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That's How I Roll
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That's How I Roll

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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  341 ratings  ·  61 reviews
After pleading guilty to a series of homicides, Esau Till sits on death row, writing his life story. But his memoir is his one last chance to protect his brother. And, when it comes to his baby brother, Esau Till is a man without boundaries. When the genetic cards were dealt, Esau drew a genius IQ - and a crippled body. His brother Tory drew a 'slow' mind - and almost supe ...more
Audio CD
Published March 20th 2012 by Dreamscape Media (first published January 1st 2012)
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Kyla Crowley
This is an absurdly weird book. To be sure, I'm sure there's weirder out there. But it's not even as interesting as it clearly should be.

Andrew Vachss is certainly an original with his writing style, I will give him that. However, the real story doesn't even begin until 50 pages. Then, since you already know what happens if you read the inside flap, the story lags with 50 pages left to go. It's a miracle I waded through everything.

It gets bumped up a star for having a few quotes I did mark.

If y
...more
Jessica at Book Sake
Book Review (ARC)
That’s How I Roll is an excellent book. Esau and Tory are brothers, born of an incestuous relationship between their father and sister. They are perfect compliments of each other. Tory has superhuman strength, but is mentally slow, while Esau has a genius IQ, but is confined to a wheelchair due to spina bifida. In an effort to protect his brother and ensure his future safety, Esau takes to building bombs and provides his services to rival mobs in the area. It’s only a matter of
...more
Shawn
The average rating of this book is high, and I believe that is because Vachss attracts devoted readers. I'm not sure if I count in that group. I read all of his Burke books; they're about violence and child abuse. When I criticize his books, one of his fans will comment on it to chastise me. Don't bother, crazed fan! You are not Burke, neither am I; he doesn't exist in real life.
And that is my critique: Vachss' books are too far afield from Real Life. They romanticize killing child abusers. Some
...more
Thomas
Pretty much what I expected -- raw and overwrought. It's a variation on what Vacchs does over and over again: a killer with a heart of gold protects defenseless victims from ubiquitous evil. This time it's George protecting Lennie with a load of C-4. I think I'm done with Vacchs unless he finds a new pond to fish in.
Nick
The little sticker on the cover of my library's copy of this audiobook says "mystery." Fair enough, there are only so many sticker categories. But Vachss rarely writes "mysteries" per se, and this is especially true given the radical shift of milieu and locale, away from dark urban evil and into the backwoods, down home evil of an unnamed rural enclave. Somewhere in the zone depicted in Daniel Woodruff's Hillbilly Noir, or Pollock's Knockemstiff, Ohio, with a little of TV 's Justified or Banshee ...more
Brian
I love this guys writing. It pains me to give this two stars, but this novel doesn't have that Vachss feel. I never sympathized with the protagonist, and just couldn't get into the story. I get what he was doing, but sadly, I didn't like this one.
Shawn Manning
I am a huge fan of Mr. Vachss, but I think this one could have been improved with a little editing. To me it felt like there was a bit of repetitiveness. To my mind, it would have made a better novella than a full fledged novel.
Elizabeth
Vachss doesn't know how to write easy novels, just superb ones. Gritty, insightful, happy and profoundly sad all at the same time.
Janet Whalen-Jones
Vachss is recovering his voice after concluding the Burke series. His protagonist is, as always, a damaged yet honourable criminal. Set in a unnamed possibly southern rural community, Esau Till tells his story from death row. Fraternal love comparable that of Cal and Niko motivates extreme measures. Vachss's Burke books benefitted from the depth of characterization that only many years of development can bring; a single book, especially on this short, cannot do that. As always, Vachss shows us t ...more
Tim Niland
Esau Till is writing his memoir from prison - death row as a matter of fact. But he is a man with a plan, the state may take his life, but he will do anything within his power to make sure that his developmentally disabled brother Tory-Boy is taken care of after he is gone. The story is told in non-sequential order, with Esau in prison, finally caught as one of the premiere contract killers of his location. When one of his bombs kills a federal agent, they track him down and his fate is sealed. ...more
Elli
Vachss is back to his Burke series intensity and depth with this book as far as I am concerned. The hero is on death row relating his series of events and his plan for making sure his developmentally slow brother is safe and cared for after his death. You may not believe what these people have seen and been a part of in their lives. And that's just it...neither one uses it as a handicap; they accept and go on...and plan as Esau feels needs done. And Esau was born with spina bifida as well. Tory- ...more
Steve Windsor
A fast and furious read of the type of book I love. Flawed anti-hero with a code of justice all his own. No apologies, no regrets, and no mercy for those that have wronged him or his brother.

Essau Till loves deeply, plots like an evil genius, and always follows through on his word. Who needs police when they are as dirty as the bad-guys. Time to clean up the mess that everyone else made.

Loved it!

