Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Review: "The Last Whisper in the Dark" by Tom Piccirilli

Every time I read one of Tom Piccirilli's books, I think two things. First, he is a fantastic writer. And second, why isn't this man a household name? So many of Piccirilli's books deftly mesh terrifically complex characters, whip-smart dialogue, movie-worthy action, and great suspense. If you've not read one of his books and you're a fan of crime novels (or just damned good writing), pick one of them up and you'll be hooked.

The Last Whisper in the Dark is a follow-up to the equally fantastic The Last Kind Words. Terrier "Terry" Rand (yes, his family are all named after dog breeds, which feels less idiosyncratic in this book) is a thief, descended from a long line of thieves among members of the Rand family. He desperately wants a "normal" life but the obligations of family and the urge that is in his blood. He knows the path down which his genetics will lead him, but he isn't sure whether fighting it is the right thing to do.

When he fled his Long Island home and his family years before, he broke a promise to Kimmy, the woman he loved. And even though she married his former best friend, Chub, and had a daughter, Terry can't stop thinking about how this should be his life. He can't stop him from watching over Chub, although he's not sure whether he wants Chub to run the straight and narrow, or screw up so he might have another chance with Kimmy. But when he discovers that Chub has gotten in over his head, he promises Kimmy he'll bring her husband home, no matter what it does to him.

Meanwhile, the pull of family becomes even stronger for Terry, as he tries to save his younger sister, Dale, an aspiring actress, from destroying her life through her involvement in a dangerous Web series; as he tries to figure out where his brooding father goes at night; and when he is recruited by estranged family members he never knew he had—once-famous film executives turned horror movie producers—to right some wrongs in their business. But while Terry laments his past and fears his future, he is compelled to focus on the here and now, no matter how dangerous it may prove to him.

I am just so taken with the characters in this book as well as its predecessor. Terry Rand is so complicated, so compelling, one of those people you shouldn't like because of what they do but you can't help but be drawn to them. He is unapologetic about the way he lives his life, even as it's tearing him up inside (and sometimes outside), even though this life has taken such a toll on his family through the years, and this book is as much about that gravitational pull toward wrong than anything else. But at the same time, this is a book about family loyalty, family secrets, and how family can both draw you in and send you running (and reeling).

Piccirilli's writing is simply electrifying at times. There's enough action to get your blood pumping, and enough soul-searching to challenge you. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next, although I wouldn't mind a return to the Rand family.

No comments:

Post a Comment