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Other Books in Series
This is book number 1 in the Cross Series series.
TO: UNIT 3 Chicago
SUBJECT: Specimen Retrieval
TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID'ed via signature kills worldwide. Identifiable only by skull-spine removal from victims. No witnesses, no forensics, no particular race targeted. On rare occasions, scraps of what appear to be playing cards found at murder sites.
OBJECTIVE: Locate and capture any member of such teams. MUST be taken alive for study and observation.
AUTHORIZATION APPROVED FOR USE OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR: Individual ID'ed only as "Cross" and his team. A pure mercenary outfit, well known throughout criminal underworld--no inside informants available. Ruthless, undeterred by risk, rumored never to fail, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to be trusted. No known political or social objective, but has proven treacherous when retained by government in the past.
UPDATE: Cross and his team claim to have identified a pattern to the signature-kills, and believe they can predict a forthcoming strike. They are prepared to personally confront-and-capture, but financial arrangement alone not sufficient. What you describe as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card is hereby APPROVED.
About the Author
Andrew Vachss’s many books include the Burke novels and two previous collections of short stories. His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, and The New York Times, among other publications. He died in 2021.
"[A] heady mix of spy thriller, crime novel, and horror. . . . Vachss approaches it as he does all his work, imbuing it with a strong moral core. Without that moral core, Blackjack would simply be a better-than-usual take on the thriller genre; with it, the belief in and search for justice and loyalty that permeate the story echo in the hearts of its readers so that they see the world in a new light."
--The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
"Vachss has always been able to pit his protagonists against the darkness of the human heart to great effect."