I'm a Vachss-ahollc, so don't take my word for it. Read it yourself!
Stven
Aug 03, 2012 Stven rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stven by: library
There was a tangled narrative thread to this and for a long time I wasn't sure we were ever going to have a story. I didn't like the way the whole book was arranged into little chapterlets running anyplace from a paragraph to a page and a half. It was all fits and starts and I almost didn't have the patience to get to enough information to make it interesting. I also -- and I guess this is just personal taste -- found it very annoying that the narrator called his brother "Tory-boy" for the whole ...more
Bukcrz
I don't know if I liked this book's content, nor am sure how I feel after I was done with the book.
For one, mystery/thriller isn't my first choice of reading material so I do not have much expectation with this book. When I started the book I liked the directness of the main character but what kept me reading was the promised expose'a to come. But what really made me stuck with the story was that by the middle of the book, I was in that place where I can't not finish it. Knowing it will end badl
...more
Viccy
Andrew Vachss writes about evil and the men that do it. This book features Esau Till and his brother, Tory-boy. Esau is a contract killer for the local mob bosses. He loves his brother beyond words. Esau has spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair; Tory-boy is big and handsome, but suffers serious developmental difficulties. They witness their father kill their mother, who is also their sister. They never had a chance in life, but they survive, doing what is needed. Esau is captured after h ...more
Sally
Audiobook

So this book was available as an audiobook from my library and it was just under 7 hrs. Thought it would be short and sweet. I got the former, but defiantly not the latter!

I'll be honest, I only got half way through part 2 (of 6), and I just couldn't finish it. It was terrible. The story was so slow. The voice was waaaay to exaggerated, and it made the story seem sooo pretentious! The narrator made it seem as if he was the shit. He just boosted waaay to much.

I *HATED* that his brothers
...more
Pamela Hofman
It's not the first time a story is told from the point of view of the murderer himself, but "That's How I Roll" is no less interesting for reviving this technique. Esau Till's voice has a lyrical quality which draws in the reader slowly, like sinking into molasses. I felt it took a bit longer than necessary to get to the meat of the story, which is one of the reasons I gave it only 4 stars, but it's fascinating all the way through and worth the journey. Perhaps, Esau's plans go a little too ofte ...more
Zach
If you like Vachss, you will probably like this.

I have really enjoyed many of Vachss novels, especially the Burke series.

What I really enjoy are the background/histories he creates for his characters and the details he provides about their lives and how thy survive. Often times, the plots are over the top and difficult to believe especially when he has characters grounded in reality --ie street wise ex-cons stop international neo-Nazi terrorists.

This novel I enjoyed as it was almost entirely
...more
Debra
This isn't for the faint of heart. Eli is an assassin and does his jobs with quiet efficiency. Eli is narrating his life story. His life is about the care of his brother. Eli writes from death row.
Mark
First book I've read of Vachss and I think I may have a new favorite author. Nothing as interesting as a protagonist who does very bad things for all the right reasons.
David Ward
That's How I Roll by Andrew Vachss (Pantheon Books 2012)(Fiction - Mystery) is the author's newest book. I've read almost all of his "Burke" series and a couple of his other books, but this is a stand-alone novel. Our protagonist here is on death row, in a wheelchair, and has only one goal in life: to protect and provide for the narrator's only relation, a mentally-challenged man-child named "Torrey-Boy," after the narrator is gone. This protagonist is a more sympathetic character than Burke was ...more
Johari
I liked this story, it was the first book I've read by the author so the theme did not bother me.

I thought Esau was interesting and I was engaged in how he got caught for the entirety of the book.
Gerhard Greyvensteyn
Utterly nihilistic. So dark it is deep noir.
Kerry Clair
Liked it well enough. Would have been four stars but it takes you 1/3 into the book before the story actually seems to start. First 1/3 rather tedious and repetitive. Once it for moving though I enjoyed it.
Kris
It would have been much better if I wasn't so confused.
Tom
Andrew Vachss becomes a better writer with each book. His characters are more of him than many writers but there are so few writers like him that it is not all that unnerving. His plots pack plenty of punch, the pace is amazing and his characters are complex. His stories are not stories that exist elsewhere in literature and he is always worth a read in my book - plus the money always funds a good cause.
Kelley Tackett
I love Andrew Vachss. I probably would love him even if he wasn't such a great storyteller. He wears a freaking eye patch. How badass is that? This was a great story told from the point of view of Esau Till a paid assassin confined to a wheelchair for his whole life due to spina bifida. Till tells the story of how he ended up on death row. I can't wait to start the Burke series. A great writer.
Chris
Meh. There's not really much of a plot beyond a character telling what has brought him to Death Row, and the story feels sloppy and haphazard. Cliches abound - the hooker with a heart of, the healing power of sex, and so on. It's a book. not sorry I read it, but not thrilled about it either. I'm not familiar with the author's other works but this just feels somewhat phoned in.
AnnieM
I liked it more than I thought I would. The narrator is perfect as is his pacing for the story.

I became attached to the characters and while some of the things Esau has to do are horrible, he does them out of love and protection for his brother.

And excellent writer for a hard boiled novel. Highly recommend for something a little different.
Tara
The characters are amazingly well-developed--"warts and all." I can't call this a page-turner because of the autobiographical nature of the novel, but it is definitely intriguing.
The story is simultaneously gritty, disturbing, and sweet.
(Listened to the audiobook. The narrator is a great match in voice, accent and inflection.)
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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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