I woke this morning and checked my twitter feed to discover that one of my favorite noir and horror authors Tom Piccirilli had passed away. I never knew him and only conversed with him briefly via social media usually while gushing over his latest work yet the news has deeply moved me.
Early in my reading journey when I was thirsty for hard edged crime fiction that offered more spice than the mainstream I stumbled upon THE COLD SPOT, this along with noir novels by Victor Gischler, Sean Doolittle, Charlie Huston, Max Allan Collins and Duane Swierczynski helped form the reader that I am today.
I been fortunate enough to read many, though not all, of Tom Piccirilli's books with each standing out for different reasons be it the characterization, plot, or just pure enjoyment of getting lost in the story.
The signed limited print edition of THE LAST DEEP BREATH, one of the more cherished books in my personal library is now that much more so. This is a story I keep going back to and had hoped Tom Piccirilli would revisit the characters in either a prequel or sequel at some stage.
The Last Deep Breath follows Grey, a drifter on the search for his foster sister, who showed up for the first time in ten years with a knife in her side, then vanished without a trace.
Grey winds up in Los Angeles dealing with manipulative actresses and scummy agents, hoping to find some clue as to what happened to her after she dropped out of a porn career he didn't know about.
The blurb oozes noir and by the end of the book the reader is lathered in the stuff. It's a great read and a testament to the quality I'd come to expect book in book out from Tom Piccirilli.
As for THE COLD SPOT, the noir styling is omnipresent from the get go. Chase is a great character who grows over the two books in the Cold series (THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE).
Chase was raised as a getaway driver by his grandfather, Jonah, a con man feared by even the hardened career criminals who make up his crew. But when Jonah crosses the line and murders one of his own, Chase goes solo, stealing cars and pulling scores across the country….And then he meets Lila, a strong-willed deputy sheriff with a beguiling smile who shows him what love can be. Chase is on the straight and narrow for the first time in his life—until tragedy hits, and he must reenter the dark world of grifters and crooks. Now Chase is out for revenge—and he’ll have to turn to the one man he hates most in the world. Only Jonah can teach Chase how to become a stone-cold killer. But even as the two men work together, Chase knows that their unresolved past will eventually lead them to a showdown of their own.