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In my 40+ years on the front lines, I've been interviewed countless times, in endless venues. But I've yet to be asked this question: "What do you consider the most important issue in American child protection today?" My answer would be: Closing the (deliberately inserted) loophole in the Federal Child Prevention and Treatment Act which permits states to allow "representation" of children in abuse/neglect cases by lay volunteers [such as "CASA" or non-lawyer "Guardian ad Litem"]. That's right: those accused of abuse are guaranteed lawyers; those alleged to be victims of abuse are not. That is fundamentally and foundationally wrong. Morally and ethically unacceptable. Devoid of logic. Guaranteed to produce the worst results. And the LAW in (far too) many states. Changing that law is the current task of the Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection. And I don't know of more important work. Before you decide to support us (or not) look at the facts:

The difference between representation by attorneys and "representation" by lay volunteers.

The damage that results.

Where I stand on this issue.

Lawsuit demands counsel for abused/neglected children

Where do you stand?

(Updated 02-10-19)

Finally! Sex Crimes: Then and Now is available in a print (paper) edition. Sure, this is of importance to collectors. And to Old School researchers who prefer a highlighted copy on the shelf to an e-device in a drawer. But its greatest importance is to that no-cost/no-risk SAMPLING CENTER some call the Public Library. No one has to spend a dime to read this book, all it takes is a “patron request.” Note: this is not a re-print, not a “new edition,” but an entirely NEW book (which also contains the original as a bonus). Most libraries will allow online “patron requests” to order a book. Some will respond to a phone call. But they will all respond to a face-to-face. If you’ve got a library card, you’re already registered to vote. If you think this is a book people should have access to, the path is clear.

(Updated 4-26-17)

A long time coming, we know. But we wanted to make certain the first public offering from the Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection was correct on all counts and complete in all respects before its release. We'll say no more ... we'll let the material speak for itself: ... For shortcuts, go to Best Practices, then Legislative Proposals.

This is the larger issue. And this is first step toward testing the concept that, if armed with the right tools, an outraged public will ACT. The next move is ours.

(Updated 3-9-17)

There's all kinds of reviews ... and all kinds of reviewers. But when a giant such as Charles de Lint takes notice of a work, that alone is a review. We are honored.

     I can't imagine Oprah reading the Cross series, but in the 1990s she read a passage from Another Chance To Get It Right during an interview she was conducting with Vachss, and the book hasn't been out of print since then. She was, as were so many others, enthralled with this collection of original stories, poetry and allegory, combined with the gorgeous black & white art by Geof Darrow and others, all of it celebrating the potential of parenting.
     The rights and protection of children is a theme than runs through most of Vachss's books, but this is as clear a mission statement as you're going to get from the author, filled with beauty and despair, sadness and hope. It should be required reading for every new parent. It should be required reading for anyone who cares about kids and cares for kids. Andrew deserves our thanks for writing this book.
     This twenty-fifth anniversary edition features a new cover by Darrow and other new material but but the core thrust remains the same as when it was first published.
     Highly recommended.

Source: Fantasy&ScienceFiction (forthcoming: March/April issue)
Books To Look For: Charles de Lint (pp. 70-71)

Another Chance To Get It Right: Fourth Edition by Andrew Vachss and Geof Darrow, Dark Horse Books, 2016, $14.99

(Updated 3-1-17)

Perhaps you wouldn't regard a book entitled Emotional Abuse: A Manual for Self-Defense as an ideal holiday gift. But if you know one of the millions who live under the toxic cloud of such a plague, you could be giving the gift of a new life ... for $3.99. If you don't know such a person (and that's unlikely), tell your Public Library to order a copy ... that won't cost a dime. Either way (or both), you'll be helping others learn to counter attack the most persistent and pernicious bullies who walk the earth ... and know no boundaries.

(Updated 12-15-16)

Five myths about child abuse — eviscerated by Shane Dunphy, a man of courage and conviction. Well worth memorizing (and taking to heart) by all.

(Updated 12-5-16)

What is "family day care?" Can fatal child abuse be disguised as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? What happens when a top investigative journalist takes a deep, hard look? We've got all of that for you, right here:

(Updated 11-8-16)

"Stranded is a genre-transcending triumph, proof that horror isn't about blobs-in-the-basement (a.k.a., the gore that bores), it's about what's real (really) inside us all, and the pressure cooker of circumstances that brings that — all that — to the surface. With this book, Bracken MacLeod steps squarely into the highest rank of writers as he takes risks others couldn't hope to conceptualize ... and magically makes them work." —Andrew Vachss, award-winning author of The Burke series

(Updated 10-19-16)

Another Chance To Get It Right first debuted as the cover of Parade magazine in 1991.
If You Could Listen to a Child's Soul... by Andrew Vachss and Eddie Adams When Oprah Winfrey read a passage aloud during her 1993 interview with Andrew Vachss, Dark Horse was deluged with calls ... and this work has never gone out of (continual) print since. Now, 25 years later, Dark Horse is offering this widely-acclaimed book in an updated, hardcover version, featuring the original stories, poetry, and allegory in a unique celebration of the potential of parenting, with never-before-seen new material, prose and art, together with a special new cover by Geof Darrow. Currently offered at a 20% pre-release discount by the publisher, it will also be available from the usual suspects, in both print and e-versions, to be released later this month.

(Updated 10-6-16)

It took years and years of pounding on the door before our knock was answered, but now we have the proof: not only do "words matter," but we can use that same weapon to re-direct cultural poison. Finally, the major news organizations have announced they will no longer use the venomous "child prostitute" label in their reporting. Get the whole story, right here.

(Updated 9-5-16)

One of the principles of the Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection is that laws must be written to accomplish their intended objectives. See the just-released story "Hate Crime" in Dark Horse Presents and see the truth.

(Updated 8-25-16)

Almost a year ago, after walking away from an organization to which all of us had devoted so much for so many years, we asked the question, "So, What's Next?" Here's the answer:

(Updated 7-20-16)

In response to the many requests, and in tribute to those killed and injured in Orlando, we present STEP ON A CRACK.…/comics/hardlooks-step-on-a-crack.pdf

(Updated 6-21-16)

The paperback of the third nail in the Aftershock Trilogy releases June 14th. If you prefer e-format, entire trilogy now available as a package. And if you prefer the no-cost/no-risk SAMPLING CENTER (a.k.a. the Public Library), put in a "patron request."

(Updated 6-6-16)

A Riveting Look at How Sex Crimes Are Really Prosecuted by Barry Eisler

➤ What you see first displayed on Amazon (or B&N, or Kobo) is the original (described in such detail, complete with reviews) and it's included FREE with this new one ... you get both books for $4.49. Sex Crimes: Then and NOW is the true story of sex crimes prosecution on two coasts, one in a major metropolitan area, the other in a small rural community. The sickening similarities between those experiences is unmistakable, and a warning to all that if we don't make this part of the agenda in the forthcoming election, nothing will change. The "Look the Other Way, Ignore the Victim, and Protect the Sacred Conviction Rate" politics of those "specialized" units which get all the reality-TV time will remain untouched. So push the button and get the truth ... or tell your local Public Library that it's time to make the truth available to all.

(Updated 5-24-16)

My brother, the mighty Ramón Jiménez, has departed this plane. Here is one tribute to his life. Here is mine. And here is what we are left with....

(Updated 5-17-16)

The phenomenon of Secondary P-TSD was explored in depth in Aftershock. When therapists attempt "treatment" of a calcified sociopath (e.g. Jared Fogel), the outcome is never in doubt. Occasionally, such repetitive experiences induce a despair so profound it can turn a savior into an exterminator.

(Updated 5-9-16)

The new Cross launches April 19th. In accordance with our SAMPLING policy (a.k.a. the Public Library), see the free excerpt, here.

(Updated 4-13-16)

We have two new members of our backup pack, Rob Sampson's warriors Phoenix and Vax, currently leading the pack.

(Updated 4-5-16)


I was riding the Metro-North line, one of a mass of reverse commuters heading out of the city. I sat across from a scrawny, intense-looking man with short, carelessly cropped hair, indoor skin, and palsied hands. He looked me over like a junkie who's afraid of needles, his need fighting his fear.

The two of us were probably the only ones in the car not jabbering into cell phones. They weren't talking; they were broadcasting—using volume as signal strength. We were all captives.

I caught the paranoid's eye, made a "What can you do?" face. He studied me for a split second, then nodded down at the thick briefcase he had across his knees and twisted his lips a millimeter.

mask market

The fool next to me said, "Hello. Hell-o!" before pushing a button on his phone to disconnect. All over the train car, people were shouting into their phones but not getting a response.

I locked eyes with the paranoid across from me. Portable cell-phone jammers are expensive—but they're a reasonable investment for a lunatic who wants to make sure nobody watching him can report back to HQ. I would have offered the jammer a high-five, but I suspected that would start him suspecting me. So I leaned close, whispered, "You should carry a phone, too. Just in case one of these morons ever looks around and does the math."

He nodded sagely. After all, I wasn't one of Them.

Who says therapy doesn't work?

(Updated 3-15-16)

Only city people really hate the cold. In the city, it gets inside your bones and it freezes your guts. In the country, people sit around their fireplaces and look at the white stuff outside ... saying how pretty it is, how clean it looks. The snow is never clean in the city. Here, people die when the Hawk comes down: If the cold doesn't get them, the fires they start to keep warm will.

(Updated 2-16-16)

We justify draconian sentences for drug trafficking because it "hurts our children." So why do we allow judges to minimize the daily torture of victims who were forced to participate in child pornography and now see images of themselves "performing" on the Internet?

      Why has no "candidate" promised to change the LAWS which enable this filth?

"As is noted by the Government in its brief, child pornography is not a victimless crime. Indeed, "no child is capable, emotionally or legally, of consenting to being photographed for sexual purposes. Thus, every image of a sexually displayed child-be it a photograph, a tape or a DVD-records both the rape of the child and an act against humanity." (Gov't's Exhibit A, "Let's Fight this Terrible Crime Against Our Children," by Andrew Vachss, February 19, 2006, PARADE Magazine). Moreover, statistics clearly demonstrate that internet "child pornography is the fastest growing of all internet business, estimated to bring in several billion dollars a year." (Id.). Although Fuhrman and those writing on his behalf intimate that he was merely viewing the images and thus, he should not be punished so severely for viewing what others have created, this is a serious mischaracterization of the nature of this crime." U.S v. W. Scott Furham, Case No. 1:04-CR-59, U.S. District Court (Northern District, Indiana), Decided April 13, 2006

(Updated 2-8-16)

PAIN MANAGEMENT was inspired by the overwhelming response to "Dope Fiend."

(Updated 1-25-16)

I'm tired of this "destruction of the family" being blamed for every social evil. I don't think we ever had these perfect families that people like to imagine existed. I think journalists ought to take responsibility for that.

If you were an alien from another planet who picked up a newspaper—any newspaper—from the 1950s and read it from cover to cover, you would think child abuse did not exist in the United States of America. But the fact that it was never reported doesn't mean that it never existed.

(Updated 1-18-16)

What's wrong with the foster care system is that we see it as a warehouse, not as part of the continuing care given to children. So foster parents are paid simply to house and feed children. Not to participate in their healing. Not to help give them tools.

Foster parenting should be a profession. It should be another kind of social work. And we should have professionalized it many years ago.

(Updated 12-28-15)

People demand that political candidates speak to the issue of the environment, to abortion, to guns, to the goddamn internet. You could not run for President of the United States without addressing these issues, but you can, demonstrably, run without addressing the protection of children.

(Updated 12-9-15)

Jeb Bush says if he could travel back in time, he'd "kill baby Hitler." That's a moronic statement. Want to see an intelligent one? Here you go:

(Updated 11-17-15)

I formally dissociated myself from the organization known as "Protect" several weeks ago. While I am not the only "member" who resigned, I am making this public because far too many folks still regard supporting that organization as supporting my work. That is no longer true. I owe Protect nothing, but I owe you an explanation for my action. So here it is.

(Updated 9-28-15)

Anyone connected to the child protection wars knows the name Jay Howell. If you want more information, his website has all the details: The Zero is proud to showcase Jay's two-part series entitled Prostitutes: Victims of Human Trafficking. See Part I here, and Part II here.

(Updated 9-9-15)

Our society distrusts the term "evil" — we prefer scientific-sounding terms, such as "sociopath." But sociopathy is not a mental condition; it is a specific cluster of behaviors. The diagnosis is only made from actual criminal conduct.

No reputable psychiatrist claims to be able to cure sociopaths (or, for that matter, predatory pedophiles). I don't know how you rehabilitate humans who feel just fine about what they do and regret only that they have been caught.

(Updated 9-2-15)

You've undoubtedly heard of the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment." Now you can see it as a feature presentation of the "Science on Screen" series, with an Introduction by our own Joel Dvoskin, long-time Zero contributor who credentials we don't have room to list. If you want to comment, criticize, praise or simply make contact, you can find him here:

(Updated 8-27-15)

The "special consideration" granted to Roman Polanski apparently will remain the equivalent of "life immunity" from justice. After all, he's an artist. In France. A country that doesn't honor extradition requests when those offend its sensibilities. Here's the latest:

(Updated 8-16-15)

A federal panel has just granted parole to Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. You might have seen something about the politics behind this years ago ... in the Whisper-Stream

(Updated 8-4-15)

(Depending on a fullness of an individual's life), Facebook may rule ... but it disputably has rules. So do we. For our rules concerning Facebook posts, see:

(Updated 7-11-15)

The world is full of self–styled "child advocates." What does it really mean to "be on the child's side?"

(Updated 7-6-15)

Posting on the Internet is now taken for granted, but it's a relatively new method of transmitting messages. Before there were printing presses, there were cave walls. Take a walk through Underground and stroll past our Graffiti Wall.

(Updated 6-23-15)

On sale NOW — SIGNWAVE!   Signwave at Amazon

When death is the only possible outcome of an encounter, the most valuable knowledge of all is that it doesn't have to be your death.

(Updated 6-12-15)

Read all about canine warrior Caber, who stood by the side of a little girl bravely testifying in a sexual assault case. Caber is now the first canine to assist a "vulnerable child during a criminal trial in British Columbia". Then meet Sheba, one of Caber's proud predecessors.

