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Blackjack (Cross)

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  39 reviews
TO: UNIT 3 Chicago

SUBJECT:Specimen Retrieval

TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID'ed viasignature killsworldwide. Identifiable onlyby skull-spine removal from victims. No witnesses, no forensics, no particular race targeted. On rare occasions, scraps of what appear to be playing cardsfound at murder sites.

OBJECTIVE: Locate and capture an
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Vintage (first published July 1st 2012)
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For those who don't know Vachss, the man doesn't like classifications, particularly where it concerns his novels, comic books, and other writings. He'll be quick to point out that he has no intention of delivering his dark message via some angelic figure (and so Burke was born). He'll also tell you (particularly where it concerns his Burke series) that yeah, it's fiction, but the world described is real.

Vachss is a predator who preys on predatory pedophiles.

Blackjack is a little dif
Mike (the Paladin)
Interesting book. This is the second book by Andrew Vachss I've read. The first impessed me, I liked it and the library had this one on hand. The first book (Flood) was well written with complete if somewhat unlikely characters.

This book is very much a graphic novel (where the Cross character seems to have started) without the pictures. We have a "Bondesk" group of villains vs. group of "anti-hero" misfits and some kind of mystery force or being killing "killers".

There are some standard adventu
3 stars. Although I really did enjoy this book, it is familiar territory. The main story is a re-imagining of the one already told in Dark Horse Comics' Predator: Race War miniseries. This book is an improvement on that story as one gets Vachss' full prose with all of the character details and nuance that don't come through in the comic medium (at least not as Dark Horse does comics). If you ever wanted Vachss to write a speculative horror novel, this is as close as you're going to get. At the e ...more
These are barely warmed-up leftovers that for a bonus flirt with trademark and copyright violations.

If you read any author long enough there's a pretty good chance you're going to recognize bits and pieces from their previous works, and I'm certainly willing to forgive that up to a point, as well as stretching the definitions of "novel-length". But what Andrew Vachss has done here is expand the story he created for Predator: Race War with some alterations so that the killer is no longer an extra
Tim Niland
Cross is an urban mercenary in Chicago, where he and his crew act as guns for hire on the mean streets of the city. When a shadowy government agency is unable to make any headway in a series of brutal killings that have spanned the globe, they go rogue and hire Cross and his crew to take the job and find the killers. But Cross doesn’t come easy. In addition to a considerable amount of money Cross demands a “get out of jail free card” freeing him from any crime, anywhere at any time. Which is goo ...more
Evangeline Jennings
Andrew Vachss has been one of my very favourite writers for the longest time. I own the complete Burke collection and it is no exaggeration to say that Vachss, Burke, Michelle et al have been a major influence not only on my own writing, but also on my decision to try my hand at fiction in the first place.

So I approached BLACKJACK as a fan. I left it feeling sadly disappointed.

It's just very bad.

It reads like old leftover stories cobbled together and blended in a pretense at creating a novel. Wh
David Ward
Blackjack (Cross #1) by Andrew Vachss (Vintage Books 2012)(Fiction Mystery/Crime) is the start of a new series by a fine writer. It appears to be an adaptation of a comic book (pardon me: "graphic novel") character which the author has previously published. I enjoyed this novel for the most part, and after reading several reviews, I do not with to pile on with harsh criticism. Nevertheless, I must ask: is there really any difference in the Burke cast of characters and the Cross set? They all liv ...more
Alan Mills
One of the Cross series: someone is killing people, mutilating the bodies and removing spines. A mysterious quasi-governmental group hires Cross to kill the killer. The usual mayhem, focused on child abuse (Vachss' trademark--and the reason he writes all these books), ensues.

The Cross series is not written in a straightforward narrative style. Vachss jumps back and forth from event to event...sometimes in different time periods. So this series demands more from the reader than many mystery/thri
Chris Toney
This was an interesting story but it ends with too many items unresolved. This is a bit of a cliffhanger and I don't plan to read the next book.
This novel underlines the idea that there is a difference between writing and visual storytelling. I liked the story, but was perplexed by the story flow. When I learned that Blackjack was a graphic novel, the style fell more into place. What never really became clear, though, was the nature of the unknown player in the story. I suppose, also, that I was, as the medical cliche sort of goes, looking for horses when I was staring straight at a zebra in the high grass. I need to find the graphic no ...more
Robert Peterson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan Downing
It has been a long time since I picked up "Flood", Vachss' first novel, and was blown away by it. Since then I have read as much of his material as I could find, including a couple of comic books.
That is not totally surprising, since in many ways what Vachss writes are drawingless cartoon fantasies for adults. His work is laced with a hard hardcore of fact and reality. His is not the world one wants to live in, not the world one wants for ones children. Sadly, much of what he describes is the re
Brian Oldham
Andrew Vachss is probably the most qualified author in this genre, and he is a sterling writer. He writes about the dark side of life and his books are dark. They are crushingly dark because they are as real as you can get. He forces you to look at the danger and cold heartedness of people at a certain level in society. You knew about this but never look at it. He was a policeman, detective, lawyer, advocate and crusader. He invented court room dogs, a wonderful idea.

