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Two Trains Running

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  474 ratings  ·  38 reviews
In his most original and compelling book yet, Andrew Vachss presents an electrifying tale of corruption in a devastated mill town. It is 1959--a moment in history when the clandestine, powerful forces that will shape America to the present day are about to collide.
Walker Dett is a hired gun, known for using the most extreme measures to accomplish his missions. Royal Beaum
Paperback, 447 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by Vintage Books USA (first published January 1st 2005)
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Tagged by Joseph M. ChironCoraline by Neil GaimanA Life To Waste - A Novel of Violence and Horror by Andrew LennonPlebs by Jim GoforthGrundish and Askew by Lance Carbuncle
Twisted Tales
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Kiera Healy
I admit that I am slow to review this - I've been neglecting my Goodreads lately. Two months after I finished Two Trains Running, I had to skim it a bit to jog my memory; it didn't leave much of an impression. It's a noirish number with an enormous cast of characters - different gangs, criminals, politicians, etc, etc - and it's all spread rather too thin and difficult to follow. I didn't care for the protagonist, and the plot is so complicated that the characters spend most of their time remind ...more
Aug 19, 2007 Todd rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with little imagination
Shelves: crime-pulp-noir
Normally, I would recommend an Andrew Vachss novel to anyone who enjoys Hammett, Chandler, Woolrich or anyone other author of crime fiction. Vachss is the most fast-paced, gritty and violent writer of crime fiction I've read in the past few years (but I haven't read all that many others either).

In Two Trains Running, however, he not only slows down his usual pace to a crawl, he deconstructs his usual anti-hero into a lame, tongue-tied avatar of his own fate, Walker Dett, capable of only being d
In his most original and compelling book yet, Andrew Vachss presents an electrifying tale of corruption in a devastated mill town. It is 1959--a moment in history when the clandestine, powerful forces that will shape America to the present day are about to collide.Walker Dett is a hired gun, known for using the most extreme measures to accomplish his missions. Royal Beaumont is the "hillbilly boss" who turned Locke City from a dying town into a thriving vice capital. But organized crime outsider ...more
Alan Mills
A "one off" by Vachss (not part of a series...although it surely could be). Set in a small town in an unidentified state (but apparently a border state--my guess is southern Ohio/Pennsylvania or Northern Kentucky--although it could equally be Cairo, Illinois) in 1959. The local politics, gambling, sex trade, and most everything else is controlled by a local gang, which is being pressured by the Italians and the Irish. The local powers bring in a contract killer, which--as it always does--sets al ...more
I read this one ten years ago when it was originally released but surprisingly it didn't stay with me very well. That's to my benefit though as rereading it was great. It starts a little slowly and is very over descriptive at the start, but soon you find yourself hurtling down the tracks full speed ahead. This book has several irons in the fire and weaves them together well with the only regret being there hasn't been a sequel yet.
I'll always read whatever Mr. Vachss writes, but his more recent books make me miss the older ones, which had more heart. Two Trains is all plot, with two many characters spread too thinly. I didn't get nearly enough of the protagonist. Still, I like his voice, and his message and mission are consistent.
Don Crouch
You aren't ready for this. No, really. No one is ready for the amazing turn Andrew Vachss has taken his writing life. And that, of course, is the best part. Two Trains Running is a book that astonishes the reader on many levels.

Known, of course, for the durable Burke series, Vachss here takes his loyal readers down a completely different track. For those just getting on board, the welcome is there for the reading, as this is a totally new creation from Vachss. A historical noir--told in a voice
RATING: 3.25
SETTING: 1959 Locke City (fictional town in the midwest US)

Locke City is located in the central United States and has been run for decades by Royal Beaumont and his minions. It's the kind of place that becomes a destination if you're interested in gambling or other vices, with the appeal being that you won't be cheated or harassed. A place like that is bound to attract others who want to have the power and rewards of Locke City has to offer
If you like old-school, hard-boiled noirish type crime novels this is for you. Vachss has been writing these types of book for ages. Just to show you what a fan I am of his stuff I've got every book he's written and that numbers to around 18 spots on my bookshelf not including the newest one that I haven't picked up yet. He normally writes about a character named Burke who's usual scenery is the underbelly of NYC where he hijacks scumbags and torments pedophiles and other sexual predators. "Two ...more
John Grazide
Epic! That is about the only word that comes to mind. So much happening and so well told.

