Audiobook Review: The Weight by Andrew Vachss

14 01 2011

The Weight by Andrew Vachss

Read by Buck Schirner

Brilliance Audio


In everybody’s life there are rules you live by. Not laws, imposed by Governments, but rules, imposed personally or sociologically depending of what kind of life you lead. Timothy “Sugar” Caine is an old school pro, a thief and a con, who lives by his strict code. One of the rules he lives by is, you get caught, you take the weight. You don’t rat out others to reduce your sentence, you take your years, and when you get out, what you earned would be waiting for you. And that is what Sugar does when he is falsely accused of a rape. In order for Sugar to exonerate himself, he would need to offer an alibi, yet, that alibi would be a certain jewel heist he took part in. So Sugar takes the fall for the rape, and, after a deal with the DA, serves another mans 5 years.

Andrew Vachss again offers us a flawed human character as protagonist. A character who may live with more honor than most straight people. Sugar is a bit slow, but not stupid. Yet, people know about the rules Sugar lives by, and are willing to manipulate him for their own ends.

The Weight is a thinking man’s thriller. Don’t expect a lot of car crashes and gun fights.  Nor will you find a super smart, superhero type  protagonist who is always a step ahead of his enemies.  Instead, look for a deeply satisfying morality play, involving a fascinating character who slowly works his way through the obstacles placed before him,

Narrating this tale is Buck Schirner. Schirner does well enough, but I would have loved to see someone with more vocal flexibility handle the tale. Schirner reads Sugar like a big dumb goomba, and I think his voice could distract listeners a bit from the true character, stereotyping him like those in Sugar’s life do. His female characterizations are brutal, which is sad because Vachss female characters are so important to the story development. Yet, the audiobook is worth the few issues I have with the narrator.


Grade B




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