Urban Renewal: A Cross Novel

We rated this book:


Urban Renewal by Andrew Vachss is the second novel to feature Cross although there are a number of short stories which have been developing the backstory of the man and his crew of criminal mercenaries for hire. This is a fascinating book for two reasons. In some ways it reads like one of the old fix-up novels. In the good old days of publishing when there was a booming market for short stories, authors would churn out elements of a plot in short form and then bolt them together to make a novel. Although this is entirely coherent, it’s episodic and has a tendency to disappear into the past to deliver explanatory backstory.

The second point of interest is watching an author advance an almost completely amoral protagonist as hero. The majority of authors give this person redeeming features, usually allowing “him” the role of a vigilante. Society therefore gets the benefit of the criminal behavior. Accepting the criminal as hero is therefore easier. Andrew Vachss makes few concessions in this direction. Cross may be unfailingly loyal to his friends and their families, but he’s completely ruthless when it comes to disposing of problems. If you don’t mind a high body count, this is entertaining.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Vintage Books
Publish Date 2014-Jan-21
ISBN 9780804168816
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue February 2014
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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