This is my first non-Burke by Vachss and it certainly didn't disappoint. There are a few similarities but not hardly enough to even begin to "feel" repetitive, just familiar. Some beautiful lines as well. The one that I feel will stick with me is; "The sky had broken its morning promise. A dull, leaden rain slanted down with the self-assurance of an experienced conqueror." Awesome!
Thriller - Rival factions want control of 1959 Locke City, a small "vice" open city in the Midwest. The leader of the controlling mountain men has called in Walker Dett to dissuade the encroaching Mafia interest. But as the national election looms, there are growing interactions between Nazism Black Power, IRA, FBI, police, and press factions.
Apr 07, 2015 Wendi added it
I was very interested in the book, stuck with it, got more and more confused by the ever increasing subplots and I don't know if I just wasn't paying attention, but it lost me at the end - I reread the last chapter and it was so convoluted, I just couldn't follow it.
A very good "noir" novel about a postindustrial town filled with corruption. The main character, hit man Walker Dett, is darkly enigmatic. His "ethics" as he works his way through the underworld labyrinth are fascinating to watch. Although this has many historical details (e.g. description of '50's cars), it's allegorical, not realistic. The reader gets to observe the thinking of each group of crooks/bad guys (Klan, FBI, IRA, Mafia, "hillbillies", police, gangs, politicians) through discussions ...more
This book could have been really quite good if Vachss had dropped a few subplots, but as is it's unwieldy - too many characters and too over the top (incest kids that kill their own parents and then become local crime lords face off against the Irish and Italian mobs who are trying to fix the national election for Kennedy and that is literally just one of the plots!)

All that could have been written off had Vachss not wanted to tie everything up neatly at the end, but in doing so it just draws at
Two Trains Running by Andrew Vachss (Pantheon 2005)(Fiction- Thriller). Competing criminal enterprises dispute control of a small mill town. My rating: 5/10, finished 5/29/14.
Taking a step back from the Burke novels was probably one of the smarter things Vachss has done - Two Trains Running isn't a marked improvement over them (I've come to accept that while I enjoy them, they're not great literature), but it's an interesting variation. The plot shifts between varying characters -- mob bosses, juvenile gang members, etc. (though it mostly focuses on Burke-alike Walker Dett) -- and has a sort of ticking time bomb intensity to it. The late-50s setting is also a nice sh ...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
Although there is something like one hundred characters in the story (all right, maybe not that many) and some of the time I was reading and didn't know who the heck I was reading about, this is a fun book. Set in 1959, the novel covers gangsters, the Klan, the emerging Civil Rights Movement, prostitutes, and Nazi sympathizers. The central character, Walker Dett, a contract killer, is so likable that he's the reason I was hooked fom the beginning. Shella, the novel by Andrew Vachss that was my f ...more
An enjoyable bit of Noir, but it doesn't offer anything new or strange, as some reviewers have suggested. Very much a run-of-the-mill bit of crime. Not bad but perhaps not worth everyone's time.
Dennis Osborne
This book started well, but got convoluted and the pace really slowed. It was a chore to finish after a promising start
This book had an edge to it that kept me hooked the whole time. The reader desperately wants to find out who exactly Walker Dett is and what happens to Locke City. With regards to that, it's well-written. However, while I did find this an enjoyable read, I think it's a little too ambitious for its own good, breaking off way more plots than necessary. The author also gets a little too cute with the foreshadowing. Still an interesting and engaging read, not what I expected (gangland wars-type stuf ...more
Deborah Katz
It's cheesy noir.

But in a good way. It's cheesy noir for people who would otherwise throw cheesy noir across the room.

It's a beach read if you're reading on the beach when it's cloudy and sort of cold and damp out.

It's the thinking man's noir when he doesn't want to think too hard...just wants to fall into a genre but not feel stupid about it. I mean, would the thinking man read fucking Scott Turow?

It's Sol Yurick if Sol Yurick were more retro than PoMo.
William Thomas
an absolutely astounding departure from his usual novels, this book is extremely reminiscent of jim thompson's rough edged noir. glad to see burke put on the back burner and this novel woven with a huge cast of characters and a cornucopia of agendas. an amazing novel even though it seems to lull in the middle for a bit.
Very interesting book that slowly reveals that it is not what you thought it would be at first. Vachss reveals himself to be a very good observer of the time period, especially of small town USA and shows his understanding of socio-politic of the time.
Very good noir/crime story. Highly recommended.
Long, sprawling novel set in 1959, involving various intersecting plots about political machinations, race war, gang war etc. The contract killer character is interesting, but there's a lot of typical Vachss blather that slows everything down, and it ultimately is just too scattered.
Jonathan Jeffrey
I ordinarily love the books Vachss writes. While good enough to eventually read all the way through, the book is not up to his usual standards. I only read this book after three abortive attempts. If you've not read the Burke books, do so instead or at least first.
It is a defiantly exciting book with all the action and the hired gun Dett but what got me to purchase the book was the fact that the author has an eye patch. It was so cool.
A real interesting look at a time in american crime history when tough had to be tough! Another great read by my favourite author!
It took me forever to slog through this. Parts of it were good but mostly it was just a chore to read. My least favorite Vachss book.
i couldnt even finish it honestly. i felt like going to sleep every time i picked it up. and usually i can read any book and love it.
Jul 25, 2007 Josh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The blind
The author wears an eye patch. I will probably not read anymore books that he has written even though he has an eye patch.
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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
More about Andrew Vachss...
Flood (Burke, #1) Strega (Burke, #2) Blue Belle (Burke, #3) Hard Candy (Burke, #4) Shella

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