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The Night Class Hardcover – March 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Bereshith Publishing; 1st edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930595026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930595026
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,520,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Piccirilli's predilection for emotionally scarred protagonists embarking on soul-searching quests (The Deceased; Hexes) runs amok in this hyperventilating horror mystery. Caleb Prentiss, upperclassman at an unnamed northern college, returns from Christmas break to discover that Sylvia Campbell, an 18-year-old student with falsified transcripts, was slaughtered in his room during the school break. In his mind, Sylvia becomes linked with his beloved older sister, whose suicide has left him tortured with guilt since childhood. Cal's obsession with investigating a murder that the school has inexplicably hushed up drives him to break into the library basement where Sylvia's effects are stored and to rifle registrar files in search of a clue to her demise. As dark secrets implicating the school's exploitative faculty come to light, Cal finds his life and those of his closest friends in jeopardy. The novel draws on the venerable tradition of stories that plumb the unbridgeable gulf between school learning and life lessons, but Piccirilli goes overboard in his efforts to give events philosophic weight. The text is freighted with unmerited allusions to faith and forgiveness and with snips of brooding song lyrics that are more pretentious than profound. Most of the major characters are prone to martyrlike behavior: a perfectionist premed student gives her body to keep her grades; a voluptuous ethics student works at a strip joint; and Cal himself's hands develop stigmata every time a murder occurs. All but Piccirilli's most devoted fans will find their interest in this tortuous tale out of school to be purely academic. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...draws on the venerable tradition of stories that plumb the unbridgeable gulf between school learning and life lessons..." -- Publishers Weekly<br /><br />“All serious students of dark literature are urged to enroll in THE NIGHT CLASS. This is one course you won’t want to drop.” -- Cemetery Dance<br /><br />“Loaded with grim characters, an unusual plot, and a murky, almost surreal atmosphere, THE NIGHT CLASS is a must-read for fans of the macabre.” -- Masters of Terror<br /><br />“Piccirilli – America’s Fellini of horror fiction – stirs up a surreal stew of ambitions gone astray, romance, sex, madness and murder...” --Richard Layman, author of AMONG THE MISSING and BITE

Customer Reviews

I could not get into the story, characters so weak and thin, dialogue silly.
MRose
I had a very hard time getting into the story, and even as I ploughed along, I continually would get lost or distracted by the authors style and the plot.
P. Robinson
This is an excellent, atmospheric mystery with full characters and a genuine feel for setting.
bonsai chicken

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By bonsai chicken on December 21, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cal Prentiss hasn't had an easy life; his sister killed herself in front of him when he was five, and his palms gush blood whenever someone close to him dies. Now he returns to university for his final semester to find that a girl has been killed in his dorm room over winter break. Not only has the incident been kept out of the media, but no one at the school seems to know anything about it. Or at least, they're not talking. Cal takes on the mystery of the murdered girl as his pet project, but completing it may cost him more than he bargained for. He's bleeding again.
This is an excellent, atmospheric mystery with full characters and a genuine feel for setting. There's something inherently creepy about a college campus in winter, and the author takes full advantage of that. With this second novel (mine, not the author's -- I'd previously read THE DECEASED), Tom Piccirilli has risen to the top of my list of horror authors to watch out for.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can see why this book won a Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel of the year. Few authors are as capable as Tom Piccirilli of building up an unsettling and disturbing atmosphere of dread. Small details twist and coil and continue to add to all the other many touches of evil. The winter campus setting is also the perfect vehicle to tell this offbeat tale of a young man haunted by supernatural forces even as he tries to battle what appears to be a conspiracy of murder in the hallowed halls of his university. When Cal Prentiss returns from the winter break to find that a girl has been killed in his dorm room, he grows obsessed with bringing the culprit to justice. Is her ghost, and the spirit of his dead sister, actually haunting Cal or is he having a nervous breakdown as he suffers stigmata? Piccirilli takes us on a crazed investigation into the heart of malevolence and fear. Five stars, check it out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Robinson on October 8, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Night Class wasn't what I was hoping for. It won the Bram Stoker award, and I was in Ireland at the time, and trying to read anything even remotely connected to Stoker...However, I have to say I was pretty disappointed by this book. I had a very hard time getting into the story, and even as I ploughed along, I continually would get lost or distracted by the authors style and the plot. The story involves a student who finds out that a student was killed in his room, and there is something sinister occurring with the schools faculty because no one will admit she is dead. There isn't a great deal of the book that stands out in my mind as a plot line to discuss here, so I wont bother. I haven't read anything else by this author, and I suspect I never will unless there are very positive reviews. Maybe its just me, but I couldn't pass this particular night class.