(Updated 5-30-15)

Check out these excellent cover photos and a Signwave quote from Vintage Books & Anchor Books.

(Updated 5-27-15)

Memorial Day means more than remembering those who died in service to our country—it means not forgetting those who came back horribly damaged ... and then disappeared into the maw of our "mental health" system.


"Had to be a dead drop," Ranger said, nodding his head knowingly. He was wearing the Army field jacket from which he had meticulously removed all identifying insignia. "Once you’re deep in–country, you can’t have the gooks telling you apart by rank by sight," he had explained. "They don’t get the name–rank–and serial number routine unless they can read it off your dog tag."

I understood this to mean what an American soldier recites when captured—I had heard those same words a lifetime ago.

Some part of Ranger is always in–country. He is able to move between two worlds with such fluidity because he never remains totally in either. His mind has learned to instantaneously convert anything his senses cannot otherwise explain ... or accept. This is not so much delusional as it is adaptive—a self–taught skill.

Whenever he is hospitalized, Ranger regards himself as a prisoner of war. Because he responds correctly to "time, place, and person" questions as if reciting name–rank–and serial number, he is usually released rather quickly. He considers escape to be a POW’s duty, and believes he has achieved his release by duping his captors.

This same capacity allows Ranger to perceive me as Hmong, a Cambodian warrior tribe he holds in the highest esteem. For Ranger, "gook" has no racial connotation; it is a synonym for "enemy."

(Updated 5-25-15)

    SignWave goes on sale June 9th, but you don't have to wait until then to sample the goods. Read an Excerpt, some early reviews, and other stuff here:

(Updated 5-13-15)


      No need for rhetoric: Just go here to find out the latest crisis ... and what we can — what we must! — do about it:

(Updated 5-04-15)

The Zero has a long history of connection to Sweden, including an article in the very first issue of EXPO, the anti–fascist magazine founded by Stieg Larsson, and the first triptych haiku, created to benefit BRIS. Now, our article on political candidates running under cover of various hot–button issues — e.g., anti–abortion or "religious freedom" laws — when their true agenda is imposition of Theocracy — has a Swedish translation, thanks to our friend, Ulf Hazelcreek. Read it here.

(Updated 4-23-15)

For a great friend and our newest member of the backup pack Porkie.

(Updated 4-22-15)

Hilary Clinton has announced her candidacy. For those convinced this heralds a new era of Child Protection in America, judge this candidacy on its independent merits, not those of her husband's.

(Updated 4-15-15)

This story was written many years ago. When it first (re) surfaced as a one–act play, appearances in many other venues followed (see page for details). Sadly, it's just as relevant today ... perhaps even more so: See, e.g., our RESOURCES section, specifically "Circle of Trust." The graphic format is a form of "storyboarding," and we're showing it now because we want to actually produce this play ... all we need is one strong actor, one stronger director, a superb set designer, some cameras, and anyone you understands the mysteries of YouTube. But, for now, take a look and see what you think:

(Updated 4-11-15)

Down with SROO!
Some may think Republicans are solely to blame for Indiana's new law — the SROO [Sacred Right to Oppress Others].
And that's wrong. The Theocrats have always been there. They have just been waiting, watching for the herd of politicians to exhibit sufficient cowardice, before emerging from cover.

(Updated 4-2-15)


If we don't stop the "transfer of title" to children, some of those "used kids" will end up in the junkyard of predators. If you are ready to commit to this fight, please contact PROTECT

(Updated 3-11-15)

It's rare we have an Update to our By Hand Gallery, so take your time to take in the evocative power of Aonie Anfa's work. The only "comment" we have is that her hand–and–heart–to–canvas is, literally, res ipsa loquitor.

(Updated 3-05-15)

If the objective is important enough, you never restrict yourself to a single road into its heart. Frank Caruso's work has been called the epitome of "pop culture" by some ... but we see it as a unique style, a palette of universals that defies "imprisonment by label." See for yourself:

(Updated 2-18-15)

Can we get someone to volunteer for a painless experiment? Just go here: Okay, see where it says "Follow" under that lovely photo? They promise "Get new release updates! Follow authors to get notified when they release a new book!" So if you'll sign up, and let us know when (if) you actually receive such a notice (new book not due out for 4 months), we'd be grateful ... especially as this would help with the "mob the PUBLIC libraries" campaign. Thanks!!!

(Updated 2-12-15)

"You think stuff like Enron or WorldCom is an aberration? It's only the tip. Business is a religion. Probably the only one practiced all over the world." — Andrew Vachss Down Here

(Updated 1-21-15)

The Leelah Alcorn "case"—the one that never went to court—has left the stage by the only door that the teenager could find ... the one marked EXIT.

When her biological parents ruled—there is no softer word for their conduct—that she would be forced to undergo "conversion therapy", they eradicated any hope that she would be allowed to live as a young woman.

Should they be required to answer for their conduct as so many have suggested? My response: Why? Because she killed herself? The truth is that Leelah Alcorn's "case" is over. And it's no cliché to say it's too late now.

How many more homicidal/suicidal lessons must we take before we pass the course? They key to understanding Leelah Alcorn's life and death is Theocracy. That is, a government which recognizes a deity—any deity—as Ultimate Authority. The deity "speaks" through interpretation of words or signs. Thus, it is the interpreters who rule.

We are quick to condemn such atrocities as "honor rape" and "female genital mutilation" and rightfully so. Both impose themselves not just on willing followers, but on their victims. Leelah Alcorn was not a legal adult, true enough. Nor was she an infant, incapable of making decisions for herself. When Theocratic Rule was imposed upon her, she felt the pain, indignity, and horror of knowing that her life was meaningless. If she would not live as instructed, her only choice was to die. Had somebody—anybody—instituted a court proceeding, had Leelah been represented by counsel, she would be alive today.

Any who believe that to be an outrageous statement hasn't spent a lot of time in court. All Leelah needed to stay alive was the hope that she be allowed to live as the gender she was. (Spare me the nonsense about the gender she "chose.") If no other factor but the inevitability of appeal by whichever party "lost" was in play, that would have been enough time for the child to be legally recognized as an adult. Or, if you prefer, to escape from under the boots of "Holy Fascism".

(Updated 1-14-15)

Anyone dull–witted enough to believe that sports metaphors reflect reality — you know, "It's a war out there!" — has heard this tired cliché plenty of times: "It all comes down to who wants it more." Sure. Talent, skill, preparation don't matter. Neither does points–shaving, or taking a dive. Okay, now we all know the best crime–writing is "raw realism," don't we? Just watch a lot of movies and you'll be all set. What better way to write about sociopaths than to absorb the "vision" of screenwriters who went on too many ride–alongs.
Today's guest didn't just "want" to be a crime–writer; he needed to be one. Living proof of this truth: Forget television nonsense: Sociopaths aren't all handsome, charming, and intelligent. In fact, they're generally harmless ... unless you get between them and what they want. Ghostwriter

(Updated 1-7-15)

New Year's Eve. Okay, for all those connected with teenage children (by love, marriage, or court order) how would you like it if that kid could take a one–hour CLASS that actually reduces the risk of teens driving drunk? And if the insurance companies would provide a discount to the parents of that kid for doing so? We've already got that class — — just scroll down to the video at the bottom (courtesy of — that means donated, folks — the brilliant director, Lorraine Darrow), so your children can watch it NOW. This could be in every insurance program in America, and it wouldn't cost anyone a dime ... but could save the insurance companies billions, and a whole bunch of lives as well. It doesn't have to be your kid behind the wheel ... it could be someone else's, but being a victim instead of a perpetrator is cold comfort if it's your child whose life was changed. ISN'T IT WORTH AN HOUR OF YOUR TIME? Sure. Stay tuned for how you can petition your insurance company to start living up to its advertising claims!

(Updated 12-31-14)

"Grassroots organizing" once meant that grindingly difficult task of face–to–face enlistment. Then came the Holy Internet. Now "organizing" (for some) means a website, and counting "hits" is the measure of progress. As we have all come to experience, this flat–out doesn't work. Facebook posts "supporting" child protective efforts aren't votes ... and politicians don't fear e–petitions. When PROTECT came into existence, it was a genuine grassroots effort ... so its website lagged far behind its achievements. Now, after over a decade of work on so many fronts, our website has finally caught up with demands for improvement. Check out the new graphics, sample the ease of navigation, see how we have separated actual members from Facebook "likes," and our Lobby from our Non–Profit, go back to the original, for–real 100 Friends, use our RESOURCES, and, so much more. And, when you're ready, JOIN us!

(Updated 12-24-14)

Ever check out Righteous Reading? One of the OG's in that group is Big Wayne Dundee. It was over 30 years ago — before the Internet as we know it existed — that Wayne and his wife Pam gave all kinds of new (i.e., unpublished) crime writers a forum for others to view their work. It was called Hardboiled. And it was produced via typing, mimeograph, stapling, and mailing ... all by hand. Later taken over by Gary Lovisi — see Issue #13,Hardboiled that magazine was a labor of love ... and it showed. Now Wayne's blazing a new trail. His Joe Hannibal series was published by St. Martin's Press as paperback originals back in the day. Having recaptured the rights, Wayne's turning to e–books, and, as always, doing it the right way: You can get the first 3 books in the series for $1.49. A lot of us are going to be watching this. If it works — and my money's on Hell yes! — this concept of allowing people to "sample" books they might like at sub–minimal cost is going to catch on. Seriously.

(Updated 12-20-14)

We couldn't be more proud of Frank Caruso, whose indescribable gift has been part of our mission for decades now. His latest collaboration with Bruce Springsteen is not taking prisoners, and his legendary modesty has not deserted him despite every opportunity. Here, see for yourselves.

(Updated 12-17-14)

With more and more "pedophiles" being exposed every day, and more "Internet assassins" volunteering to kill them all (or rant about "prison justice"), it's time to bring some clarity to the issue.

Use the browser of your choice, search for "predatory pedophile," and watch what comes up first. Although we introduced the term as far back as 1989, we provide a full and complete explanation here. This message was reaching the media by slow freight, so we published "Watch Your Language" in 2005: And we are gaining traction. See, e.g. predatory pedophile priest escapes rape trial or Sandusky called predatory pedophile or father gets two life terms for illustrative examples. But even some news account which do use the correct term, such as british mom jailed take a giant step backwards when the alleged perpetrator is described as "sick." This is one of the ways such humans escape the consequences of their criminal assaults. Every time we refer to a "pedo" as "sick," we increase the odds of a successful "insanity" defense. And there are those who (maliciously or moronically) attempt to conflate "predatory pedophile" with "homosexual," such as: "homosexual predatory pedophile." The truth? Pedophiles are not "homosexuals." We would not call a man who molested a five–year–old girl a "heterosexual." Whatever the sex of the adult and the child, the proper description is simple: the adult is the perpetrator, the child is the victim. Bottom line: Even if so–called "pedophilia" actually existed, it would refer to a state of mind, not actual conduct. Unless we distinguish between the two by calling those who prey upon children what they are — predatory pedophiles — we will not focus our (limited) resources on the correct target. Yes, (some) court decisions have used the correct term, and the trend toward precise identification is spreading. And even novelists have, to some small extent, adopted it. But if everyone who felt compelled to post their "the only cure for a pedo is a .45 caliber lobotomy" nonsense sent a dollar instead of impotently clicking a mouse on an e-petition, we could fund the backing of all those running for office who understand that Child Protection is Crime Prevention, we could back a "swap–out" of our nation's prisons by removing all those who do not belong behind bars — e.g., a pathetic loser whose third shoplifting conviction evoked the "Three Strikes Law" and is doing life as a result — for those who now avoid incarceration by virtue of being seen as "sick." And we could separate the truly dangerous from access to children by offering them a life inside prison walls instead of useless "treatment." It's just one extra word — but it's a game–changer. So the next time you hear of a human who sexually assaulted a child (and make no mistake, child pornography is sexual assault:), avoid the stampede of those who feel a need to pound their chests by "calling for" the death penalty for all "pedos," and think of predatory pedophiles as what they really are: a threat to our species.

(Updated 12-11-14)

Hello Everyone! We have some new pictures of Princess TovaNova for you this week.

(Updated 12-4-14)

In the U.S., many of us are gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. Whether it's with true family (be they biological or otherwise) or something different, we at The Zero are always thankful when a dog who has known nothing but abuse and mistreatment her entire life is taken in by people who will welcome her into their pack.
When that person is Andrew Vachss, we all know the dog will be treated right. We're particularly thankful today to be able to introduce you to one such dog. More pictures of her will be forthcoming, but for now, have a look at Princess TovaNova, the newest addition to the Vachss pack—she's a real beauty!

(Updated 11-26-14)


The latest Vachss graphic novel -- Underground -- has just been released. It features an essay by PROTECT advisor and HERO Corps counselor, Zak Mucha, in which he eloquently explains the connection between the Underground stories and transcending child abuse.

(Updated 11-18-14)


(Updated 11-12-14)

This coming Tuesday, UNDERGROUND will finally be released in bookstores (free-standing and online). As we've explained, it probably *won't* be in any PUBLIC library unless specifically requested, as notices were not sent out timely ... or even accurately. If you're interested in a "preview," here's a sample. This was for the comic shop market, but we've yet to locate a shop that actually got notice of the release. So why include it now? Because we don't expect actual reviews of this one for some time to come, so we won't be asking you to sample the book at the library first, and that "preview" is the only source known to us of the book's actual contents.

(Updated 11-06-14)


If you're looking for UNDERGROUND at your local library, we'll save you the trip: It won't be there. But don't blame the library. They rely on various "review" sources -- such as Library Journal, Booklist, even PW -- to let them know when something's in the pipeline so that they make an ordering decision. However, those services require at least 3 months lead time from receipt of a "galley," and not one galley has gone out yet. It should be in comics stores by the time you read this, but won't be in bookstores for another couple of weeks. But don't expect much there, either -- they work off reviews as well. Yes, they can return unsold books, but with inventory space shrinking, stores closing, and Amazon trampling the competition even deeper into the ground, probably not enough of an incentive. We can truthfully say we're sorry about this, but we can't apologize -- it wasn't our fault.

