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4.6 out of 5 stars30
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on July 7, 2011
One good way to enticing me to read your book is to put a dog in it. One good way to repel me is to put a cat in it. Tom Piccirilli opted for dog. My kind of author.

This isn't a story about a dog though, even if it is an adorable old bulldog named Churchill. It's about an author at the end of his rope. He's lost his house, his wife, his career, and the story starts off with him being beaten and robbed of his few remaining possessions in front of a pawn shop. All he has left is his car and his dog. Throw in a steel guitar and you've got yourself a country song. After he's patched up, he pawns off what he can and buys something he believes he'll need: a gun.

Have you ever had an disquieting feeling go through you, one that feels like when you're in a sawmill? That's kind of how this book makes you feel as you read it. There's a menacing shadow over this guy as he makes his cross-country journey to see his estranged big brother. He's not going on a killing spree or anything as explosive as that, but he's a lit fuse. He drives from Colorado to New York to reunite with his estranged brother, as well as his literary agent. Every relationship he has is strained, if not ruined by how his life has been led. The guy, who is never named, is sympathetic on one level for the hardships he faces, but he's not a very likable guy.

The narration is a combination of frenetic ramblings and brooding contemplation. Piccirilli gives you the idea of what's going through the guy's head as it's happening, not much of it pretty. A feel good story it is not, but it wound up being a story that resonated--like that hum I mentioned--and is rightfully earning praise from just about everyone who reads it. It's a novella length work, which is a perfect fit for a story like this, as it lasts just long enough for the story that needs to be told to have its turn in the spotlight. The ending may not be what you expect, but it's about as close to a perfect ending that you could ask for.

If you have any appreciation for dark fiction, then you should most definitely read this book.
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on October 17, 2012
MY FIRST PICCIRILLI...4 STARS FOR AN ABRUPT ENDING...NOT MY USUAL, BUT THIS WAS A GREAT DARK SHORT READ! I KEPT WANDERING WHAT THE HELL HE WAS GOING TO DO NEXT, WHERE WOULD HE GO & WOULD HE ACTUALLY USE THE GUN! I'M GLAD I DIDN'T PASS IT UP!
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on January 9, 2012
A shattering novella of our times. This book could only have been written in the last two or three years, but it stays with you forever. Piccirilli's nameless character could be me. Or you.
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on July 2, 2011
This is one truly impressive book. Not many writers can cut their prose to the bone like Tom Piccirilli can. This book plays dirty. It hooks you in from the opening scene and then keeps piling it on. Layers of characterization so deep and heavy they could crush concrete.

If you love hard-boiled, baby this is it.
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on September 22, 2015
Anything by Piccirilli is well crafted. But if you like your tales served with sugar go elsewhere. Tom delivers with salt only.
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on May 27, 2011
Piccirilli is an underrated master. I picked this one up just for a quick glance and got sucked in immediately. I wanted to say, "Tom, let go, I gotta pee," but that just wasn't gonna happen. I couldn't stop reading. I highly recommend this one.
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on July 25, 2015
Everything Tom wrote was excellent
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on March 8, 2013
This book is powerful, poignant and pointless. It should be read because Piccarelli can put together sentences that have you lifting your face from the page so it won't be scorched. But, the story is derivative and told with more gut gripping authenticity by Malcolm Lowry over sixty years ago when he wrote Under the Volcano.

I have read the other reviews and their heartfelt observations that this book reflects our troubled times. Those reviews miss it. All times are troubled and some men more troubled than most. In that context, this book makes sense.
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EVERY SHALLOW CUT is the that rare kind of psychological thriller that every OTHER writer wishes he'd written. This is suspense at its most excrutiating. Wow.
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on July 8, 2013
This author obviously found 25 friends to write glowing reviews of this piece of garbage. It went fast, so I finished it, hoping there was a story or at least a point. There wasn't. I'm just glad I checked it out of the library on my Kindle so I wasn't out any cash, although the 90 minutes I wasted won't be coming back.

I should have followed my instincts when I read the second sentence of the book, "I hit like two hundred pounds of failed dreams." It went downhill from there.
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