cover image Aftershock


Andrew Vachss. Pantheon, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-307-90774-5

Prolific author Vachss (Another Life) introduces Dell, a graduate of the French Foreign Legion, in this compelling first in a new thriller series. Now retired from mercenary work, Dell lives with his true love, Dolly, in a small Oregon town where he spends his time taking care of his woman and killing those he considers the scum of society: deer hunters, animal torturers, and anyone who has anything to do with sex crimes against women. Thanks to his military training, he avoids getting caught. When a friend of Dolly’s, high school softball star MaryLou, walks into her school and shoots three students, killing popular athlete Cameron Taft, Dell tries to figure out why MaryLou acted as she did and in the process unearths a shocking smalltown secret. The extended section devoted to MaryLou’s murder trial threatens to tip into polemic territory, but readers will stick with the story, and the series, because the steadfast, relentless Dell, with his uncompromising morality, commands attention. (June)