(Updated 10-29-14)


AVAILABLE IN BOOKSTORES AND FROM AMAZON (at major discount). IF YOU PRE-ORDER FROM AMAZON(now @ 27% off), BE SURE TO CHECK first, so you can designate PROTECT as *your* charity. Costs you *nothing*, as every little bit helps. Remember: Child Protection = Crime Prevention.

(Updated 10-11-14)

We know we can't change Facebook, but we can change the way our posts look and the info they impart. So, from now on, look for this logo AV_Dispatches image
when we're referencing dispatch articles now resident here on The Zero in our FB posts.

(Updated 10-02-14)

The Zero has been providing services and compiling a huge database of Resources, serving as a "Library" of sorts for the work of Andrew Vachss and others, and keeping our users informed of what's going on in the world, vis the issues that concern us, for close to 20 years now. And...we've never charged anyone a single penny to access our site and take advantage of all The Zero has to offer, nor will we ever. We want this information to be available, to be shared, to be acted upon.

The only use we do not want people to make of our material (we renew the copyright notice yearly) is to quote from it without attribution, pull a quote out of context without linking to the entire article, or pretend they wrote it themselves. As we've been known to say: "Use it all you want—don't steal it."

(Updated 09-24-14)

Speaking of the reliability of "news," did your local comics shop get this feed?

(Note: it's been changed yet again!)

(Updated 09-18-14)

If any of you knows a comic shop, could you please pass this along?

We know that, unlike bookstores, comics shops do not have a "return privilege." They have to take the risk of buying any graphic novel, and if it doesn't sell, they're stuck with it.

Comics shops get an electronic catalog from Diamond. Which means they got this garbage about our forthcoming graphic novel.

Who would buy off such a trite, banal, generic description? What they should have received is this.

We cannot change the Diamond catalog, so if you would pass the correct info along, it would give UNDERGROUND a fighting chance.

(Updated 09-10-14)

This is one of those things that sounds so weird, you've just got to check it out—and once you do, you'll be forever glad: Bruce Springsteen's "Outlaw Pete" Reborn as a Children's Book. This book comes from one of Springsteen's songs, and is illustrated by Frank Caruso.

Says Andrew Vachss: "I'm no authority on Springsteen, but when it comes to partners, he could not have found a better one than Frank Caruso."

From Mr. Caruso's illustrated haiku, to his work on Heart Transplant, readers of The Zero are sure to be familiar with Mr. Caruso's work. As art director for King Features for two decades, Frank Caruso has developed a style that speaks to all ages, for all ages. Together, he and Andrew Vachss invented the "triptych haiku," which has proven unparalleled in its ability to communicate.

How will this all work with a Bruce Springsteen song? I don't know—but I'll sure be stoked to find out!

(Updated 09/04-14)

We at The Zero always appreciate it when one of our users sends in a suggestion for our Resources section.

Most often, we receive headlines, articles, and stories about the matters that concern us here at The Zero. These are easy enough to source, and include in our database (or, occasionally, not). It's rare, however, for any of our users to send recommendations for actual, local agencies and organizations that they've found helpful—or that they are familiar with, and willing to vouch for, because they volunteer there.

Because we cannot simply take any group or organization's word that they are those we would include here at The Zero—we want recommendations from users who are willing to personally vouch for the groups they suggest. After all, who would ever question the National Center for Missing and Exploited children —or the Fresh Air Fund, one of the most venerable and respected institutions of its day? What we would love to have, are recommendations from users who personally know, and will personally vouch for, the groups they recommend.

We also hear from folks who say they donate to PROTECT (which we're always glad to hear!) but feel they'd like to do more. Here is a suggestion: next time you hear about a local group that concerns itself with the issues that concern you, go check them out. If they seem to be the Real Deal, why not give them some of your time as a donation? Then, once you're familiar with the group or association, please feel free to recommend them to The Zero, so we can help them receive the wider attention that they deserve.

(Updated 08-27-14)

"No animals were harmed." How many times have you seen that assurance at the end of a movie? The public demands that films including animals be monitored by a credible organization, whose seal of approval certifies the animals' safety during production.

But have you ever seen a credit stating that "No CHILDREN were harmed" during the casting, production, and direction of a movie?

Why not? Because no film company would ever endanger children while making a movie?"

This was Andrew Vachss' Tweet for Monday, 08/18/2014, reprinted on the Facebook pages, and it immediately kicked off a firestorm: Kids are protected on movie sets! They even have school on movie sets! There are always people around on movie sets, so no specific "watcher" need be appointed!

To us, it seems like both a simple—and necessary—action for a multi–billion–dollar film studio to take to protect the child actors who help make their money. Frankly, some of us at The Zero were surprised and disappointed by the response ... Andrew Vachss, however, was not. People don't like it when their "Sacred Movies" are criticized, and many are apparently unwilling to politely ask—never mind demand—that any major studio take a very simple step: see to it that children are afforded the same level of protection as animals on movie sets.

If you'd like more information on movie directors, musicians, talent scouts, etc., who exploit, rape, and entice children—and their parents, whether your typical "stage mom/stage dad"—or those deluded enough to believe they can trust complete strangers with their children's safety, because they've seen them on TV...or love their music...or they're universally acknowledged as wonderful movie directors...or they're the best coach out there for a young Olympic hopeful—check The Zero's Resources section, Circle of Trust Articles and click on the "Celebrities/Public Figures" section.

Then tell us again how protecting children on movie sets is "unnecessary."

(Updated 08-20-14)

The Zero has gotten a lot of mail recently regarding the Australian–Thai surrogacy case—you can follow the story along with us, in the Adoption section of The Zero's Resources, if that is your wish.

Those familiar with Andrew Vachss know that he supports adoption—by human beings, as opposed to the return of children to their abusers, so CPS sees the same children, month after month, year after year. And yet, as "Family Reunification" is the goal, the choice those CPS workers face is: return the children to their abusers until it becomes a matter for the homicide cops, not you; institutionalize the children (as their "family" members take "Parenting" class after "Parenting" class), or permit them to grow up, shuffled from place to place in a limbo of "permanent foster care."

Yes, when human beings wish to take in a child to love and provide for him or her, Andrew Vachss and all at The Zero support them in their endeavors.
But when "adoption" is a euthamism for human trafficking, you need not ask what Andrew Vachss, or any of us at The Zero, feel about it then.

(Updated 08-13-14)

It seems that the U.S.A. isn't the only country in the world to keep its juvenile offenders in solitary confinement for long periods of time. Or to run them by the law of the jungle, with 'help' from 'cooperative' inmates all too eager to cooperate in bullying, violence, and rape, with the expected resulting suicides and unsuccessful attempts from those not so privileged: "Roughly 70% of adolescents sent to solitary have a mental health diagnosis. Even those without such diagnoses begin to exhibit mental health issues after short periods in isolation. When they do, they often face hurdles to getting help."
One of The Zero's users sent us the following example from the U.K.:
"A notorious young offenders institution has been compared to Lord of the Flies after an official report linked hundreds of incidents of self–harm and several suicides to high levels of bullying and violence.
Prisoners at Glen Parva YOI in Leicestershire, one of the biggest such institutions in the country, felt so unsafe that many deliberately committed offences to ensure they were placed in segregation units, according to chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick.
Inspectors also found "evidence of prisoners charging 'rent' for cells with the threat of violence if this was not paid," according to his report published today.
Some staff were "too willing to accept violence as an inevitable part of life at Glen Parva," Mr Hardwick said."
In 1982, Andrew Vachss was already addressing issues of juvenile justice and juvenile corrections. Sadly, his words have every bit as much import today as they did thirty years ago.

(Updated 08-06-14)

A few recent headlines: Megan's Law Offender charged in sexual assaults in Greenburg, PA ... Megan's Law Sex Offender Enticed Girls with Booze, Pills ... Upstate NY man who raped girl, killed mother, sentenced to life in prison, a case in which the offender, out on bail for child pornography charges, carjacked a woman, murdered her, then raped her 10–year–old daughter—after disabling the GPS device he'd been ordered to wear (for the "protection of society", of course).
Back in 1994, Andrew Vachss wrote about Megan Kanka, and a Law named after her, and how to give such a "community notification law" some actual teeth. As Vachss states in the Dispatch: If our community accepts another media–genic "solution" to the horror of dangerous sex predators targeting our children, we have only ourselves to blame.
There is one thing you can do today, right now—look up. Do you see that graphic? Click on it. It will take you to Protect, an organization dedicated to the issues that concern us, and to making a difference.

(Updated 08-06-14)

Zero supporters know that we consider investigative journalism to be what stands between us and fascist rule. Without reliable sources of information, democracy cannot survive. So we are especially proud to announce that one of our own, David Hechler, has just been awarded the the American Society of Business Publication Editors' prestigious 2014 Stephen Barr Award.

Mr. Hechler, executive editor of Corporate Counsel magazine, is the 2014 winner of ASBPE's Stephen Barr Award for his article "Lost in Translation," an April 2013 story of Toyota's "sudden acceleration" problems.

Stephen Barr Award judges called his Toyota article "an outstanding piece of public service journalism." Said one judge, "The story engages an important issue and demonstrates an enterprising and investigative spirit, even as it displays fair–mindedness in the reporting. It is clear and direct, despite the complexity of the case. Opening with a vivid description of a panicked 911 call placed from a runaway Toyota Lexus just before a horrific 120 mile–an–hour crash killed its four occupants, a hard story to stop reading."

In addition, Mr. Hechler received the National Gold Award in the category of Impact/Investigative Journalism from the ASBPE. Congratulations, and respect to David Hechler from all of us here at The Zero.

(Updated 07-30-14)

This article by Andrew Vachss from 1998, "Our Endangered Species: A Hard Look At How We Treat Children" is still all too relevant today:

"Although we all believe our human species to be the highest point on the evolutionary scale, there is one critical area in which we have failed to evolve, one area in which we do not represent an improvement upon our predecessors. And this is a failure so fundamental, so critical, that our long–term survival is at stake. Ultimately, it poses a greater threat than war, poverty, hunger, crime, racism and tribalism—even of the genocidal variety—combined.

That fundamental failure is this: We are not protecting and preserving our own. Our notion of the human "family" as the safeguard of our species has not evolved. Instead, it has gone in the opposite direction—it has devolved.

It has devolved to the extent that we tolerate unprotective, even violently abusive parents. It has devolved to the extent that we tolerate predators within a child's circle of trust — in schools, in clubs, within religious organizations. It has devolved to extent that abusers, even when they have been identified, are permitted further opportunities to prey. It has devolved to the extent that we insist on the "rehabilitative potential" of those who viciously injure and/or sexually assault their own children. And it has devolved to the extent that we permit convicted predators of children to be released and walk among us.

We cannot continue to tolerate those who prey upon our children—the future of our species. Evolution is a race, a relay race, with the baton passed from generation to generation. The competition is between those who value children as the seedlings of our species and those who value them as vassals and victims."

It's time for us to stand up ... or stand aside.

(Updated 07-23-14)

We just discovered the following review of Shockwave at Everyday E-book. Sounds like the reviwer has been enjoying Dell and Dolly for a while now:

"You'll mainline this thriller for its expertly paced plot and fascinating characters. And you'll come away realizing that, along the way, Vachss has made you think deeply about hate crimes, mental illness, money, and our frail construct of personal security in American society.

"Shockwave is the second installment in Andrew Vachss's new thriller series, which began with Aftershock. Dell and Dolly were first introduced in the excellent, surprising, and wholly satisfying short story "As the Crow Flies," contained in Vachss's collection entitled Mortal Lock. We finished that story wanting more, lots more, of sort–of–retired mercenary Dell and his ex–Doctors Without Borders nurse wife Dolly and were delighted to learn Vachss had plans for an entire new series starring the two."

Needless to say, we are delighted by their delight. If you haven't given SW a try yet, you could purchase, download, or check with your local public library—if they don't have a copy available, request that they get one for you—it is their purpose to serve the public, after all!

(Updated 07-16-14)

The concept of "Secondary Trauma" or "Secondary PTSD" is not a new one—although it finally seems to be getting more attention from the helping community.

This Guest Dispatch by Roger Friedman, Ph.D., LCSW, "The Importance of Helping the Helper," originally published in the Winter 2002 issue of Trauma and Child Welfare and re–printed and archived by The Zero shortly thereafter, is more than a decade old, yet contains the following (unfortunately, still relevant) material:

"In the past few years a new and deeper understanding of the prevalence and impact of traumatic stress on child welfare staff has developed. It has long been recognized that child welfare agencies are rewarding but very difficult places to work—agency resources are usually inadequate, client numbers and needs are great, demands for speed and productivity are high, and salary/benefits are usually very low. General work stresses such as these, which exist in many human service settings, can contribute to difficulties in recruitment and retention as well as low morale and burnout. But there is a new understanding of the challenges of child welfare work. We know that frequent and prolonged exposure to traumatized individuals, families, and communities inevitably creates secondary traumatic stress for the helper. Secondary traumatic stress, which can evolve into post–traumatic stress disorder, is caused by directly or indirectly helping severely traumatized children and adults."

Secondary PTSD was a prominent theme in the first novel in Andrew Vachss' new series, Aftershock:

"Qualifying Debbie never got past her saying she had personally interviewed over one thousand rape victims, and had written several papers and a book on the subject. And her answer to Swift's front question was the "education" T.D. had already told everyone was more valuable than any degree.
"Secondary Rape Trauma Syndrome is what happens when someone has seen too many rape victims, heard too many rapes reenacted, watched the permanent damage it does no matter what efforts are made to help. In a way, it's worse than Primary." (Pg. 323)

In the second book, "Shockwave", the theme continues as we learn more about Dolly:

"She was finished with the unrelenting parade of hurt, crippled, and wounded people. Not just soldiers. Gang–raped women. Children missing both their forearms, left alive only to send a witch doctor's message—the trademark of the Lord's Resistance Army was to force a child to hack limbs off his own sister. The child knew if he refused he would die... and his sister would follow, raped to death." (Pg. 7)

Secondary trauma is an urgent problem. Intelligent, educated, experienced people have been proposing ways to improve "The System" for decades now. We, as a society, need to begin implementing real solutions to real–life problems, and the best way we at The Zero know to do that is by supporting PROTECT, an organization in its infancy when we published Dr. Friedman's Dispatch, but which has accomplished more in its 12 years of existence than anyone would have thought feasible—let's keep proving those cynics wrong!

