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The Walls of the Castle

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  42 reviews
From four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award and finalist for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award Tom Piccirilli comes an intense and visceral psychological thriller novella, the first title in the Black Labyrinth imprint illustrated by Gothic artist Santiago Caruso.

In the labyrinthian maze of endless corridors,
Kindle Edition, 90 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Dark Regions Press (first published November 2012)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All fans of dark fiction
This was a dark story of grief, guilt, loss and redemption.

The feelings of sadness, pain and grief so strongly permeated this novella that I couldn't help but feel all of it right along with our protagonist, Kasteel.

Kasteel is grieving for the loss of his son. He is grieving so much he cannot bring himself to leave the Castle,a huge sprawling hospital complex where his son was being treated. The Castle has been there for centuries and has seen its share of death and loss.

Ultimately, this story
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, thriller
The Castle always got people twisted around. The Castle didn’t let you go unless it wanted you to go.

Kasteel is a living man who haunts the hospital where his son died.

A former criminal, he has now found a new reason for living. He's become a guardian angel for the sick and weak.

There are some great scenes of shock and awe, but on the whole, little suspense, and the ending seemed rushed in an "Oh-crap!-I-really-need-to-finish-this!" way.

On the plus side, the illustrations by Santiago Caruso
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolute amazing, emotional story of how the grief over the loss of a man's son transforms his life. This story simply isn't comparable to anything I've come across before. Tom Piccirilli has come up with a completely original tale of redemption and the reassessment of values. His characterization is flawless, and the setting for the just have to read it yourself to truly "get" it. This is NOT a lightly-read story--it is one that will have you thinking over everything you've read ...more
Paul Nelson
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books-read
A short read at around 90 pages but the quality of the story and the writing are immediately evident. Kasteel was grief stricken, for four months he watched as his only sons condition worsened until he eventually died.
Completely devastated he left everything behind, his wife, his job and his life as he became a living part of the massive hospital complex called the Castle. An ex-con with theft and violence a regular part of his past life, he is badly beaten by the hospital security guards and
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is a novella with the paramount importance of three Ls: love, life, and loss. The setting is unbelievably believable and the atmosphere is nearly tangible. The author manages to modernize the Gothic concept of a castle turning it into an outpost of death, life, desperation, help and hope.
The narration is powerfully gruesome and very dark, but the seemingly brusque character is, in fact, vulnerable and full of compassion. His callous shell harbors a passionate and kind heart. He is in a
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
An incredible, intense book. Read it in one sitting, if you can.
A man known to himself only as Kasteel wanders the labyrinthine innards of a sprawling hospital called the Castle, mourning his dead son. He turns his talent for violence to protecting the Innocents and punishing the lowlifes, perverts and predators around him. Finally, he faces off against a boogeyman called Abaddon, only to discover the limits of punishment as justice, and find what lies beyond.
Stark and contained, an
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was amazing. Tom Piccirilli has filled this book to the brim with heart and horror and insanity. It's a story of despair and redemption so beautiful I had to read it in a single sitting. Just wonderful!
Anton Cancre
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember a couple years ago at Mo*Con, hearing Gary Braunbeck relate a bit of Piccirilli lore. Apparently, the man had mentioned a story that started with a man whose son had died a week before, but who couldn’t bear to leave the hospital. He related this in asking if it was a good start. I believe Braunbeck’s response was something along the lines of a rousing chorus of “Fuck You”s. The Walls of the Castle appears to be that story and the fuck yous seem perfectly warranted.

So, you’ve got a
Frank Errington
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A perfect blend of genres; suspense, thriller, fantasy and horror. The Walls of the Castle by Tom Piccirilli is all of this, and more.

If you've read any of my reviews, you probably know how I feel about opening lines and how they can really grab you and pull you into a story from the very beginning. Case in point..."His son had been dead for two weeks, in the ground for ten days, he was told, and Kasteel was still sitting in the ICU waiting area, spooking the nurses." I'm in, and what a great
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The is the first in the Black Labyrinth imprint over at Dark Regions Press. I was super excited about these books to come out when I saw Piccirilli was the first author and Joe R. Lansdale would be the second. How could they be anything less than stellar?

This first one was less than stellar. Walls read like an excerpt from a much longer story. I felt like I missed the first 50 pages and the last 75 pages of the book. What was there was a very entertaining 95 pages of dark, physiological terror.
Nick Cato
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The "castle" of the title is a humongous hospital that employs over 9,000 people and has a long history dating back before the American Revolution. We learn about the place through the eyes of Kasteel, a haunted man who spends his time helping others there in the wake of his son's death. No one writes hurting heros like Piccirilli, and Kasteel is no exception.

In his quest to come to terms with the loss of his young son, Kasteel finds himself at the center of a mystery: it seems someone called
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book but was overall a bit disappointed. I enjoyed the stuff kasteel did to help people and I really enjoyed how it was written in a way you can draw your own conclusions, for example (view spoiler) ...more
Chris Morey
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novella is intense, dark and often twisted. For those who haven't read Piccirilli, his writing style is one that grips you, makes you flinch and close one eye, but completely prevents you from putting down the book.

The Walls of the Castle is no exception to this writing style. This novella is intense, sometimes brutal and is a revealing exposition of the human mind and spirit.

