Michael Sherer's Reviews > The Last Kind Words

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli
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's review
Jul 31, 2012

it was amazing

Reading Tom Picirilli’s Last Kind Words is like going ten rounds with a champion heavyweight prizefighter. All you can do while his brilliant prose and beautifully wrought scenes batter you senseless emotionally is admire his artistry. I won’t bother with a plot synopsis, since plot is almost irrelevant in this family saga. That’s not to say that the book doesn’t have one, or that it isn’t compelling. But what makes this book so terrific is the premise that the family business is thievery, and the questions that are raised when Terrier’s brother Collie steps way over the line of what even this family finds acceptable and murders seven people. Throughout this book I marveled at the way Picirilli got inside not only the heads of his characters, but the emotional heart of them, too—especially remarkable considering the entire family’s ability to express their emotions is, to put it mildly, stunted. There wasn’t a note in this book that didn’t ring true for me. And at the book’s satisfying end, Last Kind Words raised even more questions than it answered, giving readers lots to chew on and, even better, making us look forward to another ten rounds with Terrier Rand and his family.

(I take the comments for each of the stars above seriously. Five stars means "it was amazing." To earn five stars a book has to do exactly that—amaze me. It must surprise me in some way, through the author's use of language, plot, description or character development, and do so with excellence.)
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