Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Review: "Shadow Season" by Tom Piccirilli

Tom Piccirilli may very well be one of the best thriller writers that you've never heard of. With all of the publicity that writers like James Patterson, Lee Child, Stephen Hunter and others get, given the quality of his writing, a little name-recognition for Piccirilli would be well-deserved. Books like The Cold Spot, The Midnight Road and The Coldest Mile are fantastic, grab-you-by-the-throat thrillers, all of which I've devoured in one or two sittings.

That being said, I feel as if Piccirilli missed the mark with Shadow Season. The story of Finn, a brooding, blind ex-cop now teaching at a girls' private school, trots out all of the usual stereotypes—the drunk Irishman who says "shite" a lot, the crooked cop always looking for one more angle, the hillbilly "local folk," the tempestuous teenage nymphet, etc. Just before the Christmas holidays, as a blizzard is ready to strike the school, violence arrives in the form of two local "holler men" (the school is built near a holler) and they're looking for Finn, willing to leave nothing in their way until they get what they want. The action in this book is fantastic; everything else is just a little too pat for me, unlike in Piccirilli's other books. Looking at reviews from others on sites like Amazon, however, I seem to be in the minority. If you're a fan of thrillers, I'd encourage you to pick up a Piccirilli book—just read some of his others first!!

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