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The Night Class

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  471 ratings  ·  57 reviews
The college winter break is over, and Caleb Prentiss faces yet another semester of higher education. Struggling with alcoholism and frustrated by his irrelevant classes, Cal seeks solace in the arms of his scholastic-conscious girlfriend and in somnambulistic conversation with a mystifying college radio DJ.

But Cal's ennui is shattered when he discovers evidence of a murder
Paperback, 278 pages
Published November 2002 by Leisure Books (first published December 28th 2000)
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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  471 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

This surreal, somewhat confusing novel didn't push my horror-book buttons. Piccirilli doused the present story with frequent flashback bits; this only works when done sparingly, and so it didn't work here.

University life is always challenging, but for this character, it's unreal. Half the time I really didn't know what was going on. There were some awkward shifts in scenes and sequence. Caleb has his hands full being preoccupied with the mystery of a dead girl no one brings up, memories of his
Several years back I read Tom Piccirilli’s Dead Letters, and gave it a negative review. It was the only thing I’d ever read by him, and for some reason his mixture of horror and noir just didn’t click for me. I may have to revisit that book, because I loved his Bram Stoker award winner, The Night Class. Interestingly, as the book came to a close, I went from thinking the dominant influences of Poe (“Tell Tale Heart) and Shakespeare (“Macbeth” “Out damned spot”) had shifted, with the big influenc ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Humanities student Caleb Prentiss is haunted by the tragic suicide of his sister and the bizarre stigmata that occurs whenever someone close to him dies. But even more horrific and inexplicable is the truth behind the death of a fellow student, found dead on the Christmas break, in his dorm room. But even as Cal struggles with the ghosts of past and present, he discovers something even more sinister than a killer on campus. And his mind, body, and soul may be what's at risk next.

Surreal, hauntin
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Tough book to rate because the style is so unique. Parts of the plot were quite vague and left me feeling like some things went over my head. I can understand why the book is award winning and enjoyed it quite a bit, but I do wish it had been more accessible.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
The meaty stench of blood stains beneath the fresh paint.

Pretty much sums up my 7 years of Junior College.

Well...maybe not.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was somewhat of a disappointment considering how much I liked Piccirilli's The Last Kind Words. It's well-written, and the basic plot is interesting, but Piccirilli simply fails to execute on this. I like a cerebral horror story as much as the next person but this book went over the top, with characters acting in bizarre and unnecessary ways and saying non-sensicle things which didn't serve to help the story at all. The resolution was an intersting concept but explained in such a bizar ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
The first half of this book was great. It had me hooked! I thought I was in for something amazing. Unfortunately the second half fell short. I was quickly disappointed and probably won't be reading any more from Piccirilli. This is my second novel from him and the writing is superb but the style is surreal and vague, leaving much to the imagination. He almost strikes me as someone who would do better writing dark poetry. 3 stars for me. ...more
1.5 stars. I have little patience for books that use a lot of poetry quotes or song lyrics when they're not extremely relevant. Add to that a plot that made NO sense and a lot of incoherent writing, and this book was really not so good. ...more
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
Wow, this wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I expected some campus slasher novel and got this crazy amazing psychological novel dressed up as a horror story. I'm not sure where to start. Anyway, Tom's experiences in college must have been pretty bad to create this nightmare of academia. Imagine academia as one big putrid conspiracy theory.

Caleb Prentiss has had it with prancing professors and finally loses it in class. But it isn't just the teachers that are putting the pressure on Cal
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
First off I loved the writing style in this one: evocative, literate, and language-driven. And fun. The writer had fun with this and that makes it a fun read, too. A genre bender. Horror, crime-noir, comedic. I was expecting a slasher attack, or a werewolf or other creature, maybe even vampires, heck I didn't know what to expect but expected something along those lines. What we have here, however, is psychological horror. Think Poe. Caleb Prentiss might be insane or he might just be on a binge, ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was...different! THE NIGHT CLASS didn't have any of that dark, introspective moments that is Tom Piccrilli's calling card in crime fiction, but it was different in a good way. Think of it as 1980s horror movies meet the old school White Wolf role playing games. It's quite a unique atmosphere Piccirilli created for that novel, which I believe more than compensated for one of his weakest protagonists.

THE NIGHT CLASS created its own paradigm that operates within the margins of supernatur
Kevin Gallan
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
hard to get into at the beginning...hooked me into the story in the middle ...then a big let down at the end ...
Alia Robinson
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish it. every conversation seemed pointless, and the plot did too, won't be reading anymore of this author. ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'll warn people ahead of time: this is a very, very surreal book. As such, there were several portions of the book that just came across as incoherent at times, which will probably turn off some readers. Overall, this is a fairly well done book and I can see why it won the Stoker Award in the early 2000s.

