Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Books: The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli

The Last Kind Words: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

The Last Kind Words: A Novel

Advance praise for The Last Kind Words

“Perfect crime fiction . . . a convincing world, a cast of compelling characters, and above all a great story.”—Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of 61 Hours

“For the first time since The Godfather, a family of criminals has stolen my heart. This is a brilliant mix of love and violence, charm and corruption. I loved it.”—Nancy Pickard, bestselling author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning

“You don’t choose your family. And the Rand clan, a family of thieves, is bad to the bone. But it’s a testimony to Tom Piccirilli’s stellar writing that you still care about each and every one of them. The Last Kind Words is at once a dark and brooding page-turner and a heartfelt tale about the ties that bind.”—Lisa Unger, New York Timesbestselling author of Darkness, My Old Friend

“Piccirilli straddles genres with the boldness of the best writers today, blending suspense and crime fiction into tight, brutal masterpieces.”—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Colony

“Tom Piccirilli’s sense of relationships and the haunting power of family lifts his writing beyond others in the genre. The Last Kind Words is a swift-moving and hard-hitting novel.”—Michael Koryta, Edgar Award–nominated author of The Ridge

“A stunning story that ranges far afield at times but never truly leaves home, a place where shadows grow in every corner . . . superbly told, with prose that doesn’t mess about or flinch from evil.”—Daniel Woodrell, PEN USA award–winning author of Winter’s Bone

“There’s more life in The Last Kind Words (and more heartache, action, and deliverance) than in any other novel I’ve read in the past couple of years.”—Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award–winning author of The Lock Artist

“You’re in for a treat. Tom Piccirilli is one of the most exciting authors around. He writes vivid action that is gripping and smart, with characters you believe in and care about.”—David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of First Blood

From International Thriller Writers Award winner and Edgar Award nominee Tom Piccirilli comes a mesmerizing suspense novel that explores the bonds of family and the ways they're stretched by guilt, grief, and the chance for redemption.

Raised in a clan of small-time thieves and grifters, Terrier Rand decided to cut free from them and go straight after his older brother, Collie, went on a senseless killing spree that left an entire family and several others dead. Five years later, and days before his scheduled execution, Collie contacts Terry and asks him to return home. He claims he wasn't responsible for one of the murders--and insists that the real killer is still on the loose.

Uncertain whether his brother is telling the truth, and dogged by his own regrets, Terry is drawn back into the activities of his family: His father, Pinsch, who once made a living as a cat burglar but retired after the heartbreak caused by his two sons. His card sharp uncles, Mal and Grey, who've recently incurred the anger of the local mob. His grandfather, Old Shep, who has Alzheimer's but is still a first-rate pickpocket. His teenage sister, Dale, who's flirting with the lure of the criminal world. And Kimmy, the fiancée he abandoned, who's now raising a child with his former best friend.

As Terrier starts to investigate what really happened on the day of Collie's crime spree, will the truth he uncovers about their offenses and secrets tear the Rands apart?

Walking the razor-sharp edge between love and violence, with the atmospheric noir voice that is his trademark, The Last Kind Words demonstrates why Tom Piccirilli has become a must-read author.

