So it comes as no surprise that Vachss has met many of the characters who populate his noir tales, including his most recent, The Getaway Man. The story is about a young man named Eddie who's been stealing cars since he was a kid, not to make money but simply to drive. Eddie always gets caught because he has no interest in driving like a normal person; he wants to master fast turns, close calls and dangerous escapes. As Eddie gets older, he meets the kind of people who have a use for such skills: robbers. What makes Eddie a sought-after getaway man is not just his prowess behind the wheel but also his loyalty. He would sooner get cuffed than drive off without his cronies.
Critics have called Eddie stupid. "I must be attached to Eddie, because I'm offended when book reviewers say he's stupid," Vachss admits. Eddie goes along with plots that are likely to land him in trouble -- not because he's a half-wit, but because there are things he values more than his own self-interest. "Eddie's quite intelligent," Vachss explains. "He's not cunning."
In a deep, gravelly voice, Vachss (which rhymes with sacks, not socks) explains why Eddie appeals to him. "Find every word for dark in the English language, and that's what I usually get from reviewers," he says. "I wanted to write a book about innocence."