He makes Jo Nesbo look mild
Scott Vout
Continuing in my current mode of reading new authors to me, I gave this one a try.


took me a bit to figure out where this one was going. Reminded me of a Predator movie. Epic evil-good vs evil.

I was hooked in the first chapter, but still trying to figure out why he needed the last chapter.
Lots of quality kills per minute. A couple of intriguing characters.

Apparently it is book one in a series. Not sure I enjoyed it enough to continue on.

Not sure what else to say.
Augustus Van Slyke
Perfect! Mr Vachss did it again! I always enjoy a good Vachss novel. Why? Because I haven't read any of his books that wasn't good. Looking forward to his next upcoming novel.
I miss Burke.

I know this is a Cross story, but I miss Burke. I miss Max & Mole & Terry & the Prof & Michelle & Clarence. I really miss Pansy...

But this is a Cross story. And it was good, but Cross lacks something that Burke had. Heart? I dunno.

Vachss' writing is still as gritty and hard boiled as ever, not for the faint of heart.

But I still miss Burke...
I kept hoping it would get better, but it didn't. The ending was disappointing. Characters weren't believable and the whole smoke thing was just weird. I had a tough time wrapping my head around Alex Cross being a thug, and not a heroic police detective as is true for another Alex Cross on James Patterson books.
Sherri Vigil
I enjoyed this one, even with the shadow of the movie "Predator" mixed in. Pretty action packed to the end. Liked the insight on the background of "Princess". This story has an interesting concept. I'm still sorting through personalities of Cross and the "crew". Big puzzles.

meh. This is the first Vachss novel I've read (and I've read them all) that didn't absolutely absorb me to the point of sleeplessness. It just didn't click for me. The characters didn't develop and the story line was not believable. Hope his next one is more compelling.
Vachss has a unique, gritty style...crime noir for sure. This was a little different than his other novels, though, with a tinge of the supernatural. A little more confusing and with the stylistic prose that is characteristic of Vachss's writing. Not bad, but not among his best.
Sara Maybe it's ok, and it's just me. 20+ years of enjoying Andrew Vachss might be over for me.
There is a difference between being mysterious, and just deliberately being vague and omitting stuff so it SEEMS
mysterious. I really didn't enjoy this.
I love all of Vachss's Burke novels. This was good, but a little weird, and it's hard to say why without spoiling the plot. It's different from his other work in some respects, and in many it's similar. Definitely worth a read, but not one of my favorite's of his.
Not so much a novel as a novella and a short story loosely connected. This is another entry in the non-burke realm, with a touch of the supernatural thrown in; enjoyable nonetheless, especially for fans of Vachss raw, to-the-bone idiom.
Vachss never changes. The first few Burke books were very interesting, especially "Flood." But his writing quickly became formulaic. This title does nothing to change my mind. And it doesn't even have Patty for fun.
Brad Wojak
As some other reviews mention, this book does borrow from other works of Mr. Vachss, and bends slightly to the Sci-fi, it is still a great read. Mr. Vachss is one hell of a writer and does not disappoint.
Vachss is one of my favorite authors. This was certainly an interesting story with a supernatural twist to it, but not as good as some of his other works. I feel like it could have been expanded more.
Steve Larson
Nothing much new in this novel from Vachss, I didn't really see the need to read it beyond liking the title. Better off reading Two Trains Running by him, or the Burke series.
Wyatt Earp
Meh, not his best work, not his worst. Kind of what I would expect a ghost writer for Vachss to turn out, which is a shame, since Cross is a fairly new character for him.
I hope the coming books in the new series featuring the Cross character are not as metaphysical as this book was. All in all, not nearly as good as the Burke novels.
Very explicit. Well written. Also very violent and describes well the worst of humanity. It's a book that draws you in even if you don't quite understand all of it.
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Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for “aggressive-violent” youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youths exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, two collections of short stories, and a wide varie ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Cross (7 books)
  • Genesis (Cross, #1)
  • The Bet (Cross, #2)
  • Circle Of Skulls (Cross, #3)
  • The Circle Broken (Cross, #4)
  • Cassandra (Cross, #5)
  • Bright White Light (Cross, #6)
Flood (Burke, #1) Strega (Burke, #2) Blue Belle (Burke, #3) Hard Candy (Burke, #4) Shella

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