leaves. We made it clear that some snakes will assume any camouflage—or any campaign slogan—necessary to slither under the election wall. Is this human confessing to soliciting homicide—a.k.a., abortion, or "killing the unborn"—by pressuring his mistress to have an abortion? Did he trick the Tea Party into supporting his campaign? Given this physician was in a sexual relationship with a patient, lied to just about everyone about his "beliefs" (if he has any), and his "God-fearing" status, shouldn't we expect him to resign, beg for forgiveness, and go on Oprah to plug his book?
Charles DeLint says Andrew Vachss' Blackjack is a "heady mix of spy thriller, crime novel, and horror. ... Vachss writes some of the most hardboiled fiction around—spare and tough, precision-tuned in its details and full of heart. It's the latter that makes his work stand out so much. While a book like this is full of merciless spies and the gritty unforgiving world of the criminal underworld and the prison system, Vachss approaches it as he does all his work, imbuing it with a strong moral core." To read the entire review, as published in the November 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction,click here.
Let's see if we understand this: a "father" viciously whips his crippled daughter with a belt, as her "mother" looks on approvingly; the scene is videotaped, and becomes a YouTube favorite of the "I get off watching children being beaten" freaks disguising themselves as advocates of "corporal punishment." Turns out this "father" is a JUDGE OF THE FAMILY COURT who decides cases in which he must determine whether legally permissible corporal punishment was "excessive" in case after case. (!) This individual was suspended by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, but has since been reinstated by order of the Texas Supreme Court—the moral equivalent of "recycling" toxic waste. So the Texas Supreme Court is telling us all that, given sufficient political connections, even a human who regularly violates the very laws he himself sneers at can be given the power to "judge" whether anyone else should.
Watch out for this potential Jesse Jackson sleight-of-hand: With his son nearing a deal with the feds that will force him out of office, Jackson Sr. associate Mel Reynolds is eyeing the seat. Who's Reynolds? Why, he's the guy who used to be in that seat ... until he was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault (a 16-year-old campaign volunteer), obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. Followed by 15 counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators. His sentence was commuted by President Clinton during his last days in office ... at the request of Jackson Sr.
This was never about political parties. A (large) handful of politicians decided the time was right to launcha Theocratic government—a USA version of Taliban rule. They were all wrong, this time. But they (and those like them) will be back. If you want the whole back story, click here.
"Imagine the power to decide a person is 'insane.' And the consequences of such a decision. The DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] is a swell party game. What fun to sit around and diagnose others, or to spew terms like 'sociopath' or 'malignant narcissist' on the oh-so-reliable Internet. But it's a very dangerous game when played for keeps." That's an excerpt from Andrew Vachss' latest article, "Labeling Mental Disorders Doesn't Answer the Real Question:
Does a 'Diagnosis' Mean There's a Cure?" You can read the entire article by clicking here.
"I promise you, there are people in America whose only problem with the Taliban is that they did it for the wrong god. Whether it's incest, rape, terrorism or Nazism, it's all the same thing—accumulating and abusing power." That's Andrew Vachss from a 2004 New York Post interview. Think it was "over the top"? Read this:
Read the complete stories about Arkansas legislative candidate Charlie Fuqua and 14-year-old Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating that girls should get to attend school. And tell us there's a difference. All that has "changed" is that they're much more willing to jump out of the closet when they increasingly come to believe that a theocracy would be welcomed in America ... so long as it's the right "god" calling the shots.
The world's most laid-back dog has just joined the Pack! Meet Buddy!
For years Andrew Vachss has been telling us, "We make our own monsters." Now, in a paper published in The Wilson Quarterly, Stanford University Professor Tanya Marie Luhrmann ratifies that concept: "Epidemiologists have now homed in on a series of factors that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, including ... if you were beaten, taunted, bullied, sexually abused, or neglected when you were a child. In fact, how badly a child is treated may predict how severe the case of an adult person with schizophrenia becomes—and particularly, whether the adult hears harsh, hallucinatory voices that comment or command." Click here to read the whole paper.
The police have been calling him the Needle Bandit. But Burke would call him a piquerist.