Relic113
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tom Piccirilli is one of the most consistently innovative horror writers currently working in the industry. All of his novels manage to raise the bar another notch and each one is completely unique and wholly different from the next. The Night Class has touches of the supernatural that are perfectly intertwined with a story that is, at its core, a mystery that leads the hero through his own dark night of the soul. The fact that the entire book takes place in a single night proves how well Piccirilli manages to frame his story within the context of his own subtle symbolism. This is a thriller that takes place on a university campus where a murder has occurred, but really it's the tale of one man's journey through a night of madness where everything he's come to believe is shaken and corrupted. A brilliant literary event.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Kazmierczak on November 26, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Piccirilli does a great job of creating his protagonist in THE NIGHT CLASS. Unfortunately the rest of the story is not as engrossing as Caleb Prentiss. It starts and ends strong, if a tad abruptly on the ending, and has many very strong middle points but the glue in between those parts weren't quite enough to keep me actively pulled into the novel.

After becoming frustrated with the instructor in his Ethics class, Caleb storms out to start what will turn out to be a very busy and revealing day. At the heart of his day's activities is discovering the details around the death of Sylvia Campbell, a woman who occupied his room during the winter break.

The story is part mystery and part character study with some poetic threading to tie things together. It's easy to see how the characters in this book are a precursor to those in A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Precursor might be the wrong word here; maybe evolutionary step? It's difficult for me to adequately and fairly describe them which is why I'm not really trying to. Let me switch tacks here slightly. This novel is more attuned to Piccirilli's earlier work where the action is not as hard-boiled but it is very much in his style of having complex characters that are interesting to learn about. I didn't find myself pulled into the story as much as his other novels but I am glad that I read it. For multiple reasons.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was halfway through with Tom Piccirilli's THE NIGHT CLASS when I learned that the book had been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for the year's best novel. I'd have to agree that it deserves all the attention it can get. This is the kind of enticing novel that will grip you from page one (from the first sentence) and hold you spellbound all the way through. This is a strong mystery with a strangely twining plot line at its center.
Cal Prentiss returns from the winter break to discover that a girl has been murdered in his form room. If that wasn't bad enough, he's been haunted since childhood by the sight of seeing his sister commit suicide in front of him. As he approaches the end of his final semester at college (i.e., "time is running out"), he learns to face the so-called real world and all its hypocricy and irony.
Apparently a murderer is loose on campus, but no one seems to care except for Cal. As he grows ever more obsessed with learning all he can about the dead girl in his room, he is hounded by questions of what true evil might be. Cal suffers from stigmata and his hands bleed whenever someone close to him dies. The more he bleeds the more he realizes that someone is killing everybody he loves or cares about.
Piccirilli is a poet at heart, and his writing is so lyrical and beautiful in places that it should be read aloud. This is a haunting, fast read that will linger with you long after you've turned the final page. This is a brilliant, imaginative novel, and Piccirilli never settles for a quick payout where story, voice, style, or his narrative vision is concerned. THE NIGHT CLASS is one of the best of the year. Highly recommended.
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More About the Author

Tom Piccirilli is the author of more than twenty-five novels including A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN, SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, and THE LAST KIND WORDS. He's a four-time winner of the Stoker Award, two-time winner of the International Thriller Award, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, and twice for the Edgar Award. Marilyn Stasio of The New York Tims Book Review called THE LAST KIND WORDS, "A caustic thriller...the characters have strong voices and bristle with funny quirks." New York Times bestselling thriller writer Lee Child said of Tom's work, "Perfect crime fiction...a convincing world, a cast of compelling characters, and above all a great story" And Publishers Weekly extols, "Piccirilli's mastery of the hard-boiled idiom is pitch perfect, particularly in the repartee between his characters, while the picture he paints of the criminal corruption conjoining the innocent and guilty in a small Long Island community is as persuasive as it is seamy. Readers who like a bleak streak in their crime fiction will enjoy this well-wrought novel." Keir Graff of Booklist wrote, "There's more life in Piccirilli's THE LAST KIND WORDS (and more heartache, action, and deliverance) than any other novel I've read in the past couple of years." And Kirkus states, "Consigning most of the violence to the past allows Piccirilli (The Fever Kill, 2007, etc.) to dial down the gore while imparting a soulful, shivery edge to this tale of an unhappy family that's assuredly unhappy in its own special way."