Employing the unique, darkly humorous, and powerful noir voice that is his trademark, Tom Piccirilli continually demonstrates why he's become a must-read author for admirers of both crime and horror fiction. His last two mass market paperback crime novels SHADOW SEASON and THE COLDEST MILE were both nominated for the coveted Thriller Award, given out by the International Thriller Writers, with TCM taking home the prize. His latest novel THE LAST KIND WORDS will appear from Bantam this June in hardcover.
Ed Gorman: THE LAST KIND WORDS has already generated some nice buzz and picked up tremendous blurbs from the likes of Lee Child, Daniel Woodrell, Lisa Unger, Nancy Pickard, and Steve Hamilton. Tell us a little about the novel.
PIC: It's the story of a young thief named Terrier Rand who returns to his criminal family on the eve of his brother Collie's execution. For no apparent reason Collie went on a killing spree murdering eight people. Now, five years later, Collie swears he only killed seven people during his lethal rampage, and the eighth was the work of someone else. Terry not only has to deal with an ex-best friend, a former flame, mob guys, and other assorted people from his dark past, but he's also forced to investigate the night his brother went insane and find out if Collie is telling the truth. But more than anything, he really wants to know the reason why his brother went on a spree, in the hopes that Terry himself is never pushed to that kind of edge.
I just finished the sequel entitled THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK, which should appear about a year after.
EG: I noticed that a central theme that runs strongly through your crime fiction is the search for identity. We see it again and again in such titles as THE COLD SPOT, SHADOW SEASON, and it's prevalent once more in THE LAST KIND WORDS. Terrier Rand is unsure of who he is without being defined by his family, his "career" as a thief, or as someone who may have missed his chance with the love of his life. He covets his best friend's stability in life, he even seems to be jealous that his brother has found a kind of self-understanding in prison.
PIC: Taken as a body of work, I think that's one of the motifs where I put the greatest emphasis. The search for...and the nature's identity. I'm still fascinated by what makes us who and what we are. What defines us. How and if we can ever truly change. How in control of our own nature we are we. Can we adapt. Should we adjust. Are we merely slaves to fate. Are we slaves to each other, our families, our loves, our pain, our history. Are we just slaves to fate. Is our destiny written out in detail. Does God or the world have a great hand in who we become day by day, minute by minute.
EG: Despite some similarities in the noirish feel, TLKW appears to have a different attitude than most of your other work. There's an emphasis on family matters, family drama, the ties that bind. Most of your other protagonists are loners, but Terrier Rand seems very much a man attempting to do right by his friends, his lover, even his murderous brother.
PIC: That goes back to what makes us who we are. Are we doomed to walk in the shadows of our parents, our grandparents, our brothers, if we follow their courses? Terry is a thief like his forefathers, he lives in a huge house surrounded by other generations of the Rand clan. Even his appearance is very much that of his brother. When you look in the mirror and see your brother and not yourself, how does that affect what you do, how you feel? I wanted to explore a protagonist who didn't just make decisions for his own good, but ones that had to help others. People he loved, people he was trying to forgive, people he wants to be forgiven by. Sometimes my perspective as the writer shifts, depending on the work, and sometimes it remains the same because I'm mining the same concepts. I just try to offer something different to the readers every time out.
EG: You started off as a horror writer before diving wholeheartedly into the crime field. You and I have discussed your comment that "the horror genre is a young man's game, whereas noir is for older men. Horror is fantasy that focuses on the fear around the next corner, whereas noir is about the fear that's tailing you. It's your disappointments and mistakes." Do you feel like you're moving in a new direction with your fiction?
PIC: I'm always trying to do something new for my own sake. I get bored easily, and I know my audience is going to feel the same if I simply cover the same ground over and over. That said, my voice is my voice, the themes that affect me deeply are probably going to be similar year in and out, but my point of view is going to change either subtly or radically depending on what's occurring in my life. I'm not the same person at 46 that I was at 26 so I expect my protagonists to carry my burdens, my disappointments, my regrets, my fears, my joys, my disposition. So long as the material strikes me, or the perspective opens something new up for me, or the voice manages to sing an old song in a fresh way, then I'll gravitate to that in an effort to give the readers something that grabs them.
EG: Do you like digital publications? Do you own an e-reader?
PIC: I don't own an e-reader myself, but my wife loves her Kindle. And I have nothing against digital publication except for how it seems to be causing all kinds of havoc where bookstores are concerned. I don't want one form to drive the other out of business. I don't want to think of a world without bookstores. I like physical books. I'm a bibliophile. I want to hold them and sniff them and feel their weight in my hands. But I appreciate the chance to get my backlist into publication again in digital format, and I'm glad that new readers are taking a chance on the work and being generous with their comments. Hopefully one form will help sell more copies of the other. More titles will be made available through Crossroad Press (
EG: Thank you, Tom, for taking the time out to talk with me.
PIC: It's a pleasure, Ed. I always appreciate the chance to chat with you.

Tom Piccirilli is the author of more twenty novels including THE LAST KIND WORDS, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. He's won two International Thriller Awards and four Bram Stoker Awards, as well as having been nominated for the Edgar, the World Fantasy Award, the Macavity, and Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire. Learn more at:

Tom Piccirilli is the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. He's won two International Thriller Awards and four Bram Stoker Awards, as well as having been nominated for the Edgar, the World Fantasy Award, the Macavity, and Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire.

1 comment:

John Paul Allen said...

One of the better interviews I've read lately. Thanks.