"When [a high school sophomore] was suspected by school officials of allowing a classmate to copy her work she was presented with two choices — suspension or paddling. [The student], not wanting to miss school time, opted for the latter. But her mom is 'unglued' over who did the paddling, and how hard. ... 'I don't believe a man intentionally meant to do that to her,' she said. 'But it still happens, because men are too big and strong to be hitting 96-pound girls.' " Imagine how "unglued" that mother would be right now if she'd had her ear to the Whisper-Stream.
"If you've ever read any of my books, you've heard terms like 'ghosting' before—and might even know who Pryce is, how long real-world fights last, or even why blade experts don't want anything to do with 'knife fights.' You want a far more complete explanation, check out Campfire Tales from Hell. The shape-shifting conversation between Marc MacYoung and Barry Eisler alone is well worth the investment."
"All these soft-porn 'crime' shows have polluted the reality atmosphere. Listen up, okay? A sociopath is simply a person who combines a total absence of empathy with a profound sense of entitlement. They feel no pain but their own. They move in a straight line, always toward whatever they want, unencumbered by moral or ethical baggage. This combination can produce more success than their competitors, be it in politics, sales, or fame-seeking. If you are not standing between them and what they want, you'll never know they passed close by. They are not all serial killers, child molesters, or any other form of overtly predatory human. They are not all handsome, charming, and/or intelligent, nor are they overwhelmingly male. But they all have a significant degree of expertise when it comes to camouflage."
Back in May, Dark Horse released the Hard Looks trade paperback in digital form. Readers of the original comics series (from the early '90s) were glad—but recalled that there were even more stories in the comics than appeared in the collection. So now Dark Horse is giving the readers what they want: everything else. Available starting today in digital form is Harder Looks, collecting all remaining stories (and covers) from the original Hard Looks comics series that weren't included in the original trade paperback, plus "It's a Hard World," a new comics adaptation that never appeared in the series. It's 126 pages, all under a cover by Geof Darrow.
Andrew Vachss is one of many (including such familiar names as Michael A. Black, Tony Black, Ken Bruen, Charles deLint, Wayne Dundee, Joe Lansdale, Gary Lovisi, Dave Marsh, Zak Mucha, and Chet Williamson, among others) contributing to a fiction ebook anthology titled Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT. We repeat: it's a benefit for PROTECT, and it is on sale now.
"Holding Penn State officials accountable for what they knew and what they covered up is the role of prosecutors, but the rest of us should be stepping up to a bigger plate because our failure to follow through on past lessons of child abuse is leaving more children vulnerable." Those are the words of Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and PROTECT founder and Executive Director Grier Weeks, in an Op-Ed from yesterday's USAToday. Grier's been with us—and we've been with Grier—for a long time now. And we're proud to welcome R.A. to the team, too. If you haven't read his memoir, you should—you'll see that, if you're a Child of the Secret, he's been with us a lot longer than we knew.
Like Andrew Vachss wrote in That's How I Roll, "When it comes to protecting your own, there is no limit." Milo understood that. Read Mike Richardson's tribute to Milo, the latest addition to the Dogs of the Zero.
Representative Todd Akin said, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child." If you didn't see that coming, you haven't been listening to the whisperstream. And if you're wondering how those beliefs would play out in the real world ... read the latest dispatch from Andrew Vachss.
On The Zero's Facebook page last week, Andrew Vachss wrote, "I am 100% behind the 2nd Amendment—I think adults should be allowed to own as many flintlock rifles as they wish. ... [T]hat is the extent to which the framers of the Constitution envisioned an armed citizenry. [This is] aimed (no pun intended) at those 'strict constructionists' who rhapsodize on their 'right' to own surface-to-air missiles." Looks like Justice Scalia's been reading our page. Here's what he said on "Fox News Sunday": "But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be ... decided." Click here to read more.
"[Aurora, CO, shooter John] Holmes played with ideas of identity and perceptions of reality. Young men typically do this to counter the banality and futility of the encroaching adulthood. At this stage of life we fight to identify ourselves in a newly discovered hypocritical and corrupt world. This is where we get Americorp volunteers and neo-Nazis—from that hormone-fueled blast to identify and individuate ourselves from those we distrust." Read "The Joker," a guest dispatch for The Zero by Zak Mucha, LCSW.