(Updated 07-09-14)

An article this past Monday regarding the recent surge in undocumented minors at and inside U.S. borders, proposes legislation to provide these children with attorneys, as "forcing children to face deportation proceedings alone goes against fundamental American values."

"It is a fantasy to believe that they have a fair shot in immigration proceedings without counsel," New York U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries told a news conference.

The necessity for children's interests to be represented by independent legal counsel...does that sound familiar? Perhaps from this interview with Andrew Vachssfrom *1990*?

CI: "Are court–appointed advocates, such as guardians ad litem, useful in protecting a child's rights and guarding against what might be called judicial child abuse?"

VACHSS: "I want to be very, very clear about this. Are they useful? The answer is, they can be. Are they ever a substitute for actual representation by lawyers? No. Underline no. Repeat, NO. I think that concept represents one of the most pernicious trends in child protective work in this country today. There are states—and Florida is an excellent example—where a child who is the victim of abuse will not be represented by a lawyer but will be represented by a 'court–appointed special advocate' [CASA]. These people are not lawyers. Because they're not lawyers, they can't represent a child in terms of the totality of that child's needs. They can't file a motion. They can't argue before a court with any kind of force."

(Updated 06-25-14)

This excerpt from Shockwave:

Finally, he said, "Schizophrenia is a permanent state of delusion; it may vary in intensity, but it's always ready to come when it's called. It's embedded, but it—"
"Embedded, that's like you're born with it?"
"The brain doesn't work that way. You can be born with some things, like the extra chromosome in Down Syndrome. And there's plenty who'll tell you schizophrenia is congenital. There's even a movement that's claiming you can be born a psychopath. But the latest research—scientific research—is all going the other way—there's a clear connection to early childhood abuse."

...ties into a subject that Andrew Vachss has been writing about for more than the 20 years (!!!) it's been since You Carry the Cure in Your Own Heart was written.

Go give it another read, paying special attention to the updated information contained at the end of the Dispatch — then take another look at the above excerpt. Can you see the tie–in?

(Updated 06-18-14)

This week, The Zero welcomes its newest Backup Pack member: Blanche.

No, your eyes don't deceive you: Blanche is a cat. Not just any cat, but a very special one. Though the Backup Pack has always featured dogs, an exception was made because Blanche's human, Rick Conti, is Andrew Vachss' brother — and any cat with enough heart and loyalty to inspire such devotion in a man who exemplifies heart and loyalty is a welcome addition.

Though gone from this world, Blanche lives on, forever surrounded by the fiercely loyal protection of The Zero's Backup Pack.

(Updated 06-11-14)

We have added a new Category to The Zero's Resources section: Theocracy as Fascism. The Zero's intent with this newly–added (but often integral) category is not to disrespect any religion, spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof. Our only concern is behavior. Our equation is simply: Theocracy = Fascism. It matters not which particular religious mantle such individuals cloak themselves in — Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist — anyone who forces compliance with their own "interpretation" of religious doctrine is a fascist, and you already know what The Zero thinks of fascism.
(Updated 06-04-14)

Amazon has just lowered its price on the Hardcover edition of SHOCKWAVE significantly - if you're interested, now really is the time to order! For those who have pre-ordered, as always, we thank you for your support.
It is our understanding that, for those who Pre-Order (which you have till Monday to do, if you haven't already) Amazon guarantees the lowest price charged on a book between its order and its publication date, so please review the info provided by on its site regarding Pre-Orders, and check your credit card statement to ensure that you were charged the lower price.
The Zero is extremely grateful to those of you who were willing to buy SHOCKWAVE, no matter its price — so we want to make sure you get the discount you've got coming! If you have not yet ordered Shockwave, this is your time to do so at a deep discount on the Hardcover edition.
Additionally, if you haven't yet ordered the book that kicked off the new series, AFTERSHOCK, consider ordering them together—that way you'll get free shipping as well!

(Updated 05-30-14)

The wait is almost over — Shockwave, the second installment of Andrew Vachss' new series, will be released next Tuesday. That's June 3, 2014—mark your calendars!
All formats: Print Hardcover, eBook, and Audio. Your local PUBLIC library should have at least one version, but if they don''t, they can get the first episode of this series in trade paperback format, and start from the beginning.
After all, public libraries exist to serve their patrons ... right?

(Updated 05-28-14)

With just a little over two weeks to go until Andrew Vachss' Shockwave is out—in hardcover and Kindle editions at Amazon, audio from Dreamscape, at your local bookstore, and your local Public library—you've still got time to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program!
Using the above link brings you in through the "Protect door"—the National Association to Protect Children is pre–selected, so all you have to do is sign in as you normally would, confirm that you want Protect to be your chosen charity—and start shopping. That way, you'll be able to continue with the new Vachss series and benefit Protect at the same time!

(Updated 05-21-14)

We would like to thank The Zero's users for helping make the Amazon Kindle Daily Deal of Aftershock such an incredible success: At $1.99, Aftershock ended up #9 across ALL Kindle categories for the day, and #1 in ALL the genre categories: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense and Crime.
This was an experiment: in addition to picking up new readers (and thus, spreading the message as far as possible), Aftershock, as the first book in a new series, allowed people to "sample" the writing (as they now can music) — those who liked the taste are more likely to want the next bite.

(Updated 05-14-14)

The reason any writer writes is so people will READ, and e-Books are definitely one way to do that. However, as always, the PUBLIC Library is The Zero's favorite bookstore. We were just sent the following link.
The example is from the Omaha Public Library, and shows how many copies of Shockwave were ordered, how many already on hold, etc. It works in other public libraries as well, though some of them have a different address. Try it with yours — go to your local public library's website and see! This way, citizens can not only discover if a given book has been ordered, but request the book online.
All this to say, if you missed out on the eBook deal, it's not too late for YOUR library to order Aftershock in trade paperback format ... which you really should read before moving on to Shockwave!

(Updated 05-14-14)

"Maybe you were forced to fight; maybe you were the aggressor—that doesn't matter. If you wanted to be paid in respect, the highest peak was to show a piece of the enemy, prove you were close enough to touch him." The e–Book edition of Andrew Vachss' Aftershock has been selected as an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal, at $1.99 for one day only — this coming Friday, 05/09/14!

With the second installment of the AFTERSHOCK series, Shockwave, due this June, this is a perfect way to familiarize yourself with Vachss' new series from the beginning. Think of it as throwing $2 at the Win window at the track—if you love the book, then your longshot paid off; if you don't like it, hey—you're not out much!

Mark your calendars for Friday the 9th, then head on over to the Kindle Daily Deal, or back to The Zero website, where we'll have a clickable banner in place, all day, that day only, to get you to the right location.

If you haven't checked out the Amazon Smile program yet, clicking on the Amazon Smile link will enable you to select the NAPC's Education Fund (Protect's charitable arm) to receive a donated percentage of everything you buy at Amazon — not just Vachss, not even just books — but any covered product at Amazon. (Updated 05-07-14)

If all you read on the "Elmo puppeteer case" was the headline, you might understandably believe this human was "found innocent" or "wrongfully accused" as opposed to having the charges dropped due to a Statute of Limitations ruling.
Same thing with CBS anchor Rob Morrison: Anchorman Cleared, doesn't much sound like a case where a man who'd pled guilty to choking his wife was later permitted to withdraw his plea and have his record cleared after completing a Domestic Violence Program.
It seems the media still hasn't learned what Andrew Vachss wrote about back in 2005: Watch your language. The words we use actually shape the perception ot the matters we discuss, in both conscious and unconscious ways. (Updated 05-07-14)

Here's what Publishers Weekly has to say about Shockwave, the second installment of Andrew Vachss' new AFTERSHOCK series:

"In Vachss's engrossing sequel to 2013's Aftershock, a battered corpse with a shattered skull washes up on the beach of the Oregon town where Adelbert "Dell" Jackson and his wife, Dolly, have settled, determined to live peacefully under aliases. The only clues to the dead man's identity are in the Nazi tattoos covering his body. The police arrest Homer, a schizophrenic homeless man, for murder after he produces the victim's watch. Mack, a social worker colleague of Dolly's who believes Homer is innocent and won't survive confinement, asks Dolly for help. Dolly turns to Dell, who's forced to return to the violent life he forsook when he joined the French Foreign Legion. Along with Mack, Dell explores a dark world inhabited by the homeless, hate groups, and tattoo artists. Intelligently drawn characters and assured prose help make this crime novel a winner. (June)"

More information from Dreamscape Audio about the audio book version of Shockwave has arrived: confirmation that "Favorite Dual Narrators" Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross will be performing the vocal acting for this book as well, meaning Dell's and Dolly's "voice personae" will remain constant throughout the series!
From Dreamscape:
"Phil Gigante is an APA Audie Award winner (The Dark Highlander, The Stainless Steel Rat, and The Watch That Ends the Night), and winner of over a dozen Audiofile Magazine Earphones Awards. He has narrated and directed more than 250 books, and was twice named a 'Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense' by Audiofile Magazine. He has been named a Best Male Narrator in the categories of Romance, Science Fiction, Militaria, and Mystery/Suspense, as well as 'Favorite Dual Narrator' (with Natalie Ross)."

As most of those currently subscribed to The Zero's Insiders E–mail List are aware, we're currently doing some updating to the site. If you signed up for this program and didn't just receive an e–mail about this...or if you haven't heard from us in a while...please go to our subscription page and enter your current e-mail info.
Please read the text in red at the bottom of that page for tips on how to receive the info you're signing up for: you may have to add us to an "approved" or "whitelist" for Bulk mail if your spam filters require it, for example.
If you have received last week's e–mail and already responded, you need do nothing else. We thank you for your continuing support!
(Updated 04-23-14)

Information about Shockwave,has begun to trickle in...
A digital review copy ......and confirmation that Dreamscape Audio will be handling the unabridged audio version.
More to come as we approach release date! In the meantime, you might want to ask your local PUBLIC library if this book has been ordered, and let them know you'll be looking to them for your copy. (Updated 04-16-14)

From The Weekly Lizard, presented by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Books: "Welcome to Aftershock,, the opening salvo in Andrew Vachss's first new major crime–fiction series since the vastly popular Burke saga, which launched with the smash–hit Flood, in 1985. In this new chapter, Vachss has moved the setting to a sleepy small town, yet the story is no less dark—or engrossing." With Shockwave, the next in the Aftershock series due out this June, here is an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the book that kicked it off. (Updated 04-09-14)

As state after state vows to ban Zohydro — approved by the FDA as an acetaminophen–free version of Vicodan — maybe it's time to take a look at what The California Society of Addiction Medicine has to say about Andrew Vachss' Pain Management (published in 2002!). (Updated 04-09-14)

According to Delaware Online, "A Superior Court judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3–year–old daughter noted in her order that he 'will not fare well' in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show."

This is what Andrew Vachss has to say: "In sentencing perpetrators, the criminal justice system doesn't simply punish, but also sends a message.
The message this sentence sends the child victim is: 'You don't count. The 'parent' who brutalized you, who stole your childhood, who damaged you in ways most people wouldn't even believe, is not only free, but free to continue the same crime. Simply put: that person owns you." (Updated 04-02-14)

"Marijuana pills and sprays ease MS symptoms" ... "Mexican cartel henchman arrested for killing children to harvest their organs" ... "FBI suspected iconic 1964 Ali-Liston fight was rigged by mob" ... not one of these headlines will surprise you, if you've kept your ear to the Whisper–stream.
(Updated 03-26-14)

At the 60th Annual Jesse H. Neal Awards, our own David Hechler was honored for "Best Single Article." His cover story on Toyota's sudden–acceleration issues (and how that company dealt with them) finally took home the top prize. (Note: "finally" is not sarcasm: Hechler is a five–time [!] finalist for this award.)

No stranger to investigative journalism, Hechler had previously contributed the concluding essay to Batman: The Ultimate Evil covered child abuse litigation on many fronts, and is the person to whom "Ghost Writer" is respectfully dedicated in Mortal Lock.

