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The Last Kind Words: A Novel Hardcover – June 12, 2012
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Advance praise for The Last Kind Words
“Perfect crime fiction . . . a convincing world, a cast of compelling characters, and above all a great story.”—Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of 61 Hours
“For the first time since The Godfather, a family of criminals has stolen my heart. This is a brilliant mix of love and violence, charm and corruption. I loved it.”—Nancy Pickard, bestselling author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning
“You don’t choose your family. And the Rand clan, a family of thieves, is bad to the bone. But it’s a testimony to Tom Piccirilli’s stellar writing that you still care about each and every one of them. The Last Kind Words is at once a dark and brooding page-turner and a heartfelt tale about the ties that bind.”—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Darkness, My Old Friend
“Piccirilli straddles genres with the boldness of the best writers today, blending suspense and crime fiction into tight, brutal masterpieces.”—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Colony
“Tom Piccirilli’s sense of relationships and the haunting power of family lifts his writing beyond others in the genre. The Last Kind Words is a swift-moving and hard-hitting novel.”—Michael Koryta, Edgar Award–nominated author of The Ridge
“A stunning story that ranges far afield at times but never truly leaves home, a place where shadows grow in every corner . . . superbly told, with prose that doesn’t mess about or flinch from evil.”—Daniel Woodrell, PEN USA award–winning author of Winter’s Bone
“There’s more life in The Last Kind Words (and more heartache, action, and deliverance) than in any other novel I’ve read in the past couple of years.”—Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award–winning author of The Lock Artist
“You’re in for a treat. Tom Piccirilli is one of the most exciting authors around. He writes vivid action that is gripping and smart, with characters you believe in and care about.”—David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of First Blood
“Mystic River set the bar for classic literary mystery, and The Last Kind Words is a novel on the same superb playing field. Compassionate, fascinating, and with an adrenaline narrative that is as gripping as it is moving, this book is pure alchemy.”—Ken Bruen, Shamus and Macavity Award–winning author of The Guards and Headstone
“Piccirilli’s family of heartbroken thieves, bound by love, secrets, and family codes, kept me turning the pages until the very end. It pained me to put this book down at night. Tom Piccirilli is the leader of a new pack of writers combining the best elements of crime, mystery, and literary fiction in a way that would make Chandler proud. I loved this book, and can’t wait for the sequel.”—Sara Gran, author of Clare DeWitt and the City of the Dead
“Tom Piccirilli’s The Last Kind Words is a story born of the dark legacies of family violence and loss. With vivid prose and palpable urgency, it succeeds utterly as a crime tale. At the same time, it reminds us that crimes can emanate from both the darkest and lightest of places, and renders the heart of a damaged family with clear-eyed yet fervent beauty.”—Megan Abbott, author of The End of Everything
“Piccirilli has created a world so real you can smell the mildew. After writing crime and horror for presses well known and obscure, he deserves a breakout novel and this just might be it.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A searing examination of the ties that bind brother to brother…a soulful, shivery edge to this tale of an unhappy family that’s assuredly unhappy in its own special way.”
“[A] sharp slice of contemporary noir….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.” —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Tom Piccirilli is the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. He's won two International Thriller Awards and four Bram Stoker Awards, as well as having been nominated for the Edgar, the World Fantasy Award, the Macavity, and Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire.
Top customer reviews
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The Last Kind Words tends to stay with you long after you've turned the last page. There's a haunting lyricism in the words because Piccirilli touches a lot of nerves in the book. The book is about murder, about a spree killer, about losing loved ones to dementia, secrets, and not knowing how to stay connected - but it's ALL about family.
The Rand family isn't like anything you've ever seen before in some respects. Then again, they're like every family you've ever known. I don't know why the dog name motif came up (the main character is Terrier Rand, his brother is Collie, and his sister is Dale - from Airedale. Imagine carrying that around as a kindergartner) but it works for the most part.
All of the family members are thieves, and if you know career criminals, that tends to be true as well. Piccirilli displays a lot of knowledge about thieves and thieving, about cards and card mechanics, so there's an education on just about every page for the reader interested in reading beyond what the story offers.
The setup offers an interesting premise because our main character has been absent from the family for five years and returns only because his older brother has been convicted of spree killing and is about to be put to death by lethal injection. Terry can't stay away and soon finds himself involved in the murders far more than he wants to be. Especially when Collie tells him that he didn't kill one of the victims.
Although the story seems to be very small and localized, there are enough players that you might want to take out a pen and paper to keep up with everyone. Getting through the permutations of the plot takes some real focus, and Piccirilli provides enough mystery and deception to keep you guessing throughout most of the book. There are also a number of side trips through other family problems that are interesting but also demand attention.
The book is an enjoyable read, full of depth and pathos, but it certainly isn't light fare. I was left on a down note to a degree, because although Terry learns a lot about his family and himself, those discoveries aren't pleasant. They're tough and vicious, which is what the author intends.
I'm going to wait a couple weeks on the new book, The Last Whisper In The Dark, to regroup before diving back into the Rand family and Terry's twisted life. However, I am going to read that book. I have to see what happens next.
Can you ever go home?
Terrier Rand has come home to Long Island because his brother Collie's time on death row is almost up. Having confessed to a senseless murder spree, Collie wants his brother to investigate one of the murders, which he insists he did not commit. There may be another killer on the loose.
The Rands are a colorfully dysfunctional family of thieves and grifters whose first names have long been those of dog breeds, though no one remembers why. Terry comes face to face not only with what his family is, and what he was, but also with how his future might turn out when he realizes the Rand men may all share a similar dark fate.
The mystery of the other killer is merely the vehicle for Terry to revisit his family's past, and to reconnect with the dusty remains of their squirreled-away useless loot, a symbol of both their greatest skills and ultimate failure. Bouncing from a slightly crooked cop, to an insecure mob boss, and then his abandoned girlfriend now married to a former best friend, Terry tries to do right by his brother--and by his younger sister, who is flirting with the family business but heading for a fall.
Piccirilli (Headstone City, The Coldest Mile, The Midnight Road) turns phrases with an ease even Chandler might envy. His brooding characters are caught in their own tragic flaws, bearing the pain of regret and hopeless yearning for redemption. This dark, engrossing blend of genres should cement the author's reputation as a modern master of noir literature.
--W.D. Gagliani, author of WOLF'S EDGE
This novel was so powerful that I read it through in one sitting, unable to look away or to set it aside till I finished. Truly convoluted, dysfunctional, and horrifying, it deserves awards and a wide and discriminating audience.
I reviewed an e-book copy received from Great Minds Think Aloud in return for my fair and impartial review.
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Crime fiction isn’t my usual genre because most of it is so predictable.Read more