"'Witch Hunt' is a look inside the mind of a seriously delusional individual who believed his actions were compelled (the voices) and 'logical.' (The Joker confronts hypocrisy, he is continually caught, goes to prison, and somehow always comes back.) It is the closest I can come to taking you inside the mind of the Batman movie shooter (or the Unabomber, or any other high-IQ-but-slowly-slipping-into-schizophrenia individual) in so few words. There is a difference (in etiology, not in results) between a created monster like Carl Panzram and a descent-into-madness individual like Kaczynski, and we should know both." Read "Witch Hunt."
According to a story published this week in The Huffington Post, "Virginia is in the final stages of reviewing proposals that would privatize a mental health treatment facility for sex offenders who can be held indefinitely under state law." But you knew that was coming, didn't you? Because you're plugged in to the Whisper-Stream.
The first novel-length Cross story, Blackjack, is on sale now! Publishers Weekly says Vachss "effectively channels Predator and Rambo in this heated blend of fantasy and machismo in the urban jungle." Wayne D. Dundee says it's "complex and wonderfully twisty, the action intense, the cast of characters large yet distinctly drawn and memorable." And, in a review of Phil Gigante's audiobook adaptation, the Guilded Earlobe says, "Blackjack is a game changer for Andrew Vachss. He is still brushing with the same strokes, but has totally reinvented his canvas." Order your copy now!
This November, Andrew Vachss teams with the inimitable Geof Darrow for a return to the glory days of pulp fiction! Click here to get a first-look sneak preview of The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine No. 1, featuring the original novella-length story "The Way of No Way!"
Andrew Vachss on the Jerry Sandusky verdict: "Spare me the 'now he can't hurt another child' glee club. Those child-victims aren't still being hurt, asking, Why didn't someone stop him? Those who could have stopped him, those who had a duty to stop him, didn't. Time to ask: Why? Otherwise, celebrating Sandusky's conviction as a triumph of justice is delusionary."
Dr. Joel Dvoskin checked in with this item: "According to the New York Times, a group of 'prominent addiction doctors' (translation: doctors who treat celebrities) has mounted a quiet legal campaign on behalf of Cameron Douglas, the troubled son of actor Michael Douglas, allegedly in hopes of 'finding a sympathetic ear for their view that drug addiction is best handled with more treatment, not more prison time.' I agree wholeheartedly that we are wasting money and lives by using incarceration instead of treatment as the default response to drug addiction in America. But this story sickens me. Poor addicts who lack rich and famous parents have been over-charged and over-penalized for decades, and suddenly these these doctors who call themselves 'advocates' develop a sense of outrage, and decide to make a stand for justice ... for the son of Michael Douglas. But since 'Mr. Abramson said the case had little to do with Mr. Douglas' fame,' I guess it's just a coincidence that this is the first time any of these 'advocates' has given a damn about this problem."
There will be no Updates on July 4th. We will not be too busy at the barbeque grill to put the latest on our page ... we will be too busy remembering what our independence cost, and who paid the price for creating and maintaining it.
Congratulations to Daniel Boice! A few years back, he took his first stab at adapting stories to audio by participating in MPformance, sending us his MP3 of some of Andrew Vachss' short stories. Now he's leveraged that newfound skill to full-time work, and his first audiobook is out this month. Check it out!
Andrew Vachss and Geof Darrow have traveled back in time to yesteryear to rescue the spirit and vitality of the pulps! The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine (no. 1) features "The Way of 'No Way!,'" pitting Darrow's martial-arts master against bandits and thugs, colossal komodo dragons and toxic amoebas, and his greatest foe of all: King Crab! And word to the wise: the mule is cool! In the style of the pulps, this prose story by Vachss features spot illustrations by Darrow. Plus, decorated-policeman-turned-author Mike Black! Prince Valiant-artist Gary Gianni! And an amazing cover by Scott Gustafson! Click here to learn more about this new project, due out late this year!
If you want to know why crime-boss Lansdale in That's How I Roll named his daughter Patsy, listen to the audio file below: Andrew Vachss on Dave Marsh's "Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams" Sirius XM radio show back in April. It starts with a track by Kasey Lansdale!
Last call, Cross fans! Novel-Tees is printing T-shirts "from" Red 71, Chicago's other commodoties exchange run by Cross and his crew. Pre-orders will be accepted until Friday, June 8. The shirts will be printed then, and all orders received thereafter will be at the normal price of $24.95. Click here to order your shirt!
