Andrew Vachss writes the fifteen minute eggs of the mystery genre. Be forewarned - his books are extremely hard boiled.
That said, Shella is a love story. Ghost, the narrator, is a killer-for-hire, and quite good at his job. Seperated from his lady love, the titular Shella, by circumstances beyond his control, he quests after her through the gritty underworld in which the author has done so much time, and which he colors in shades of gray and blood-red blotches.
Ghost's specific skills - grift and guns - get him through yet again, to a heart-wrenching ending.
This report prepared by Fran Carey