Tom Piccirilli’s career is getting hot. Not only is he now being published primarily by Bantam but three different book clubs have taken his forthcoming novel THE MIDNIGHT ROAD. Getting hot and it’s about time.
In the meantime Tom remains true to his small press roots. Creeping Hemlock Press will soon publish both a full length novel and a novella that will only add to Tom’s literary luster.
THE FEVER KILL, the novel, is a rattlesnake-mean noir set in the land of truck stops and back roads. The protagonist Crease returns with vengeance on his mind only to learn—along with us—that even long-held assumptions can be wrong.
I lost track of how many plot twists have been set out for the reader, each of them as deviously employed as a minefield. Nothing is as it seems. Sex, betrayl, violence are here—this is a noir after all—but so is a lonesomeness as poignant as a Hank Williams ballad. Crease is looking for secrets only to realize that the biggest secret of all is himself.
The cast of characters holds many of the surprises I mentioned. They are sharply defined and believably detailed. Tom has obviously worked hard to move them away from the clichés of neo-noir.
And all this is even truer in FRAYED, the novella. Here Tom has done the damned-near impossible. He has given us a stingingly original story about a mental hospital and populated it with at least two characters (the leads) I’ve never met before in life or in fiction. I’m not going to ruin the story by telling you what binds these two men together. It’s too good to spoil.
The hospital defies all expectation. It’s a hospital conceived by the originators of Club Med. Or the toniest singles bar on the planet. Tom has a lot of fun overturning expectations here. It’s a nut house you’d never want to leave. That’s your first impression anyway.
I read this in one sitting because it was so original in every aspect that it left me no choice. I’d discovered literary gold.
Both these books are must-haves for Tom’s ever-increasing number of fans and admirers. In the last four years in particular Tom Piccirilli has really come into his own.