Dark Horse is collecting the entire Hard Looks series (adapting Andrew Vachss' short stories to comics), initially as two ebook-only "trade paperbacks," and then as one single trade paperback, as ebook and paper. The first of those is available now, and ... to read a preview (adapted by Joe Lansdale and Gary Gianni), click here, then click "Click Here to Preview" (under the title), then scroll five pages.
Usually, when we send you to the Whisper-Stream, it's because something that Andrew Vachss wrote about finally hit the mass media. This time, it's to date-stamp the novel he wrote in 2010, but won't be published until 2013. The plot of Aftershock is reflected in the US Justice Department's investigation into the police department in Missoula, Montana. Click here to read it for yourself.
A few weeks back, we pointed you to a transcript of a conversation between Joe Lansdale and Andrew Vachss. Now you can now listen to that conversation—the way it was intended to be consumed—right here.
If you're looking forward to the new Cross novel, maybe you'll want to look at the whole cover, front and back. Check it out.
If you prefer to consume your Andrew Vachss stories in audiobook format, you'll be glad to know that Dreamscape has signed on to publish both Blackjack: A Cross Novel and A Bomb Built in Hell—and even more glad to learn that both will be adapted by Phil Gigante. Click here to read about it!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the eBay auction for Geof Darrow's original artwork from Andrew Vachss' short story "Pig" (Dark Horse Presents #11)! The auction closed at $553; the winner was given—and accepted—the option to purchase the second illustration from that same story. So $1,106 was raised for Protect!
With a new Cross short story (illustrated by Geof Darrow) appearing in Dark Horse Presents #13 (June 20, 2012, Dark Horse) and a new Cross novel, Blackjack, on the way (July 10, 2012, Vintage), we thought it was time to give Cross and his crew their own page on The Zero. Head over there to see what the real cover to Blackjack looks like, and to see the splash page to that new short story. And then go "like" Cross and Crew on Facebook.
On sale now! The latest issue of Dark Horse Presents includes an original short story by Andrew Vachss, featuring original illustrations by the inimitable Geof Darrow! That's cool, right? Well, how's this for cooler: You can own a piece of the art Geof created for the story! Geof has donated the illustrations to Protect, and you can bid on that Geof Darrow original here. The illustration is signed by Geof and Andrew, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Protect. So bid early and bid often!
Well ... don't say we didn't warn you. Amazon's price on Blackjack has gone up; so if you didn't already preorder, you're paying a couple extra bucks. But their 42% discount on That's How I Roll is still holding—though don't be surprised when your copy arrives as a second pritning. And ... if you preorder A Bomb Built in Hell from them, it's 46% off cover. For now. Don't expect it to last.
Speaking of waiting too long, if you missed ordering a signed copy of That's How I Roll ... you're out of luck. The few extra copies Andrew Vachss autographed sold out. But in preparing for that session, we found some copies of the first printing of his previous hardcover, The Weight, and he signed those. Get them while they last, for cover price plus shipping, at TheHumanities.org.
Andrew Vachss had a conversation with his brother Joe R. Lansdale, to discuss their recently released books, That's How I Roll and Edge of Dark Water. You can read a transcript of that conversation here and here.
If you haven't yet heard Phil Gigante's audio adaptation of That's How I Roll, click here for a sample. Then score a free copy of that audiobook here.
In their review of That's How I Roll, Kirkus writes, "[S]trikingly original ... a sharp sense of justice ... Vachss structures his novel as a sort of loose, episodic confessional that builds the story stone by stone, strewing the landscape with bodies and dispensing folksy wisdom. ... A smart, cynical glimpse into the human condition." Read the complete review by clicking here.
Andrew Vachss and the inimitable Geofrey Darrow have three original, illustrated short stories appearing in the comics anthology Dark Horse Presents in the coming months. The first of those stories, "Dead Reliable," is in Dark Horse Presents #10, on sale now.
Vintage will publish Andrew Vachss' first novel, A Bomb Built in Hell, as a trade aperback original this November. That's months away, and we know, and we wouldn't normally tell you this early, but ... as of 03-28-2012, BN.com is offering the book as a preorder at 46% off cover (that's $8.55). We don't expect that to last, so if you want a bargain, act now. And if you plan on reading it as an ebook, you should know that, once Vintage publishes the book in paperback, they'll release it in all ebook formats. But the existing Kindle edition will be disappearing at the end of April, and you can bet the price will jump when it returns from Vintage. So if you want to purchase the Kindle edition for $2.99, you don't have a lot of time left....
