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Posted July 12, 2011
This is a vicious little "noirella" as Piccirilli calls them. The writing is clean, cut to the bone, so that you are left with a work that has no wasted words. Every sentence is a 9mm parabellum to the cranial.
Go. Read. This. Book.
Posted July 7, 2011
One good way to enticing me to read your book is to put a dog in it. One good way to repel me is to put a cat in it. Tom Piccirilli opted for dog. My kind of author.
This isn't a story about a dog though, even if it is an adorable old bulldog named Churchill. It's about an author at the end of his rope. He's lost his house, his wife, his career, and the story starts off with him being beaten and robbed of his few remaining possessions in front of a pawn shop. All he has left is his car and his dog. Throw in a steel guitar and you've got yourself a country song. After he's patched up, he pawns off what he can and buys something he believes he'll need: a gun.
Have you ever had an disquieting feeling go through you, one that feels like when you're in a sawmill? That's kind of how this book makes you feel as you read it. There's a menacing shadow over this guy as he makes his cross-country journey to see his estranged big brother. He's not going on a killing spree or anything as explosive as that, but he's a lit fuse. He drives from Colorado to New York to reunite with his estranged brother, as well as his literary agent. Every relationship he has is strained, if not ruined by how his life has been led. The guy, who is never named, is sympathetic on one level for the hardships he faces, but he's not a very likable guy.
The narration is a combination of frenetic ramblings and brooding contemplation. Piccirilli gives you the idea of what's going through the guy's head as it's happening, not much of it pretty. A feel good story it is not, but it wound up being a story that resonated--like that hum I mentioned--and is rightfully earning praise from just about everyone who reads it. It's a novella length work, which is a perfect fit for a story like this, as it lasts just long enough for the story that needs to be told to have its turn in the spotlight. The ending may not be what you expect, but it's about as close to a perfect ending that you could ask for.
If you have any appreciation for dark fiction, then you should most definitely read this book.
Posted March 20, 2011
For the past couple of years Tom Piccirilli has been writing what he describes "noirellas" (noir novellas) which many of his crime fans, myself included, count among his best work. THE NOBODY, ALL YOU DESPISE, YOU'D BETTER WATCH OUT, FRAYED, and THE LAST DEEP BREATH are among his strongest output. Now he and Chizine Publications give us EVERY SHALLOW CUT, which might just be the best of them all. EVERY SHALLOW CUT is the story of a nameless failed writer who's recently lost his home to the economy and his wife to another man. All of his possessions have been pawned to pay his debts, leaving him in the end with only his car and his bulldog, Churchill. When he's attacked on a Denver street by three punks, he lashes out with all the force of his bundled fury. With just enough cash left to buy a gun, he plans to travel cross-country to New York to visit his estranged brother, flirting with greater violence every mile of the way. This simplified plot is anything but simple as he traces back through his life looking for the places where he made his greatest mistakes. He revisits lost friends and lovers trying discover whatever meaning might be left in his life. Haunted by painful memories of his youth, marriage, and career, and desperate for understanding, we are shown just how far a person might fall by scant inches of average failures and tragedies. Despite the heaviness of themes, this is also a very funny tale. Yes, really. The darker the subject matter, the more Piccirilli seems to use it to wring out sorrowful and sardonic humor. The first-person narrative voice is pitch-perfect believable, full of truth, honesty, and seeming confessional. The writing is sharp enough to throw sparks, full of beauty and despair. Although I'm hard-pressed to call this a "crime tale", there are elements of crime fiction to be found here. And horror fiction. And literary mainstream fiction. And poetry. And memoir. This small book works so well precisely because it fits in everywhere and nowhere. Pick up a copy now and discover the thrills and heartache of this wonderful work for yourself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 2, 2011
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