Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Last Deep Breath by Tom Piccirilli
In his protagonist Grey Tom Piccirilli has created one of his finest characters. A drifter who latches on to a way to track the troubled girl whom he considered his sister, Grey ends up in the Hollywood porno industry looking for the man she was last linked with.
The prose is immaculate. Not a word wasted. Same with the dialogue. It furthers the story but is nuanced so that it also reveals character, sometimes ironically.
The actress Kendra helps Grey by introducing him to her agent, a weasel who comes up with a request that blasts the storyline wide open. She's a fascinating creation, too, a woman of parts and as mysterious in her way as Grey is in his.
The short chapters propel the story at lightning speed so that surprises, and there are several, are all the more shocking. There's an early scene of Grey's boyhood that should be read by everybody who writes violence. It isn't there to titillate; young Grey's reaction is powerful and hangs over the entirety of this short novel.
Tom Piccirilli has given us a small but absolute masterpiece that is the kind of work that all neo-noir should aspire to.