- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (June 12, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553592483
- ISBN-13: 978-0553592481
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,649,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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
The first novel in the "Rand" series is The Last Kind Words. It's written with such precision and beauty that the words almost take your breath away. This is a particular skill that an author learns over a period of time as he learns his craft with the written word. Not everyone makes it, but Tom Piccirilli is now at the top of his craft and is certainly a master of the crime noir novel.
The storyline is this novel revolves around Terrier (Terry) Rand who left his family and girlfriend behind for five long years, leaving no address to find him at and not carrying if he ever saw them again. But, of course, Terry does yearn for his family and the woman he still loves. All it takes is a telephone call from his sister, Dale, explaining that his brother, Collie, who's on Death Row, needs to see him one last time before he dies.
Terry drives across country in a mad rush to get home and to find out what Collie wants to see him about, surprised that his brother went on a killing spree and murdered several innocent people, including an elderly lady and a child. It makes Terry want to throw up. Once Terry reaches the home of his parents, he quickly discovers that little has changed with his family, who come from generations of profession thieves, and yet everything has changed, if you look more closely with a skilled eye.
His mom seems to be barely holding the family together. His dad, Pinsch, who disliked stealing, has stopped casing places late at night. Terry's sister, Dale, has gotten older, smarter, and more beautiful, and is also dating a young punk who thinks he's Butch Cassidy. Terry's grandfather, Shep, is losing his mind to old age, but every once in a while, the real Shep appears when most needed. His father's brothers, Grey and Mal, are still the best at cheating when it comes to playing cards. The only thing is that Mal has taken a local mob boss for forty thousand dollars, and the guy wants his money back or else.
On top of everything, when Terry finally has a sit down with his brother, Collie, he discovers that his sibling actually admits to killing everyone he's charged for, except a young girl. Collie claims he didn't kill her and that the real murderer is still out there, performing his handiwork on unsuspecting females. Collie wants Terry to find the serial killer and put him down.
And, to add the dessert to the main feast, Terry's former best friend, Chub, has now married the woman (Kimmie) he left behind after she had a miscarriage. This might even be the hardest thing Terry has to deal with because he still loves Kimmie and knows he doesn't deserve to be around her.
Yep, Terry is back home, and he doesn't know what to believe, or whom to trust, or what in the hell to do. It all looks like one big, damn mess, and it isn't long before he starts thinking about getting out of Dodge again. The only thing that stops him from leaving is his sense that blood always wins out in the end, and, of course, his love for Kimmie.
Tom Piccirilli, who started out writing horror fiction back in the nineties, made his first major mark on the crime noir genre with the publication of The Cold Spot, which was quickly followed by The Coldest Mile. Though I was a big fan of horror fiction, I'd never read any of Tom's novels before The Cold Spot. It's strange that I first became a fan of his through crime noir fiction, rather than horror. In reading The Cold Spot and The Coldest Mile, I became not only an instant fan, but an avid fan as well. Tom's writing reminded me of a superior, grittier Mickey Spillane with a little bit of John D. MacDonald thrown into the mix and stirred around. I guess you could say it was kind of in your face. The author's own unique style of writing and his original storylines made me search out his previous novels and to buy his newer ones as they eventually came out.
With the publication of The Last Kind World, I was superstitious about even opening the book, afraid that Tom wouldn't recover from his illness. When he finally got better, his second novel in the series, The Last Whisper in the Dark, came out, and I knew it okay to start reading his fiction again...that Tom was here for the duration.
I have to say that the first few pages of The Last Kind Word blew me away with their sheer elegance and profound sense of crime noir fiction. After having read thousands of novels over the last fifty years, I instantly recognized a master craftsman at work within these pages. I even read some of the words out loud, delighting in the feel of them and how they rolled off my tongue.
As I got deeper into the novel, I began to identify with not only Terry Rand, but also with many of the other characters in his family. Tom Piccirilli has a certain magic with how he creates different and unique characters within his stories, making them come alive with their inner strengths and outward weaknesses. These are everyday people who just happen to live on the wrong side of the law. Otherwise, they could easily be your next-door neighbor.
Tom never disappoints as he leads you on a journey of inner discovery because the people in his stories are simply reflections of our own true selves. We learn to take a harder look at our own anger and follies, trying to find that person inside that we can be proud of. Sometimes the main characters in Tom's books have to do bad things to keep worse things from happening. Life is never easy. You have to take it by the horns and twist its head, until it's forced into submission, or you're beaten down by it.
Terry Rand is no different from you or me as he seeks to discover the truth about his brother, Collie, and to do the right thing in the end, even though it nearly destroys him.
Life's lessons are what great writing is about. You certainly can't go wrong with a novel by Tom Piccirilli, and you might just learn something about yourself in the process.
Just to let you know, the tale of Terry Rand continues in The Last Whisper in the Dark when the husband of the woman he loves, disappears with a hard-hitting crew of killers after him. Terry has to bring Chub back for Kimmie and her daughter, no matter the cost to himself and those around him.
Great reading and highly recommend!
R. Thomas Riley
Rands, a family of thieves and grafters, all named for dogs...Terry our main character is really Terrier, and there is Collie, and Dale...Airdale and so on. An interesting and dark family...I was thinking I had picked up a mystery, and yes there is one but this book is more a family story and it is violent in places. The characters are given to the reader with background and great detail, something I really like in a book. Piccirilli has written one really good book. So HIIGHLY RECOMMENDED