We trust you share our pride in his achievement, and our admiration for his Old School "purist" journalism.
(Updated 03-19-14)

In case any of you missed it, you can still catch up to the new Aftershock series without missing a beat. The paperback of the series opener was just released, and the next chapter won't be out until June.
(Updated 03-12-14)

Congratulations to our own Trey Bundy, whose journalism is keeping the torch flaming ... and moving him into some special company, too.
(Updated 03-12-14)

Lots talk it; far fewer walk it. Congratulations and Respect to Thomas Pluck, creator of The Protectors Anthology, which has already raised $2,463.41 for PROTECT as of March 1st (!)
(Updated 03-05-14)

Did you read the story a couple weeks ago, about the child rapist moving next door to his victim? And blaming that victim for the abuse? Yeah, we did, too. And here's what we think.
(Updated 02-26-14)

"I stumbled over questions as to why I liked my job; I understood it was not a 'normal' job and, even in the mental health field, was at the extreme end of the spectrum. As the supervisor of a social work program with 70 clients suffering from severe psychotic symptoms we were on-call 24/7. We had to keep people housed, on meds, and off the news. I had to convince severely psychotic people to hand over their knives, crack paraphernalia, and once even an extremely cheap samurai sword. ... I was proud when others admitted they would not want my job." Read all of Zak Mucha's latest essay, "The Trick is Not Minding That it Hurts: Childhood terror, psychosis, and self–definition," originally published in Spolia Magazine, issue 7, January 2014.
(Updated 02-19-14)

Aftershock is being released in trade paperback on March 11. Check out the cover here, and read an excerpt here.
(Updated 02-19-14)

Don't let the image above—or any of the comic-book images used in recent tweets"confuse you. Urban Renewal may be a very graphic novel, but it is not a graphic novel. Read an excerpt here.
(Updated 02-12-14)

What did Andrew Vachss have to say about the coaches at Penn State ... in *2005*? Click here to hear for yourself. (And thanks to Glenn McGuigan for reminding us about this one.)
(Updated 02-05-14)


(Updated 01-29-14)

An Australian predator uses social media to access his child victims; the Supreme Court hears a case regarding asset forfeiture and child pornography. It's all bubbling to the surface from the Whisper–stream.
(Updated 01-22-14)

On Sunday, 2.3 million people tuned into the premiere of HBO's new series, "True Detective." The show stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, playing two Louisiana homicide detectives. When HBO needed to establish in the opening minutes that Det. Rust Cohle knows his way around sex crimes, where did they turn? To the work of pioneering sex crimes prosecutor and Weiss Center trainer, Alice Vachss. To read more, click here.
(Updated 01-15-14)

Vintage will release Aftershock in trade paperback on March 11, 2014. To get a first look at the full cover, click here.
(Updated 01-15-14)

You think those people wiring up their own children and sending them into crowded markets in Israel are revolutionaries? Then you haven't been listening to the Whisper–stream.
(Updated 01-08-14)

He's got our back, so we're honored to welcome Sammie to The Zero's Backup Pack.
(Updated 01-08-14)

When you have been deeply injured and made to feel the injury was all your fault—when you look for approval from those who cannot or will not provide it—you play the role assigned to you by your abusers. It's time to stop playing that role. Salvation means learning self–respect, earning the respect of others, and making mutual respect the absolutely irreducible minimum requirement for all intimate relationships.
(Updated 01-01-14)

"Alabama man raped, videotaped his son with other man in interstate child porn ring." That headline won't be a surprise to anyone who has been listening to the Whisper–stream.
(Updated 12-25-13)

"One of my favorite living authors, Andrew Vachss, caught me with a single sentence, the first line of his third novel, 1988's Blue Belle: 'Spring comes hard down here.'" To read all of Alex Bledsoe's article "Andrew Vachss and Blue Belle: The Great Opening Line," click here.
(Updated 12-18-13)

Andrew Vachss says, "There's a reason so many brilliant writers cut their teeth on the pulps, and [Thomas Pluck's] Blade of Dishonor both honors that tradition and expands it. You want interwoven plots running parallel between WWII and Right Now? You want violence mixed with romance? You want sacrifice, courage, and honor? Truth–based fable? Or maybe you just want hardcore–clean writing delivered at warp speed. Look no further—it's all here." Thomas Pluck is the latest addition to Righteous Reading.
(Updated 12-11-13)

We're honored to be able to to induct Gunner, the H.E.R.O. Child–Rescue Hound, into the Zero Pack of the Dogs of the Zero!
(Updated 12-11-13)

Should a captive chimpanzee have the same rights as a "legal person"? A hundred years ago, they were asking the same question about Pygmys. But you'd know that, if you'd been listening to the Whisper–stream.
(Updated 12-04-13)

In their review of Urban Renewal, Booklist writes, "Vachss is unlike any other crime writer. His Burke series set the standard for dark noir. Cross is a bit more conventional than Burke, but not much. The straight world is as corrupt as any 'criminal' enterprise, and Cross and crew, fiercely loyal to each other, set out to exploit it. Readers who want to visit a new twist on the dark side will be mesmerized." And Publishers Weekly describes the book as a "hard–hitting ... raucous ride." To read the complete reviews, click here.
(Updated 11-27-13)

To see the full cover (front and back) to the forthcoming Cross novel, Urban Renewal, click here. (And if you read the credits on the back closely, you'll see that the photo used for the front cover was taken by Andrew Vachss himself.)
(Updated 11-20-13)

How can you help support PROTECT, America's first political lobby for child protection? You can be like Phil Garfinkel, who is giving a 10% match for every donation his Facebook friends make to PROTECT. (For the record, the match goes for his Facebook friends only, but the rest of us can be inspired by Phil's incredible generosity and spirit and make our own "match"!)

Or you can buy a motorcycle! PROTECT is auctioning off a 2012 Suzuki LS650 Savage bike that was donated by comedian/actress Margaret Cho and signed by a host of celebrities! Learn more and place your bid today! The auction closes Monday.


(Updated 11-13-13)


"This is a lemon, not a lime. Nature does it this way to prevent birds from seeing it ... doesn't turn that bright yellow until it's too big for seed'eating birds to do anything about it. And this is the lesson of The Shaolin Cowboy. Yes, it's a masterpiece of artwork. Yes, no one but Geof Darrow could draw anything close to it. But if you think that just because it's sold in comic shops, it's only a comic, you're going to miss out on some of the finest multi–faceted commentary on ... well, damn near everything. Don't be fooled by the camouflage, folks. Buy this one issue, which should be out today, read it once ... then go back and let the message germinate to full bloom. You'll thank me for it, I promise."
(Updated 11-13-13)

"I'm not saying anyone who spanks their kid is a child molester, but when you see stories, pictures, discussions, whatever ... of children being spanked in the same publications which clearly treat spanking as an erotic/sexual act, the connection is obvious. And inescapable." Read the entirety of Andrew Vachss' latest dispatch, "'Child Discipline' as Kiddie Porn."
(Updated 11-06-13)

Andrew Vachss says, "I have neither the credentials for, nor an interest in, 'literary criticism.' But I can pick winners." To read about one of those winners, Joe R. Lansdale, click here.
(Updated 11-06-13)

If we sentenced distributors of "child pornography" proportionate to the damage they do, or even to the value of their "product," they would all be doing life sentences. Their victims are. Read the full article here.
(Updated 10-30-13)

We keep hearing how "people can disagree, but still be friends." About some things, sure. But not when you get down to the core. When you're fighting a war that can't be won in your lifetime, some people will do what it takes ... and fight to the death.

An example? Check out this video about H.E.R.O. Corps. If you don't think it's worthy of sharing with your friends, don't bother stopping by here anymore.


(Updated 10-23-13)


This Friday, 17 of our country's bravest military heroes will graduate from their 11-week training as the first class of the H.E.R.O. Child-Rescue Corps. They'll be embedded for nine months with Homeland Security Investigations offices around the country, completing an internship in which they'll use technology to identify and rescue child victims of rape and exploitation. Everyone at The Zero is proud to say we've supported this program financially since day one, and we're thrilled to see it come to fruition at last. And we're excited to see the results-the children rescued and the predators apprehended-that these H.E.R.O.s will produce. To learn more about the program, and to join us in supporting it, click here.
(Updated 10-16-13)

Why it took us so long, even we don't understand, but you can now find Kasey Lansdale in True Blues.
(Updated 10-09-13)

(Updated 10-09-13)

And speaking of Cross....

(Updated 10-02-13)

Some of our nation's greatest warriors are training to go into battle against child predators. The National Association to Protect Children is orchestrating the largest troop surge in the history of child protection. You can be part of history by helping to fund this program. Check it out:


(Updated 09-25-13)

(Updated 09-25-13)

If you want the long version, check out "Inside the Mind of a Mass Killer." But the short version is, "If you won't see us, you'll never see us coming." (Andrew Vachss, Mask Market, 2006)
(Updated 09-04-13)

Earlier this month, Nathan Myhrvold wrote in the Huffington Post about "striking down malaria with a laser." But you'd know what he really meant if you had your ear to the whisperstream.
(Updated 08-28-13)

Anyone who remembers the 1994 Andrew Vachss short story "Treatment" (next to the Hard Looks cover, if you follow the link) will want to read the white paper "Preventing sexual abusers of children from reoffending: systematic review of medical and psychological interventions," which includes in the abstract, "We found weak evidence for interventions aimed at reducing reoffending in identified sexual abusers of children."
(Updated 08-21-13)

Mark Andresen sent us a beautiful drawing inspired by Haiku, and we wanted to share it with you. Check it out!
(Updated 08-14-13)

Teenagers can take "Driver's Ed" to obtain their license more quickly. An additional benefit is that their parents' insurance rates will drop. But no "Driver's Ed" course will prevent those same teenagers from driving drunk ... or getting into a car with a drunken peer at the controls. You want to protect your teenagers? You want to help them make the right choices in their lives? You want to save lives? You want to get your insurance company to sharply lower its rates for teenage drivers? Look no further: Licensed For Life. You can watch the short film, if you have a short attention span. But we strongly recommend the full version - director Lorraine Darrow and BonBon Films have captured a typical Licensed For Life class beyond anyone's ability to describe it - and its effects - in words. When you're done, and after you've shared it with all your friends, send a copy to your insurance company and DEMAND it offer a discount to any family with a teenage driver who has completed this "course." Will all companies comply? Of course not. But even if just one does, all the lizard ads and "good hands" stuff will crumple to the hard fact that people don't have money to throw away. And that they want the best for their children. So if one company runs an endorsement, a link, even a mention of Licensed For Life that is coupled with a RATE REDUCTION, they'll all (eventually) switch. Help make Licensed For Life a national priority, lower your rates ... and save some lives. Take you maybe a few minutes ... and could make all the difference in the world to some teenagers ... and their families.
(Updated 08-07-13)

At this year's ComicCon, Dark Horse Presents won the Eisner award for Best Comics Anthology of 2012. Andrew Vachss wrote three stories for that anthology, all of which later appeared in Mortal Lock, the conclusion of which is the screenplay for "Underground," which will be a graphic novel next year.
(Updated 07-31-13)

Authorities are going to exhume the body of confessed Boston Stranger Albert DeSalvo. Maybe they finally tapped into the whisperstream.
(Updated 07-31-13)

Between the comics and audio adaptations of Andrew Vachss' Underground, we thought it was time for the series to get its own page. Check it out.
(Updated 07-24-13)

Back in 1989, Alice Vachss made the news for making her wolf/German Shepherd cross, Sheba, an office staple to comfort abuse victims. Then in 1994, a dog named Vachss made headlines for comforting witnesses on the stand in court. Now, using dogs to calm witnesses in court is becoming standard practice. Check it out.
(Updated 07-17-13)

"Aftershock is crime fiction at its best built around a solid cast of characters, with an intriguing mythology. Vachss covers many of his classic themes yet in a way that seems to have invigorated his writing, allowing him to explore these themes in new and fascinating ways.... Phil [Gigante's audo adaptation] was brilliant as always, and his interplay with [fellow audo adapter] Natalie [Ross] was so natural and flowing that I didn't experience any of the dissonance this type of narration often gives me." To read the rest of the Guilded Earlobe's review of the audiobook, click here.
(Updated 07-10-13)

"There are songs I know well, songs I've had inside me for a long time. Some of those songs were playing when I wrote my newest novel, Aftershock. ... I don't want to give away too much about Dell, the first-person narrator of [this] new series, but it's kind of a map of his life. There's a philosophy that maintains people are 'useless' unless they possess certain useable skills-you're useless if you can't be used. Mercenaries fall into that category. We assume that their life is their choice, but that's as intelligent as any 'they're all alike' statement would be. But let's say you believe you're useless. What then? You want to connect with someone else, you want to feel something. That's brutally hard for some of people, and the outcome isn't always a good one." To read the rest of the interview with Andrew Vachss-including the playlist for Aftershock-click here.
(Updated 06-26-13)

"By this point in the long game, I've interviewed a lot of crime writers. Elmore Leonard once read me the opening chapter of a novel-while he was in the middle of typing it up. I spoke with Walter Mosley and Donald E. Westlake within the same two-hour window one Christmas eve. Go toe-to-toe with Richard Price and you'll come out of it feeling like the losing end of a prizefight. But there is nothing in the world like a sit-down with Andrew Vachss." To read the rest of Clayton Moore's interview with Andrew Vachss, as published by Kirkus on June 11, 2013, click here.
(Updated 06-19-13)

Andrew Vachss is going to Comic-Con. Why? Click here for the answer ... and for a print-your-own poster, too. And if you're at Comic-Con, look for Andrew Vachss at the Random House and Dark Horse booths, as well as artist Geof Darrow's table.
(Updated 06-19-13)

"Aftershock [is] about the effect of post-traumatic stress syndrome . . . on people who treat it." To listen to John Cody's interview with Andrew Vachss, as it aired on CBS Radio on June 08, 2013, click here.
(Updated 06-12-13)

(Updated 06-12-13)

Publishers Weekly calls Andrew Vachss' Aftershock the "[C]ompelling first in a new thriller series ... [R]eaders will stick with the story, and the series, because the steadfast, relentless Dell, with his uncompromising morality, commands attention."
(Updated 05-15-13)

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard is running "A Piece of the City," from Andrew Vachss' Mortal Lock, as a free read. Read it here.
(Updated 05-15-13)

Kirkus describes it as "20 visits to hell." Somebody Dies calls it "gripping fiction." We call it Mortal Lock, and it's on sale now. (But don't fall for that notice on the Amazon page. This isn't a "Vintage; Reprint edition," as they note in the publisher info; it's a "Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original," like it says at the top of the page.)
(Updated 05-08-13)

Underground is no "post-apocalyptic" fantasy. "The Terror" isn't thermo-nuclear war, it is the death of Journalism ... something the "Rulers" knew was coming decades ago, when construction of "Underground" began. Underground is a vision of a world where reporting the news is risking death ... a world that may not be so far off. It will appear as:

  • A fully executed screenplay (WGA Registration number 1346194) contained within Mortal Lock, to be released May 7th;
  • A fully story-boarded graphic novel-adapted initially by Mike Richardson and then later by Chet Willliamson-the first episode to appear in DHP #25, and all episodes to be collected into a single volume upon completion; and
  • A complete audiotrack, adapted by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross, available (like the printed book) May 7th.
(Updated 05-01-13)

"The baddest noir stylist of them all digs into his archives from the past 15 years and comes up with 20 visits to hell." That's the Kirkus review for Andrew Vachss' third short-story collection, Mortal Lock, which goes on sale May 07. For more information, click here.
(Updated 04-24-13)

In a 2006 Parade article, Andrew Vachss wrote, "Since we bring economic sanctions against countries that commit human-rights violations, why should we do less when child-pornography syndicates operate with the clear complicity of their governments overseas?" So we can count this 2013 headline as progress, right? Or did someone just forget to pay a bill? Police in Nicaragua have detained Eric Justin Toth, a child-porn suspect and one of the FBI's ten most-wanted fugitives.
(Updated 04-24-13)

