Richard Thomas is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications. Nominated for five Pushcart Prizes, he is the author of the novel Transubstantiate and two short-story collections, Herniated Roots and Staring into the Abyss. Thomas lives with his family in the Chicago area.
Disintegrationby Richard Thomas
In a brilliantly stylish breakthrough thriller for fans of Bret Easton Ellis’s/b>/i>/i>
“A dark existential thriller of unexpected twists, featuring a drowning man determined to pull the rest of the world under with him, Disintegration is a stunning and vital piece of work.”—Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting
In a brilliantly stylish breakthrough thriller for fans of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Will Christopher Baer’s Kiss Me, Judas, here is the compelling tale of a man who has lost it all—and is now navigating a crooked, harrowing path to redemption.
Once a suburban husband and father, now the man has lost all sense of time. He retains only a few keepsakes of his former life: a handmade dining room table, an armoire and dresser from the bedroom, and a tape of the last message his wife ever left on their answering machine. These are memories of a man who no longer exists. Booze and an affair with a beautiful woman provide little relief, with the only meaning left in his life coming from his assignments. An envelope slipped under the door of his apartment with the name and address of an unpunished evildoer. The unspoken directive to kill. And every time he does, he marks the occasion with a memento: a tattoo. He has a lot of tattoos.
But into this unchanging existence seep unsettling questions. How much of what he feels and sees can he trust? How much is a lie designed to control him? He will risk his own life—and the lives of everyone around him—to find out.
Advance praise for Disintegration
“Sweet hot hell, Richard Thomas writes like a man possessed, a man on fire, a guy with a gun to his head. And you’ll read Disintegration like there’s a gun to yours, too. It’s a twisted masterpiece.”—Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds and Double Dead
“This novel is so hard-hitting it should come with its own ice pack. Richard Thomas is the wild child of Raymond Chandler and Chuck Palahniuk, a neo-noirist who brings to life a gritty, shadow-soaked, bullet-pocked Chicago as the stage for this compulsively readable crime drama.”—Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding
“Richard Thomas builds his universe and its population with terse prose and dynamic, often horrifyingly visceral imagery that unspools with grand weirdness and intensity. Then he rips that universe apart, brick by bloody brick. Disintegration is provocative. It’s also damned fine noir.”—Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and The Croning
“Disintegration is gritty neo-noir, a psycho-sexual descent into an unhinged psyche and an underworld Chicago that could very well stand in for one of the rings of Dante’s Hell. Richard Thomas’s depraved, doomed philosopher-hitman is your guide. I suggest you do as he says and follow him, if you know what’s good for you.”—Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Little Sleep
“Gritty, obsessive, and compulsively readable.”—Brian Evenson, author of Immobility
“In sharp, icy prose that cuts like a glacial wind, Richard Thomas’s dark Chicago tale keeps us absolutely riveted to the very end.”—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time
- Random House Publishing Group
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This book was excellent. It was a crazy ride from beginning to end. Richard Thomas' book TRANSUBSTANTIATE was an excellent debut --making him an author to watch for. Now with DISINTEGRATION, Richard Thomas moves from an author to watch for to a must-read author. I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. This was a great book by a great author and for only $2.99 there is nothing else to say. Read it.
4.5 stars Disintegration is the first book in Richard Thomas's Windy City Dark Mystery series, and the key word here is "dark." Thomas has written a first-class example of that subset of noir fiction known as "hard-boiled," offering a bleak vision of America, set against a dark and gritty urban scene and populated by a protagonist whose amorality and ruthlessness make him at times indistinguishable from the villains. Nevertheless, we care about Disintegration's unnamed "hero" because he didn't start out this way: "Maybe those with the most to lose have the furthest to fall. Maybe the ones with everything, the American dream realized, they become the best soldiers. Because without love, there cannot be hate. Without a fullness, there cannot be a void. To be fractured, you must be solid once, a presence, a rock, complete." As is the case in the best hard-boiled fiction, it is precisely the negative aspects of his broken character which make his ultimate sacrifice all the more powerful. Strangely, it was this self-same emotional denouement which dropped my rating from 5 stars to 4.5. I won't disclose what bothered me here, so as to avoid spoiling the climax for other readers, but I have asked about it above and would be delighted if another Goodreads member (or, even better, Mr. Thomas himself!) would answer my question. Suffice it to say that I found the ending illogical, though still gut-wrenching. Disintegration's designation as part of a series is a bit misleading. The continuing presence in these novels is not a character whose personality might develop over the course of the series, but Chicago, the Windy City itself. Each book stands, and can be fully enjoyed, alone. Whether you start with Disintegration or Thomas's latest book Breaker, you are in for a fantastic reading experience. I received a free copy of Disintegration through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.