Andrew Vachss isn't the only member of our Family of Choice who has a book coming out next month. On March 25, Mulholland Books will release Joe R. Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water, a "perfect noir" (Library Journal) that "channels Mark Twain" (Publishers Weekly) and "has all the potential of becoming a classic" (New York Journal of Books). Click here to read an excerpt!
The public isn't indifferent—when it comes to "two party" politics, you can't order off the menu. If logic and reason were actually given a shot, it would hit the target. And, sure, it'll be slow. It has been slow. The very concept of a law practice devoted exclusively to representing children was laughed at 30 years ago. It's not a sprint; it's a grind. Child labor laws were not in the Constitution; the Dred Scott decision stood for years—and would probably still be the "law of the land" if Clarence Thomas were the only judge on the high court. The list goes on. So does the war. Remember, we only have to win once.
For more than two decades, Andrew Vachss has been railing against Florida's child-protection "system," which uses volunteers instead of lawyers to represent abused kids. But at long last, Florida finally listened.
Booklist had this to say about That's How I Roll: "In his latest stand-alone, Vachss, master of hard-boiled fiction, delivers
one of his grimmest novels yet." Read the entire review here.
Andrew Vachss' latest addition to Mug Shots got people talking on the Facebook page—a lot of that talk about the notorious 8-Ball jacket he's sporting. So what's the story behind the jacket? "Working Roots."
Donald Moeller was convicted in 1997 of raping and killing a 9-year-old girl. He was sentenced to death. Last year, Moeller filed (yet) another appeal. This time, his reasoning was, "The State's insistent use of the term predator and repeated characterization of the crime as a butchering went far beyond 'the facts surrounding the murder' ... [and its] persistent use of the terms 'predator' and 'butchered' painted a vivid picture of Mr. Moeller as a continuing threat to society and elevated the presentation of evidence beyond mere descriptions of the crime." And the example they used to illustrate the point? Click here to see for yourself.
Last week, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy warned of a "national epidemic" of youths going on violent "sprees," videotaping the attacks, and posting them on YouTube. He would have known this was coming back in 2002, if he'd listened to the whisper-stream.
If you're looking to try some new writers in the new year, here are two that Andrew Vachss recommends:
Tony Monchinski (Eden) "Joe Lansdale once told me, 'Charles de Lint is the only writer who could make me read about faeries.' Put me down for the same my brother's having--only make mine Tony Monchinski and zombies."
Steve Sundberg (Street Logic) "The (straight) answer to any fool who says you can't use 'fiction' to tell the truth. Proof that before you can pass it on, you have to pass through it. A beautiful tightrope walk over a true hell on earth ... a tightrope you can't walk with your eyes closed."
The first Cross short stories appeared in Born Bad in 1994. Eighteen years later—in July of next year—the first Cross novel will be published. You can take a first look at the cover of Blackjack, and read a brief excerpt, by clicking here.
One of Andrew Vachss' latest tweets: "It's the hardest time of year for Children of the Secret, besieged with incessant messages about the boundless joy of 'family togetherness.' " Click here to follow Andrew Vachss on Twitter.
If you sit through a ten-second ad, you can watch a news piece about the T-shirts our own Lou Bank has been selling to raise money for Protect:
Last week, we told you that Andrew Vachss' latest, That's How I Roll, would be released as an audiobook. But what you may not know is that both Shella and The Getaway Man have been adapted to audio recently, by Audie Award winner Phil Gigante. Click here for information on both.
We've had a few questions as to whether or not Andrew Vachss' latest, That's How I Roll, will be released as an audiobook. Here's the answer.
Georg Schmidt, my good and great friend as well as my true German translator, has moved on. I won't know where to until I join him, but I do know Georg ... so I expect he'll have the place sorted out by the time I arrive.
Climbing into the rings that she's climbed into, you couldn't have anything but respect for Professor Ruby Andrew, JSM. But her latest knockout punch? All of America will be feeling the aftershocks for years to come.
Rep. Sam Johnson just authored a bill that would eliminate Social Security's publicly released Death Master File, which (he points out) has been used by thieves to commit identity theft of dead children "for at least a decade." A decade, of course, bring us back to 2001. But ... wasn't Flood published in 1985? Just another politician who isn't connected to the whisper-stream....