"There's freaks all over. And when you get down to the bone, where the truth is, one person's power is always about another person's pain."
(Updated 04-17-13)

"N.Y. murder, rape suspect removed and reassembled monitoring bracelet in under a minute"-that headline from the Daily News is no news to anyone listening to the Whisper-stream.
(Updated 04-10-13)


(Updated 04-10-13)

(Updated 03-27-13)

(Updated 03-20-13)

We're less than eight weeks out from the release of Andrew Vachss' next book: Mortal Lock, his third collection of short stories. To learn more, click here.
(Updated 03-13-13)

Congratulations to Dr. Joel Dvoskin, a Zero contributor, whose latest release was awarded the American Psychology-Law Society's 2013 Book Award! Click here to read Using Social Science to Reduce Violent Offending: A scientifically informed approach to increasing public safety. And if you want to read Dr. Joel's writings for the Zero, click here.
(Updated 03-13-13)

In 2002's Pain Management, Andrew Vachss warned about the "[s]tupid, mean-spirited, nasty little . . . moralists" who would rather see people die in pain than become drug addicts. Count among them Bloomberg.
(Updated 03-13-13)

Debbie Weiss just made a major contribution to PROTECT: $1 million to establish the Weiss Center for Child Rescue and Protection Technology. The Weiss Center will focus on advancing technology to protect children. Their first project is the HERO Child-Rescue Corps, which will train wounded veterans to hunt down child predators over the Internet. Thank you, Ms. Weiss! To learn more about her game-changing gift, watch this news clip.
(Updated 03-06-13)

Too dangerous to be in Population, but they're fine for the street. That's a line from Andrew Vachss' The Weight (2010), and we were reminded of it when we received Dallas Akers' essay. Ms. Akers-who is incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women-submitted her essay into a Prison Writing Contest and won. "That gave me a definite feeling of pride," she told us. "The $250 that came with it ... well, that gave me a different feeling of accomplishment altogether."
(Updated 03-06-13)

Heads up, San Francisco! We know there are connections between childhood trauma, crime, and mental health. We need to know where to intervene. And we need to know the costs if we don't. Journalist Trey Bundy and licensed clinical social worker Zak Mucha will be speaking about this at two events in the Bay Area: the UC Berkeley Schools of Social Work, Journalism, and Public Policy on Tuesday, March 12, and San Francisco State University on Wednesday, March 13. Click here for details.
(Updated 03-06-13)

Convicted predatory pedophile Mel Reynolds was running for his old Congressional seat in Illinois' 2nd district. No surprise: we wouldn't expect someone who enjoys raping little girls to feel shameful about his conduct. That he lost yesterday's primary election also comes as no surprise; considering what happened to the last girl who volunteered for his campaign, we're guessing he didn't get a lot of girls looking to sign up this time around. But the best news of all? Reynolds only received 453 votes ... and, as of this writing, the Anyone But Mel Facebook page has 818 "likes."
(Updated 02-27-13)

Next up: Andrew Vachss' third collection of short stories, Mortal Lock. Contents list and cover preview here, and the book, everywhere, May 07.
(Updated 02-27-13)

We're no longer the only ones calling "Law & Order" a sit-com. Check it out.
(Updated 02-20-13)

For our Italian readers.
(Updated 02-20-13)

In a 1992 article in the ABA Journal, Andrew Vachss wrote, "Castration will not remove the source of a violent sex offender's rage-only one single instrument of its expression. Rapes have been committed with broomsticks, Coke bottles-and blunt objects. Indeed, most criminal statutes now incorporate just such a possibility." Apparently, New York has yet to get the message: "New York's definition of 'rape' requires vaginal penetration. Cuomo will head to Albany on Tuesday to speak out in favor of a bill by Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas that would change that." To read the whole article, click here.
(Updated 02-13-13)

From Andrew Vachss' 2008 novel, Another Life: "Africans don't trust us. Why should they? Nigeria may be the richest country on the whole continent, but it has the highest rate of polio in the world." And the headline of a story from last week: "Nigeria polio vaccinators shot dead in Kano." Think they're not connected? Think again.
(Updated 02-13-13)

Andrew Vachss' latest novel, That's How I Roll, is out in trade paperback. Read an excerpt here.
(Updated 02-13-13)

Want to hear Andrew Vachss' niece Kasey, a/k/a the Blonde Nightingale, sing her heart out? Here's your chance:

(Updated 02-06-13)

If you want to better understanding bullying-its causes, effects, and how to intervene-and you're anywhere near Chicago, you'll want to register for Zak Mucha's free workshop, "Teaching Emotional Self-Defense," to be held Thursday, February 21st, at Open Books. Click here for more information and to register.
(Updated 01-30-13)

The media continue to use "pedophile" to describe criminals in action, not ideation. They're "Confusing Ideation with Criminal Action."
(Updated 01-23-13)

Anyone who's stopped by here with any kind of regularity knows who Zak Mucha is. What might be news to you is that he has a new novel, about small crime, the people who commit it, and the reasons they do. It went on sale yesterday. Click here to read an excerpt!
(Updated 01-16-13)

"How many juries have decided an accused rapist's guilt or innocence based on the attire or occupation of the victim? Why is virtually all 'rape porn' designed to show that 'she really wanted it all along'? How many people refuse to believe that 'a handsome man would never stoop to raping an ugly woman'? How many secretly believe that any underage male student victimized by a female teacher is someone who 'got lucky'?" To read Andrew Vachss' article on "rape culture"-as published on The Zero on January 11, 2013-click here.
(Updated 01-16-13)

Headline from Monday's Daily News: "Here are the four guys who killed Raphael Ward for his Marmot jacket." If that's news to you, you need to plug into the Whisper-Stream.
(Updated 01-09-13)

We're five months away from the release of Mortal Lock, Andrew Vachss' third short-stories collection. And six months away from his next hardcover, Aftershock, which is the beginning of a new series. But both are already listed on Amazon. And while we don't like to announce releases this early, we also don't want our readers to miss out on the best price possible. Amazon's policy is, if you order now and the price gets better before the book is released, you get that better price; if the price increases, you're still locked in at that lower price. So, as of this writing ... Mortal Lock is listed at 32% off cover, and Aftershock at 40% off cover. More info on each when we're closer to the release dates.
(Updated 01-02-13)


(Updated 12-26-12)

Some people checked in to ask our thoughts about the Newtown school massacre. Others said they didn't have to ask our thoughts, because they'd been listening to the Whisper-stream.
(Updated 12-19-12)

Last Friday, President Obama signed into law the Child Protection Act of 2012. It doubles existing funding for investigating people trading child porn over the Internet (40% of whom are found to be abusing at least one child); it creates tough, new penalties for people who threaten or harass a child witness; and it fast-tracks subpoenas for fugitive sex offenders, among other things. This bill was passed into law because of PROTECT, a membership organization that lobbies for laws that protect children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. We say all that to say this: (1) Not all lobbyists are in it to line their own pockets-in fact, PROTECT runs on a budget of less than $500K. (2) That $500K comes from individuals like you. So if you want to be a part of a movement that is successfully changing the landscape as regards child protection, click here. And if you don't ... don't waste our time.


(Updated 12-12-12)

In 1995, Mel Reynolds was found guilty of raping a teenager who volunteered in his office. Now he wants to get "back to work" by replacing Jesse Jackson, Jr. as the 2nd District Congressional Rep in Illinois. We say ... anyone but Mel.


(Updated 12-12-12)

"Andrew Vachss' style raises the story a few notches higher than the pulp paperbacks he's saluting. And Phil Gigante's perfectly tuned, affectless country boy narration transforms [The Getaway Man audiobook] into a nifty bit of performance art." Click here to read the entire review, as published in Mystery Scene. And check out their review of A Bomb Built in Hell, which proclaims, "Andrew Vachss takes antiheroism to new extremes ... in this brutal, detailed piece of work."
(Updated 12-05-12)

The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine has tamed The Savage Critic! In his review, he refers to it as "a loving evocation of the pulp magazines of the past. ... what you get here consists of pages of words punctuated by a plenitude of Darrow's hypnotically precise spot illustrations ... Vachss is a perfect choice for a pulp project like this. He's an accomplished writer of fiction whose work tends to read like nothing so much as pulp filtered through a dark adapted eye. ... [And] the Michael A. Black time travelling/dinosaurs short that brings up the rear of the book is pretty neat and will take you back to Sundays reading Ray Bradbury on the rug in front of the fire." Click here to read the entire review.
(Updated 12-05-12)

Big Wayne's got a new book, Body Count, that contains "six short stories, 13 homicides, five hot dames, and one tough PI." And if you snap it up during its introductory period as a Kindle, you'll get it for 99¢. So go get it.
(Updated 11-28-12)

A couple weeks ago, we warned you about railing against "Tea Party" politicians. Specifically: You are confusing dirtbags who thought such positions would get them elected with men who went to a lot of trouble to prove them to have misread the tea (party) leaves. We made it clear that some snakes will assume any camouflage-or any campaign slogan-necessary to slither under the election wall. Is this human confessing to soliciting homicide-a.k.a., abortion, or "killing the unborn"-by pressuring his mistress to have an abortion? Did he trick the Tea Party into supporting his campaign? Given this physician was in a sexual relationship with a patient, lied to just about everyone about his "beliefs" (if he has any), and his "God-fearing" status, shouldn't we expect him to resign, beg for forgiveness, and go on Oprah to plug his book?


(Updated 11-28-12)

Charles DeLint says Andrew Vachss' Blackjack is a "heady mix of spy thriller, crime novel, and horror. ... Vachss writes some of the most hardboiled fiction around-spare and tough, precision-tuned in its details and full of heart. It's the latter that makes his work stand out so much. While a book like this is full of merciless spies and the gritty unforgiving world of the criminal underworld and the prison system, Vachss approaches it as he does all his work, imbuing it with a strong moral core." To read the entire review, as published in the November 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, click here.
(Updated 11-21-12)

Let's see if we understand this: a "father" viciously whips his crippled daughter with a belt, as her "mother" looks on approvingly; the scene is videotaped, and becomes a YouTube favorite of the "I get off watching children being beaten" freaks disguising themselves as advocates of "corporal punishment." Turns out this "father" is a JUDGE OF THE FAMILY COURT who decides cases in which he must determine whether legally permissible corporal punishment was "excessive" in case after case. (!) This individual was suspended by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, but has since been reinstated by order of the Texas Supreme Court-the moral equivalent of "recycling" toxic waste. So the Texas Supreme Court is telling us all that, given sufficient political connections, even a human who regularly violates the very laws he himself sneers at can be given the power to "judge" whether anyone else should.


(Updated 11-21-12)

Watch out for this potential Jesse Jackson sleight-of-hand: With his son nearing a deal with the feds that will force him out of office, Jackson Sr. associate Mel Reynolds is eyeing the seat. Who's Reynolds? Why, he's the guy who used to be in that seat ... until he was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault (a 16-year-old campaign volunteer), obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. Followed by 15 counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators. His sentence was commuted by President Clinton during his last days in office ... at the request of Jackson Sr.


(Updated 11-21-12)

This is the result of allowing humans to decide "god's will." If we humans get to determine the "destiny" of others, we have "honor murder" added to the list of horrors: "Pakistan girl 'fated' to die in acid attack: mother."
(Updated 11-14-12)

Now on sale: Andrew Vachss' 1970s novel A Bomb Built in Hell and his pulp tribute with Geof Darrow, The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine!
(Updated 11-14-12)

Frequent visitors to The Zero already know Geof Darrow is a warrior for child protection. But PROTECT wanted everyone to know. So...

(Updated 11-07-12)

It's official-The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine has been endorsed by Fanboy Comics! Read the entire review.


(Updated 11-07-12)

This was never about political parties. A (large) handful of politicians decided the time was right to launcha Theocratic government-a USA version of Taliban rule. They were all wrong, this time. But they (and those like them) will be back. If you want the whole back story, click here.


(Updated 11-07-12)

"Imagine the power to decide a person is 'insane.' And the consequences of such a decision. The DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] is a swell party game. What fun to sit around and diagnose others, or to spew terms like 'sociopath' or 'malignant narcissist' on the oh-so-reliable Internet. But it's a very dangerous game when played for keeps." That's an excerpt from Andrew Vachss' latest article, "Labeling Mental Disorders Doesn't Answer the Real Question: Does a 'Diagnosis' Mean There's a Cure?" You can read the entire article by clicking here.
(Updated 10-24-12)

Not all journalism is dead. Check this out: The Center for Investigative Reporting, which includes the Bay Citizen (home of the incomparable Trey Bundy), will eliminate the use of "child prostitute" in all future stories. The phrase will be replaced with "prostituted child," "exploited child," or other phrases that don't imply that children consent to their own exploitation. Sex is something that happens to a child, and there's a difference between employment and slavery.
(Updated 10-17-12)

Yeah, we're glad to see Sandusky get a 30-year sentence for his crimes. But people are too busy celebrating to notice that Andrew Goodman got a 2-year sentence for the same crime. And if we don't make our anger known, Monsignor William Lynn will walk away scot free for his part in connecting a predatory priest to his victims.


