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HARD LOOKS: ADAPTED STORIES

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The short stories of jack-of-all-trades Andrew Vachss (the Burke detective novels) get the noir treatment as a black-and-white illustrated collection. The talents adapting Vachss’ work are varied — from cult Texas writer Joe R. Lansdale (the Hap Collins-Leonard Pine novels) to British artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) — but all seem capable of delivering jarring sensory uppercuts. These are sketches not just of society’s seamy underbelly, but of the belly ring and navel lint to boot: a phone-sex operator stricken by recovered memories, a lawyer with a dark specialty in pedophilia cases, a homicidal hostage negotiator. Hard looks, indeed.