It's also the first book in the new Black Labyrinth imprint, and if you order the book from us you can help Tom in
Benoit Lelièvre
Reading Tom Piccirilli is always a priviledge, and THE WALLS OF THE CASTLE is no different. The themes of this novella are rather classic, but the setting is shining through its originality and the execution is fierce and emotional the way only Piccirilli knows how to write it. THE WALLS OF THE CASTLE is beautiful, eerie, visceral and highly symbolic. I gotta say the ending was a tad disappointing, but it's not really a mystery so I enjoyed the ride more then the arrival.

Another mandatory stop
May 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, novella
An interesting story line that completely falls apart near the end. Piccirilli has a habit of letting the quirkiness of his storytelling overpower readers' ability to suspend disbelief.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading The Walls of the Castle, it's easy to see why Piccirilli has won so many awards. His vivid writing style bridges the gap between poetry and prose. The characters are all dark and wonderfully flawed, creating added tension to the piece. I read this in one sitting and having begun in bed in the morning, I couldn't tear myself away. The pages turn faster and faster, until a well-rounded end.

There only reason I haven't given it 5 stars is because there are a couple of very minor typos hidden
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
Pic absolutely knocked this one out of the park! I loved everything about this novella. It was alive and dark and gritty and haunting and brilliant! Kasteel is one of the most interesting (and brutal) protagonists I have ran across in a while and I could not help but root for him during his quest.

A man, grieving, stuck in a place in-between reality that may be a hospital, may be a Castle, may be heaven or might just be hell. May just be… all of the above. Kasteel is trapped. Searching for
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable novella about grief, loss and how to cope. Piccirilli created a couple of excellent characters in Kasteel and the actual Castle itself; a massive, towering hospital. The author's voice, style and skill with words is very apparent. The overall tone of the story is downbeat and almost depressive, but some redemption is to be found. Kasteel is an interesting protagonist the reader will not forget too quickly.
Braden A.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this story of grief and redemption. I love Piccirilli's voice, and he tells this story with his usual guttural, noir-ish tones.

Kasteel was a great character, and I felt strongly for him.
Russell Coy
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first read by Piccirilli, and I was blown away. A dark, surreal series of vignettes featuring a grieving anti-hero, this took me on an emotional journey I won't soon forget. I'll definitely be seeking out more this late author's work.
Finally got around to reading this one and not too bad. Actually pretty unique. Modern Gothic Noir? Crime Noir x Haunted Castle genre? It might sound weird but it works.
John J Questore
I received this book (novella?) in a "grab bag" package from Dark Regions Press.

I have to say, despite the blurb saying Tom Piccirilli has sold over 150 stories and has won numerous awards, I have never heard of the man. So, after reading the summery, I was intrigued.

Even halfway through the story, I had no idea how to feel about it. It reads like a version of The Twilight Zone, or Outer Limits. In fact, I could even see it as an episode on The X-Files. Allow me to explain.

Kasteel (the main
G. Munson
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kasteel (the main character) is grieving over the loss of his son, and he spends all his time at the hospital where he died (the castle). The castle is a weird old hospital that has served a number of functions over the years, and there are many dark corners that take on a life of their own. The relationship between Kasteel and the Castle is complicated, and I honestly didn't fully comprehend it because the story was so short.
This is where I had a problem with the book: I wanted it to be
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Really well done paranormal novel where the setting plays a central character. Typically that kind of thing doesn't work, but Piccirilli pulls it off to great effect here.

Kasteel is a recently bereaved father who can't leave the hospital where his son died. He literally can't leave. The Castle, a sprawling, ancient complex, needs a champion and its chosen Kasteel to do its bidding. So he sleeps in the OR rooms and steal food from the cafeteria and gets called to duty to help battered families
Gothic Readers Book Club
The Walls of the Castle is a haunting story of a soul trapped in guilt and loss. The castle is an old structure now serving a hospital, and it becomes the literal trap for a man struggling to deal with his son's death. The protagonist Kasteel is a man driven by dark impulses and his belief in life, the system, and happiness has been shattered. In desperation, he attempts to save others as a form of redemption, but there is more to the castle than doctors and medicine. As Kasteel seeks answers, ...more
Chrissy Moon
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was totally blown away by this story. This is the first time I've read Tom Piccirilli, but it sure as hell won't be the last. I couldn't do anything until I finished the story, and as great as it was, I was sad when it ended, just because of the fact that it had ended!

There's an amazing story here about grieving and redemption, but a lot of themes that are hidden between the lines. There's a twisted darkness here as well as surprising hope and faith.

Tom Piccirilli is not just an amazing
Holly (The Grimdragon)
This is a story of grief, madness and hope.

This reminded me of something Poe or Lovecraft may have taken on. I loved the Gothic atmosphere; the intensity that Piccirilli evoked with the anti-hero Kasteel & throughout various scenes; the imagery of the looming castle & all of the lives within it.

However, there were definitely some major flaws (inconsistencies throughout the story, as well as problems with grammar.) The first 90% kept me interested, but then that ending felt anticlimactic
Douglas Castagna
The length of a book by Piccirilli never has an impact on the story. While the page length may be short for this one it packs enough grief, loss, pain, sorrow, and anger to fill the size of tome you may find elsewhere from other, less skilled authors. One feels emotionally drained after reading this, and his words have the power to do this time and again. Highly recommended.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting story of a man who upon losing his son to illness, loses himself in a huge medical complex, the Castle. He wanders the halls helping the homeless who've taken refuge within the walls and those who can't fend for themselves. Highly recommended.
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Thomas Piccirilli (May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015) was an American novelist and short story writer.

Piccirilli sold over 150 stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, erotica, and science fiction fields. He was a two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for "Best Paperback Original" (2008, 2010). He was a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He was also a finalist for the