(Updated 10-17-12)

"I promise you, there are people in America whose only problem with the Taliban is that they did it for the wrong god. Whether it's incest, rape, terrorism or Nazism, it's all the same thing-accumulating and abusing power." That's Andrew Vachss from a 2004 New York Post interview. Think it was "over the top"? Read this:


Read the complete stories about Arkansas legislative candidate Charlie Fuqua and 14-year-old Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating that girls should get to attend school. And tell us there's a difference. All that has "changed" is that they're much more willing to jump out of the closet when they increasingly come to believe that a theocracy would be welcomed in America ... so long as it's the right "god" calling the shots.
(Updated 10-10-12)

The Todd Akin Doctrine spreads.
(Updated 10-10-12)

The world's most laid-back dog has just joined the Pack! Meet Buddy!
(Updated 10-10-12)

For years Andrew Vachss has been telling us, "We make our own monsters." Now, in a paper published in The Wilson Quarterly, Stanford University Professor Tanya Marie Luhrmann ratifies that concept: "Epidemiologists have now homed in on a series of factors that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, including ... if you were beaten, taunted, bullied, sexually abused, or neglected when you were a child. In fact, how badly a child is treated may predict how severe the case of an adult person with schizophrenia becomes-and particularly, whether the adult hears harsh, hallucinatory voices that comment or command." Click here to read the whole paper.
(Updated 10-03-12)

The police have been calling him the Needle Bandit. But Burke would call him a piquerist.
(Updated 10-03-12)

"When [a high school sophomore] was suspected by school officials of allowing a classmate to copy her work she was presented with two choices - suspension or paddling. [The student], not wanting to miss school time, opted for the latter. But her mom is 'unglued' over who did the paddling, and how hard. ... 'I don't believe a man intentionally meant to do that to her,' she said. 'But it still happens, because men are too big and strong to be hitting 96-pound girls.' " Imagine how "unglued" that mother would be right now if she'd had her ear to the Whisper-Stream.
(Updated 09-26-12)

"If you've ever read any of my books, you've heard terms like 'ghosting' before-and might even know who Pryce is, how long real-world fights last, or even why blade experts don't want anything to do with 'knife fights.' You want a far more complete explanation, check out Campfire Tales from Hell. The shape-shifting conversation between Marc MacYoung and Barry Eisler alone is well worth the investment."
(Updated 09-26-12)

"All these soft-porn 'crime' shows have polluted the reality atmosphere. Listen up, okay? A sociopath is simply a person who combines a total absence of empathy with a profound sense of entitlement. They feel no pain but their own. They move in a straight line, always toward whatever they want, unencumbered by moral or ethical baggage. This combination can produce more success than their competitors, be it in politics, sales, or fame-seeking. If you are not standing between them and what they want, you'll never know they passed close by. They are not all serial killers, child molesters, or any other form of overtly predatory human. They are not all handsome, charming, and/or intelligent, nor are they overwhelmingly male. But they all have a significant degree of expertise when it comes to camouflage."
(Updated 09-19-12)

Back in May, Dark Horse released the Hard Looks trade paperback in digital form. Readers of the original comics series (from the early '90s) were glad-but recalled that there were even more stories in the comics than appeared in the collection. So now Dark Horse is giving the readers what they want: everything else. Available starting today in digital form is Harder Looks, collecting all remaining stories (and covers) from the original Hard Looks comics series that weren't included in the original trade paperback, plus "It's a Hard World," a new comics adaptation that never appeared in the series. It's 126 pages, all under a cover by Geof Darrow.
(Updated 09-05-12)

Andrew Vachss is one of many (including such familiar names as Michael A. Black, Tony Black, Ken Bruen, Charles deLint, Wayne Dundee, Joe Lansdale, Gary Lovisi, Dave Marsh, Zak Mucha, and Chet Williamson, among others) contributing to a fiction ebook anthology titled Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT. We repeat: it's a benefit for PROTECT, and it is on sale now.
(Updated 09-05-12)

"Holding Penn State officials accountable for what they knew and what they covered up is the role of prosecutors, but the rest of us should be stepping up to a bigger plate because our failure to follow through on past lessons of child abuse is leaving more children vulnerable." Those are the words of Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and PROTECT founder and Executive Director Grier Weeks, in an Op-Ed from yesterday's USAToday. Grier's been with us-and we've been with Grier-for a long time now. And we're proud to welcome R.A. to the team, too. If you haven't read his memoir, you should-you'll see that, if you're a Child of the Secret, he's been with us a lot longer than we knew.
(Updated 08-29-12)

Like Andrew Vachss wrote in That's How I Roll, "When it comes to protecting your own, there is no limit." Milo understood that. Read Mike Richardson's tribute to Milo, the latest addition to the Dogs of the Zero.
(Updated 08-29-12)

Representative Todd Akin said, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child." If you didn't see that coming, you haven't been listening to the whisperstream. And if you're wondering how those beliefs would play out in the real world ... read the latest dispatch from Andrew Vachss.
(Updated 08-22-12)

You've made it to Chicago, but couldn't find Red 71? Well, here's one visitor who did....
(Updated 08-22-12)

If the first time you experienced the incredible artwork of Frank Caruso was in Heart Transplant, you'll want to know that the first time Andrew Vachss collaborated with Mr. Caruso was on the "triptych haikus" included in the third edition of Another Chance to Get It Right. And if that's news to you, you'll be glad to learn that you can now purchase Another Chance to Get It Right as an ebook!
(Updated 08-15-12)

On The Zero's Facebook page last week, Andrew Vachss wrote, "I am 100% behind the 2nd Amendment-I think adults should be allowed to own as many flintlock rifles as they wish. ... [T]hat is the extent to which the framers of the Constitution envisioned an armed citizenry. [This is] aimed (no pun intended) at those 'strict constructionists' who rhapsodize on their 'right' to own surface-to-air missiles." Looks like Justice Scalia's been reading our page. Here's what he said on "Fox News Sunday": "But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be ... decided." Click here to read more.
(Updated 08-01-12)

"[Aurora, CO, shooter John] Holmes played with ideas of identity and perceptions of reality. Young men typically do this to counter the banality and futility of the encroaching adulthood. At this stage of life we fight to identify ourselves in a newly discovered hypocritical and corrupt world. This is where we get Americorp volunteers and neo-Nazis-from that hormone-fueled blast to identify and individuate ourselves from those we distrust." Read "The Joker," a guest dispatch for The Zero by Zak Mucha, LCSW.
(Updated 07-25-12)

"'Witch Hunt' is a look inside the mind of a seriously delusional individual who believed his actions were compelled (the voices) and 'logical.' (The Joker confronts hypocrisy, he is continually caught, goes to prison, and somehow always comes back.) It is the closest I can come to taking you inside the mind of the Batman movie shooter (or the Unabomber, or any other high-IQ-but-slowly-slipping-into-schizophrenia individual) in so few words. There is a difference (in etiology, not in results) between a created monster like Carl Panzram and a descent-into-madness individual like Kaczynski, and we should know both." Read "Witch Hunt."
(Updated 07-25-12)

According to a story published this week in The Huffington Post, "Virginia is in the final stages of reviewing proposals that would privatize a mental health treatment facility for sex offenders who can be held indefinitely under state law." But you knew that was coming, didn't you? Because you're plugged in to the Whisper-Stream.
(Updated 07-18-12)

The first novel-length Cross story, Blackjack, is on sale now! Publishers Weekly says Vachss "effectively channels Predator and Rambo in this heated blend of fantasy and machismo in the urban jungle." Wayne D. Dundee says it's "complex and wonderfully twisty, the action intense, the cast of characters large yet distinctly drawn and memorable." And, in a review of Phil Gigante's audiobook adaptation, the Guilded Earlobe says, "Blackjack is a game changer for Andrew Vachss. He is still brushing with the same strokes, but has totally reinvented his canvas." Order your copy now!
(Updated 07-11-12)
This November, Andrew Vachss teams with the inimitable Geof Darrow for a return to the glory days of pulp fiction! Click here to get a first-look sneak preview of The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine No. 1, featuring the original novella-length story "The Way of No Way!"
(Updated 07-11-12)
Andrew Vachss on the Jerry Sandusky verdict: "Spare me the 'now he can't hurt another child' glee club. Those child-victims aren't still being hurt, asking, Why didn't someone stop him? Those who could have stopped him, those who had a duty to stop him, didn't. Time to ask: Why? Otherwise, celebrating Sandusky's conviction as a triumph of justice is delusionary."
(Updated 06-27-12)
Dr. Joel Dvoskin checked in with this item: "According to the New York Times, a group of 'prominent addiction doctors' (translation: doctors who treat celebrities) has mounted a quiet legal campaign on behalf of Cameron Douglas, the troubled son of actor Michael Douglas, allegedly in hopes of 'finding a sympathetic ear for their view that drug addiction is best handled with more treatment, not more prison time.' I agree wholeheartedly that we are wasting money and lives by using incarceration instead of treatment as the default response to drug addiction in America. But this story sickens me. Poor addicts who lack rich and famous parents have been over-charged and over-penalized for decades, and suddenly these these doctors who call themselves 'advocates' develop a sense of outrage, and decide to make a stand for justice ... for the son of Michael Douglas. But since 'Mr. Abramson said the case had little to do with Mr. Douglas' fame,' I guess it's just a coincidence that this is the first time any of these 'advocates' has given a damn about this problem."
(Updated 06-27-12)
There will be no Updates on July 4th. We will not be too busy at the barbeque grill to put the latest on our page ... we will be too busy remembering what our independence cost, and who paid the price for creating and maintaining it.
(Updated 06-27-12)
Congratulations to Daniel Boice! A few years back, he took his first stab at adapting stories to audio by participating in MPformance, sending us his MP3 of some of Andrew Vachss' short stories. Now he's leveraged that newfound skill to full-time work, and his first audiobook is out this month. Check it out!
(Updated 06-20-12)
The Whisper-Stream tracks all sorts of things ... even the latest trends in porn.
(Updated 06-20-12)
Andrew Vachss and Geof Darrow have traveled back in time to yesteryear to rescue the spirit and vitality of the pulps! The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine (no. 1) features "The Way of 'No Way!'," pitting Darrow's martial-arts master against bandits and thugs, colossal komodo dragons and toxic amoebas, and his greatest foe of all: King Crab! And word to the wise: the mule is cool! In the style of the pulps, this prose story by Vachss features spot illustrations by Darrow. Plus, decorated-policeman-turned-author Mike Black! Prince Valiant-artist Gary Gianni! And an amazing cover by Scott Gustafson! Click here to learn more about this new project, due out late this year!
(Updated 06-13-12)
Congratulations to Big Wayne Dundee, who was awarded Best Debut Western Novel for 2011 by the Western Fictioneers! To get a copy Dismal River so you can see for yourself why the love Big Wayne, click here. And when you've consumed that one, check out all the rest of Big Wayne's books, including the Joe Hannibal series.
(Updated 06-06-12)
If you want to know why crime-boss Lansdale in That's How I Roll named his daughter Patsy, listen to the audio file below: Andrew Vachss on Dave Marsh's "Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams" Sirius XM radio show back in April. It starts with a track by Kasey Lansdale!

