Reviews for Last Kind Words

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
*Starred Review* Terry Rand has been working out west, trying to forget a troubled past. He comes home to Long Island, though, at the request of his big brother, Collie, who's running out of time on death row. The Rands have been thieves for generations but don't carry guns, which made Collie's killing spree all the more baffling. Collie admits to seven murders but tells Terry someone else did the eighth--and begs him to find the culprit. The remarkable originality of this book becomes apparent the moment the reader realizes the Rands are all named after dogs, from Terry (terrier) and Collie to uncles Mal (malamute) and Grey (greyhound). And the family house, its hidden rooms and compartments filled with unfenced junk from previous scores, adds a sense of gothic dysfunction to the tale. As Terry chases Collie's ghosts, he wrestles with his own failings, his family's past, and his fears for what he might become. There are minor flaws in the plotting and pacing, but readers who respond to characters, voice, and atmosphere won't care a bit: Piccirilli has created a world so real you can smell the mildew. After writing crime and horror for presses well known and obscure, he deserves a breakout novel, and this just might be it. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 May #1
Summoned home by an urgent plea from his kid sister, a runaway brother finds his family of thieves just as dysfunctional and even more criminal. Collie Rand has run out of time. Condemned to death after a murder spree that claimed eight innocent lives, he has a date with the needle in two weeks. And although there's precious little love between him and his brother Terrier (yes, all the Rands are named after dog breeds), he has one thing he wants to impress on Terry: He didn't strangle teenager Rebecca Clarke. Collie doesn't claim his innocence; he can't explain what made him kill all those people after a short life devoted entirely to stealing from his Long Island neighbors; he just wants Terry to know that he only went seven for eight. Since Detective Gilmore's not likely to be any more help than Terry's father Pinscher or his uncles Malamute and Greyhound, Terry has to go it alone in his inquiries. Wondering all the while why he's laboring to exonerate a brother who freely admits his guilt in seven homicides, Terry scrutinizes the records collected by Collie's jailhouse bride Lin, purloins the case files from Gilmore's office, and watches his teenage sister Dale's highly unsuitable involvement with penny-ante hood Joe Cassidy, who, styling himself Butch, plots a robbery that's clearly out of his league. The results are more murder, some harsh truths about the Rand family, and a searing examination of the ties that bind brother to brother. Consigning most of the violence to the past allows Piccirilli (The Fever Kill, 2007, etc.) to dial down the gore while imparting a soulful, shivery edge to this tale of an unhappy family that's assuredly unhappy in its own special way. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 February #1

Bram Stoker and International Thriller Writers Award winner Piccirilli breaks into hardcover with the story of Terrier Rand, who abandons the crime life and his small-time grifter family when brother Collie turns killer and wipes out an entire family and then some. (Yes, Rand family members are all named after dog breeds.) But he returns when Collie claims that he wasn't responsible for one of those deaths. Lots of buzz and the start of a new series.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #4

At the start of this sharp slice of contemporary noir from Thriller Award-winner Piccirilli (You'd Better Watch Out), retired second-story-man Terrier Rand, who's been trying to put his family's work as professional thieves behind him while ranching out west, has returned east to see his older brother, Collie. Collie is about to be executed for the cold-blooded murder of eight people five years before, though he claims one of those kills wasn't his. When Terrier starts digging through the evidence, he finds inconsistencies that suggest a serial killer may have been using Collie's killing spree to cover up his own. Piccirilli's mastery of the hard-boiled idiom is pitch perfect, particularly in the repartee between his characters, while the picture he paints of the criminal corruption conjoining the innocent and guilty in a small Long Island community is as persuasive as it is seamy. Readers who like a bleak streak in their crime fiction will enjoy this well-wrought novel. Agent: David Hale Smith, DHS Literary. (June)

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