According to the news, forthcoming elections in Congo will likely escalate violence in that African country. What? Even with all those UN forces on hand?
A week later, and the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno abuse story has all but forced the Texas judge William Adams abuse story out of the news. Meanwhile, the real story is the one we've been telling for decades: that the overwhelming majority of child sexual abuse is not committed by the kind of roving serial perpetrators who can be "profiled" for trash TV. Read Andrew Vachss' latest Tumblr column on the subject.
"Colorado Supreme Court: Neglected and abused kids shouldn't trust their lawyers." This headline out of Denver would shock you ... if you haven't been listening to the whisper-stream.
Between the release of the video of Texas judge William Adams beating his child and the revelation that Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was raping kids, and the administration knew of it for years and did nothing ... we've been deluged in the past week with requests for our thoughts. And what we think is, this is nothing new. We made a name for it, more than a decade ago: Circle of Trust. What is new is that the phrase has just had its first official citation, in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court (pg. 15 of the document, 29 of the PDF). And that brief is bigger news than either of the previous revelations: 40 states joined in support to argue that interviewing a child who is suspected of being abused should not require a warrant, court order, parental consent, or anything else that could interfere in the timely protection of that child. So when someone tells you that the judge-freak or the Penn State coach are signs that "the world is going to hell," you can tell them that it has been hell, for a lot of kids, for a long time. And point them to that Supreme Court brief as evidence that it's getting better.
"The real occupation of Wall Street began when Bush took office and sowed the seeds now being reaped." If you haven't been following Andrew Vachss on Twitter, it's not too late to start.
Arnie Green was with us, all the way, with every step. And we were with him. He left our world on October 4, 2011. We last mentioned Arnie in conjunction with the Safe House soundtrack ... but he never stopped his work until the last heartbeat. Click here to read Myron Schreck's tribute to Arnie Green.
Reflecting on his two years of columns for Comic Book Daily, Brent Chittenden characterized his conversation with Andrew Vachss as the "Interview that Scared Me," and his meeting with Geofrey Darrow as his "Favorite Convention Moment." You can read the full accounts here. We wonder, then, if Mr. Chittenden will be scared or delighted to learn that the pair will be working together on some releases from Dark Horse in the coming month. And how he'll feel about the bag he gets when he shops at Open Books in Chicago in March....
A little girl was raped, and Texas Governor Rick Perry could have prevented it. Since 2007, Protect has been telling politicians about "the map": an image of the US lit up with 500,000+ red dots, each dot representing an identifiable human trading in child porn. We (because all of us at the Zero are members of Protect) have demonstrated through crime statistics that more than 40% of the humans who trade in child porn are themselves victimizing one or more children. And we have been summarily ignored. Politicians have not provided the ICAC programs with the funds they need to investigate these humans trading in child porn. Now one of them—Rodney Williams of Houston, Texas—has been arrested. For raping and sodomizing a 5-year-old girl. Williams was on that map; Texas politicians should have taken action in 2007. But they did not commit the funds to investigate him. They could have prevented the rape of that little girl. Click here to read Grier Weeks' op-ed, "Blood on their Hands."
Chicago-area teens interested in Heart Transplant will have the chance to discuss the book at the Garfield Ridge Chicago Public Library on October 13, as part of the "10 Teen Books Discussions," celebrating ten years of One Book, One Chicago. Click here for more information.
One of the latest from Andrew Vachss' twitter-feed: "I'd like Michael Vick to have to play by the same rules he made his dogs play by—if he wins, he lives; if he loses, he's tortured to death."
Here's what Barbara Hoffert at Library Journal wrote about That's How I Roll: "Born of a supremely abusive father and his own sister, Esau Till is trouble from day one—a self-taught explosives expert and hired killer for rival mobs who ends up on death row. He's also seriously smart, while younger brother Tory is a little slow. This book unfolds as Esau's effort to tell his life story in a bid to protect Tory after his own death. A lawyer who represents children exclusively, Vachss writes raw, eye-opening works that deserve our attention."
"Until recently, courtroom dogs faced little more than preliminary objections from defense attorneys.
But earlier this summer, a New York lawyer became the first in the nation to appeal his client's conviction of raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl because a dog was used to comfort her during her testimony at trial." Click here to read the complete Reuter's story, including Andrew Vachss' view of the appeal.