(Updated 06-06-12)
Dark Horse is collecting the entire Hard Looks series (adapting Andrew Vachss' short stories to comics), initially as two ebook-only "trade paperbacks," and then as one single trade paperback, as ebook and paper. The first of those is available now, and ... to read a preview (adapted by Joe Lansdale and Gary Gianni), click here, then click "Click Here to Preview" (under the title), then scroll five pages.
(Updated 05-30-12)
They stopped translating Andrew Vachss' novels into Korean at Blue Belle. Which is a shame, because his 1989 release of Hard Candy might have prevented this headline that appeared last week: "Repeat sex offender to undergo chemical castration; First time South Korea has used extreme punishment."
(Updated 05-30-12)
Usually, when we send you to the Whisper-Stream, it's because something that Andrew Vachss wrote about finally hit the mass media. This time, it's to date-stamp the novel he wrote in 2010, but won't be published until 2013. The plot of Aftershock is reflected in the US Justice Department's investigation into the police department in Missoula, Montana. Click here to read it for yourself.
(Updated 05-23-12)
A few weeks back, we pointed you to a transcript of a conversation between Joe Lansdale and Andrew Vachss. Now you can now listen to that conversation-the way it was intended to be consumed-right here.
(Updated 05-16-12)
If you're looking forward to the new Cross novel, maybe you'll want to look at the whole cover, front and back. Check it out.
(Updated 05-16-12)
If you prefer to consume your Andrew Vachss stories in audiobook format, you'll be glad to know that Dreamscape has signed on to publish both Blackjack: A Cross Novel and A Bomb Built in Hell-and even more glad to learn that both will be adapted by Phil Gigante. Click here to read about it!
(Updated 05-09-12)
Thanks to everyone who participated in the eBay auction for Geof Darrow's original artwork from Andrew Vachss' short story "Pig" (Dark Horse Presents #11)! The auction closed at $553; the winner was given-and accepted-the option to purchase the second illustration from that same story. So $1,106 was raised for Protect!
(Updated 05-09-12)
With a new Cross short story (illustrated by Geof Darrow) appearing in Dark Horse Presents #13 (June 20, 2012, Dark Horse) and a new Cross novel, Blackjack, on the way (July 10, 2012, Vintage), we thought it was time to give Cross and his crew their own page on The Zero. Head over there to see what the real cover to Blackjack looks like, and to see the splash page to that new short story. And then go "like" Cross and Crew on Facebook.
(Updated 05-02-12)
On sale now! The latest issue of Dark Horse Presents includes an original short story by Andrew Vachss, featuring original illustrations by the inimitable Geof Darrow! That's cool, right? Well, how's this for cooler: You can own a piece of the art Geof created for the story! Geof has donated the illustrations to Protect, and you can bid on that Geof Darrow original here. The illustration is signed by Geof and Andrew, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Protect. So bid early and bid often!
(Updated 04-25-12)
Well ... don't say we didn't warn you. Amazon's price on Blackjack has gone up; so if you didn't already preorder, you're paying a couple extra bucks. But their 42% discount on That's How I Roll is still holding-though don't be surprised when your copy arrives as a second pritning. And ... if you preorder A Bomb Built in Hell from them, it's 46% off cover. For now. Don't expect it to last.
(Updated 04-11-12)
Speaking of waiting too long, if you missed ordering a signed copy of That's How I Roll ... you're out of luck. The few extra copies Andrew Vachss autographed sold out. But in preparing for that session, we found some copies of the first printing of his previous hardcover, The Weight, and he signed those. Get them while they last, for cover price plus shipping, at
(Updated 04-11-12)
Andrew Vachss had a conversation with his brother Joe R. Lansdale, to discuss their recently released books, That's How I Roll and Edge of Dark Water. You can read a transcript of that conversation here and here.
(Updated 04-04-12)
If you haven't yet heard Phil Gigante's audio adaptation of That's How I Roll, click here for a sample. Then score a free copy of that audiobook here.
(Updated 04-04-12)
In their review of That's How I Roll, Kirkus writes, "[S]trikingly original ... a sharp sense of justice ... Vachss structures his novel as a sort of loose, episodic confessional that builds the story stone by stone, strewing the landscape with bodies and dispensing folksy wisdom. ... A smart, cynical glimpse into the human condition." Read the complete review by clicking here.
(Updated 03-28-12)
Andrew Vachss and the inimitable Geofrey Darrow have three original, illustrated short stories appearing in the comics anthology Dark Horse Presents in the coming months. The first of those stories, "Dead Reliable," is in Dark Horse Presents #10, on sale now.
(Updated 03-28-12)
Vintage will publish Andrew Vachss' first novel, A Bomb Built in Hell, as a trade aperback original this November. That's months away, and we know, and we wouldn't normally tell you this early, but ... as of 03-28-2012, is offering the book as a preorder at 46% off cover (that's $8.55). We don't expect that to last, so if you want a bargain, act now. And if you plan on reading it as an ebook, you should know that, once Vintage publishes the book in paperback, they'll release it in all ebook formats. But the existing Kindle edition will be disappearing at the end of April, and you can bet the price will jump when it returns from Vintage. So if you want to purchase the Kindle edition for $2.99, you don't have a lot of time left....
(Updated 03-28-12)
Ian O'Doherty of The (Irish) Independent calls That's How I Roll a "noir masterpiece." Mike Ripley of Shots calls it "classic, gritty Vachss, who writes prose you can strike a match on." And in his review of the audiobook adaptation, Bob Reiss of the Guilded Earlobe says it's "a highly compelling work of fiction by a master storyteller at the top of his game. ... [Phil] Gigante is capable of some amazing vocal gymnastics that at times will blow me away, but it's his ability to capture the edges of the characters that makes his performance here special." That's How I Roll is out now. Get a copy-of the hardcover, ebook, or audiobook adaptation-here.
(Updated 03-21-12)
All hail Baphomet, the latest addition to the Pack!
(Updated 03-14-12)
"[The Getaway Man is] a lean, taunt thriller with gut punch twists and a wonderful main character. ... Phil Gigante goes soft and slow for his reading of The Getaway Man, bringing to the surface Eddie's youthful naivete, while still capturing his hidden depths." Click here to read the Guilded Earlobe's entire review of this audiobook!
(Updated 03-07-12)
Andrew Vachss isn't the only member of our Family of Choice who has a book coming out next month. On March 25, Mulholland Books will release Joe R. Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water, a "perfect noir" (Library Journal) that "channels Mark Twain" (Publishers Weekly) and "has all the potential of becoming a classic" (New York Journal of Books). Click here to read an excerpt!
(Updated 02-22-12)
The public isn't indifferent-when it comes to "two party" politics, you can't order off the menu. If logic and reason were actually given a shot, it would hit the target. And, sure, it'll be slow. It has been slow. The very concept of a law practice devoted exclusively to representing children was laughed at 30 years ago. It's not a sprint; it's a grind. Child labor laws were not in the Constitution; the Dred Scott decision stood for years-and would probably still be the "law of the land" if Clarence Thomas were the only judge on the high court. The list goes on. So does the war. Remember, we only have to win once.
(Updated 02-15-12)
Should a student be disciplined when she makes a request? And what about the professor who approves the request? Dr. Joel Dvoskin weighs in on the New York Times story, "A Counselor's Convictions Put Her Profession on Trial."
(Updated 02-15-12)
For more than two decades, Andrew Vachss has been railing against Florida's child-protection "system," which uses volunteers instead of lawyers to represent abused kids. But at long last, Florida finally listened.
(Updated 02-08-12)
Booklist had this to say about That's How I Roll: "In his latest stand-alone, Vachss, master of hard-boiled fiction, delivers one of his grimmest novels yet." Read the entire review here.
(Updated 02-08-12)
Andrew Vachss' latest addition to Mug Shots got people talking on the Facebook page-a lot of that talk about the notorious 8-Ball jacket he's sporting. So what's the story behind the jacket? "Working Roots."
(Updated 02-08-12)
Donald Moeller was convicted in 1997 of raping and killing a 9-year-old girl. He was sentenced to death. Last year, Moeller filed (yet) another appeal. This time, his reasoning was, "The State's insistent use of the term predator and repeated characterization of the crime as a butchering went far beyond 'the facts surrounding the murder' ... [and its] persistent use of the terms 'predator' and 'butchered' painted a vivid picture of Mr. Moeller as a continuing threat to society and elevated the presentation of evidence beyond mere descriptions of the crime." And the example they used to illustrate the point? Click here to see for yourself.
(Updated 02-01-12)
Phil Gigante-the man who has adapted most of Andrew Vachss' novels to audiobook, including the forthcoming That's How I Roll-was interviewed on the Candi & Randy Show yesterday. You can listen to an archive of that show by clicking here.
(Updated 01-25-12)
Last week, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy warned of a "national epidemic" of youths going on violent "sprees," videotaping the attacks, and posting them on YouTube. He would have known this was coming back in 2002, if he'd listened to the whisper-stream.
(Updated 01-25-12)
Publishers Weekly describes That's How I Roll as a "chilling tour de force." Library Journal says, "Vachss writes raw, eye-opening works that deserve our attention." For more information about the latest novel from Andrew Vachss, click here.
(Updated 01-18-12)
First a TSA bomb screener was caught possessing child pornography. Then a State Department diplomatic security officer was busted for the same crime. And now Dr. Joel A. Dvoskin checks in with our shortest Guest Dispatch ever, explaining in the most simple, obvious, and true terms exactly why possession of child pornography is illegal.
(Updated 01-11-12)
If you're looking to try some new writers in the new year, here are two that Andrew Vachss recommends:

Tony Monchinski (Eden) "Joe Lansdale once told me, 'Charles de Lint is the only writer who could make me read about faeries.' Put me down for the same my brother's having--only make mine Tony Monchinski and zombies."

Steve Sundberg (Street Logic) "The (straight) answer to any fool who says you can't use 'fiction' to tell the truth. Proof that before you can pass it on, you have to pass through it. A beautiful tightrope walk over a true hell on earth ... a tightrope you can't walk with your eyes closed."
(Updated 01-04-12)
The first Cross short stories appeared in Born Bad in 1994. Eighteen years later-in July of next year-the first Cross novel will be published. You can take a first look at the cover of Blackjack, and read a brief excerpt, by clicking here.
(Updated 12-28-11)
A couple of weeks ago, we announced on this page that Phil Gigante's audiobook adaptation of Shella had been published by Brilliance. That got us to thinking about "Ghost," the musical version of that book. If you don't know what we're talking about, click here to give it a listen.
(Updated 12-28-11)
One of Andrew Vachss' latest tweets: "It's the hardest time of year for Children of the Secret, besieged with incessant messages about the boundless joy of 'family togetherness.' " Click here to follow Andrew Vachss on Twitter.
(Updated 12-21-11)
A female child is sexually assaulted. That child gives birth at 12! The magic of "family reunification" puts her baby back together with the child who gave birth to him. And the result is ... another dead baby. Once again, Florida lives down to its reprehensible record on "child protection."
(Updated 12-14-11)

Last week, we told you that Andrew Vachss' latest, That's How I Roll, would be released as an audiobook. But what you may not know is that both Shella and The Getaway Man have been adapted to audio recently, by Audie Award winner Phil Gigante. Click here for information on both.
(Updated 12-14-11)

The new year is almost here, and we have at least one thing to look forward to: the return of Geofrey Darrow's Shaolin Cowboy!
(Updated 12-07-11)

We've had a few questions as to whether or not Andrew Vachss' latest, That's How I Roll, will be released as an audiobook. Here's the answer.
(Updated 12-07-11)

Georg Schmidt, my good and great friend as well as my true German translator, has moved on. I won't know where to until I join him, but I do know Georg ... so I expect he'll have the place sorted out by the time I arrive.
(Updated 11-30-11)

Climbing into the rings that she's climbed into, you couldn't have anything but respect for Professor Ruby Andrew, JSM. But her latest knockout punch? All of America will be feeling the aftershocks for years to come.
(Updated 11-30-11)

Rep. Sam Johnson just authored a bill that would eliminate Social Security's publicly released Death Master File, which (he points out) has been used by thieves to commit identity theft of dead children "for at least a decade." A decade, of course, bring us back to 2001. But ... wasn't Flood published in 1985? Just another politician who isn't connected to the whisper-stream....
(Updated 11-30-11)

In a New York Times Op-Ed, Penn State Professor Michael Berube tried to put the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno abuse story in perspective-his perspective, the one that benefits him. Read Dr. Joel Dvoskin's response to Berube's Op-Ed.
(Updated 11-23-11)

According to the news, forthcoming elections in Congo will likely escalate violence in that African country. What? Even with all those UN forces on hand?
(Updated 11-23-11)

A week later, and the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno abuse story has all but forced the Texas judge William Adams abuse story out of the news. Meanwhile, the real story is the one we've been telling for decades: that the overwhelming majority of child sexual abuse is not committed by the kind of roving serial perpetrators who can be "profiled" for trash TV. Read Andrew Vachss' latest Tumblr column on the subject.
(Updated 11-16-11)

"Colorado Supreme Court: Neglected and abused kids shouldn't trust their lawyers." This headline out of Denver would shock you ... if you haven't been listening to the whisper-stream.
(Updated 11-16-11)

Between the release of the video of Texas judge William Adams beating his child and the revelation that Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was raping kids, and the administration knew of it for years and did nothing ... we've been deluged in the past week with requests for our thoughts. And what we think is, this is nothing new. We made a name for it, more than a decade ago: Circle of Trust. What is new is that the phrase has just had its first official citation, in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court (pg. 15 of the document, 29 of the PDF). And that brief is bigger news than either of the previous revelations: 40 states joined in support to argue that interviewing a child who is suspected of being abused should not require a warrant, court order, parental consent, or anything else that could interfere in the timely protection of that child. So when someone tells you that the judge-freak or the Penn State coach are signs that "the world is going to hell," you can tell them that it has been hell, for a lot of kids, for a long time. And point them to that Supreme Court brief as evidence that it's getting better.
(Updated 11-09-11)

This week, Vintage/Black Lizard released The Weight in trade paperback. Click here to order a copy!
(Updated 11-02-11)

Sure, you already knew that Andrew Vachss' next novel, That's How I Roll, is due in March. But did you know he has a Cross novel coming in July?
(Updated 10-26-11)

"The real occupation of Wall Street began when Bush took office and sowed the seeds now being reaped." If you haven't been following Andrew Vachss on Twitter, it's not too late to start.
(Updated 10-19-11)

Arnie Green was with us, all the way, with every step. And we were with him. He left our world on October 4, 2011. We last mentioned Arnie in conjunction with the Safe House soundtrack ... but he never stopped his work until the last heartbeat. Click here to read Myron Schreck's tribute to Arnie Green.
(Updated 10-12-11)

Reflecting on his two years of columns for Comic Book Daily, Brent Chittenden characterized his conversation with Andrew Vachss as the "Interview that Scared Me," and his meeting with Geofrey Darrow as his "Favorite Convention Moment." You can read the full accounts here. We wonder, then, if Mr. Chittenden will be scared or delighted to learn that the pair will be working together on some releases from Dark Horse in the coming month. And how he'll feel about the bag he gets when he shops at Open Books in Chicago in March....
(Updated 10-05-11)

Back in August, we told you about Using Social Science to Reduce Violent Offending, the latest textbook by Dr. Joel Dvoskin, one of America's leading forensic psychologists and a frequent contributor to The Zero. Less than two months later, we have another textbook by Dr. Dvoskin to tell you about: Evaluation for Personal Injury Claims: Best Practices in Forensic Mental Health Assessment. We don't expect that anything more than a small percentage of The Zero's visitors are litigators are law-school students; but every one of you who is should get this book.
(Updated 10-05-11)

A little girl was raped, and Texas Governor Rick Perry could have prevented it. Since 2007, Protect has been telling politicians about "the map": an image of the US lit up with 500,000+ red dots, each dot representing an identifiable human trading in child porn. We (because all of us at the Zero are members of Protect) have demonstrated through crime statistics that more than 40% of the humans who trade in child porn are themselves victimizing one or more children. And we have been summarily ignored. Politicians have not provided the ICAC programs with the funds they need to investigate these humans trading in child porn. Now one of them-Rodney Williams of Houston, Texas-has been arrested. For raping and sodomizing a 5-year-old girl. Williams was on that map; Texas politicians should have taken action in 2007. But they did not commit the funds to investigate him. They could have prevented the rape of that little girl. Click here to read Grier Weeks' op-ed, "Blood on their Hands."
(Updated 09-28-11)

Chicago-area teens interested in Heart Transplant will have the chance to discuss the book at the Garfield Ridge Chicago Public Library on October 13, as part of the "10 Teen Books Discussions," celebrating ten years of One Book, One Chicago. Click here for more information.
(Updated 09-28-11)

One of the latest from Andrew Vachss' twitter-feed: "I'd like Michael Vick to have to play by the same rules he made his dogs play by-if he wins, he lives; if he loses, he's tortured to death."
(Updated 09-21-11)

Congratulations to Professor Joe R. Lansdale, who was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame for developing the Shen Chuan system!
(Updated 09-21-11)

Here's what Barbara Hoffert at Library Journal wrote about That's How I Roll: "Born of a supremely abusive father and his own sister, Esau Till is trouble from day one-a self-taught explosives expert and hired killer for rival mobs who ends up on death row. He's also seriously smart, while younger brother Tory is a little slow. This book unfolds as Esau's effort to tell his life story in a bid to protect Tory after his own death. A lawyer who represents children exclusively, Vachss writes raw, eye-opening works that deserve our attention."
(Updated 09-14-11)

"Until recently, courtroom dogs faced little more than preliminary objections from defense attorneys. But earlier this summer, a New York lawyer became the first in the nation to appeal his client's conviction of raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl because a dog was used to comfort her during her testimony at trial." Click here to read the complete Reuter's story, including Andrew Vachss' view of the appeal.
(Updated 09-14-11)

If he'd read Choice of Evil, this headline could have turned out differently: "Connecticut man thrown in jail after breaking into pound to free his dog."
(Updated 09-07-11)

To read past updates, click here.


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