The book's initial plot line would have you believe that this is pretty much a supernatural-ish mystery, but the book goes a lot deeper than that. Cal's obsessed with the murder of the girl wh
Robert Beveridge
Jan 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Tom Piccirilli, The Night Class (ShadowLands Press, 2001)

Tom Piccirilli, who has been working in relative obscurity since at least 1990 (Dark Father, a Bram Stoker nominee for Best First Novel, disappeared off the shelves relatively soon after and to my knowledge has never been reprinted), started getting attention again towards the end of the last decade. He pivked up two Stoker nominations in 1999, another in 2000, and then went over the top, winning the Stoker for Best Novel in 2002 with The
Oct 10, 2009 marked it as didnt-finish
Shelves: 2012
October 2012 -- Read to page 151 out of 278 pages.

I gave this a decent go, but it's just weird and confusing. The premise was interesting: a college student returns from Winter Break to find that a girl had been killed in his dorm room. And it's got several elements that I always love in a story: a murder mystery with lots of snow and a college campus setting. But the style of writing just wasn't for me. Lots of dreamy, fantasy-type tangents, and the storyline jumping around in a confusing fashi
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
The Night Class by Tom Piccirilli

The Night Class was an interesting read but I found the author's approach a bit disjointed leaving me a bit confused at times. Mr. Piccirilli use of flashbacks to help tell the tale of a murder becomes a bit frustrating, I even found a flashback within a flashback and this left my head spinning and I found myself asking "WHY"?

Piccirilli's prose do exhibit flashes of brilliance at times. I found some of the passages to be quite lyrical verging on pure poetic geniu
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
A little too surreal and phantasmagoric for my taste, but there's no question the book is far more ambitious and imaginative than most genre fiction, and I hold it in great respect without actually loving it. Likening a horror novel to a bad dream is pretty cliched, but the book really does sustain the feeling of being trapped in a nightmare.

I'm surprised to see so many reviewers question the ending, which struck me as perfect, and the only conceivable way to finish the story without betraying i
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: leisure
Just because you write unclearly doesn't mean you are creating suspense. I like a mystery; I do not like puzzling over sentences that make no sense or characters that appear from nowhere, yet form a big part of the story. ...more
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have to admit that I was really disappointed in this novel. I went into reading it with high hopes being as it was the recipient of a Bram Stoker award, but upon completing it, I was left baffled and confused...not at the story (well sort of) but as to why it won a Stoker award!

The Night Class started off with great promise...a college student is murdered in a dorm room during winter session, and the student who returns to live in this room after winter, Caleb, becomes obsessed with her and he
LJ McIntosh
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Too much frequent perspective shifts between each other, eventually you lose track of what's a recollection of the protagonist and what's occuring in real time relative to the novel. Too much enticing material to read out there to be slogging through this one. Welcome to the abandoned shelf.
Good start, poor follow through
Kate Downton
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.1 stars
Zac Goodall
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wish I liked this book more. I first read Piccirilli around 2004 with his novel Choir of Ill children. I loved that book because of its moodiness and the bizarre characters and setting. A few years later, I read Hexes, which I found to be less satisfying than Choir.

The Night Class, Piccirilli's award winner, is less successful than either in terms of horror and story. All three books have similar themes of survivor's remorse. The protagonist is the moral authority of each novel, and he
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Kazmierczak
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Piccirilli does a great job of creating his protagonist in THE NIGHT CLASS. Unfortunately the rest of the story is not as engrossing as Caleb Prentiss. It starts and ends strong, if a tad abruptly on the ending, and has many very strong middle points but the glue in between those parts weren't quite enough to keep me actively pulled into the novel.

After becoming frustrated with the instructor in his Ethics class, Caleb storms out to start what will turn out to be a very busy and revealing day. A
Charles Dee Mitchell
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, ghost-stories
Caleb Prentiss is a senior English major in a small Midwestern college. That sounds like the opening line of one of those old Letters to Penthouse, and Tom Piccirilli's book does have elements of that genre. There is a Dean's wife, and a girlfriend, and a dead girl, who may or may not have existed but certainly was not who she claimed to be.

This girl was murdered in Cal's room during the short winter session. He can still see the bloodstain under the fresh coating of peach-colored paint. I know,
Bill Wallace
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
The style is amusing but the story isn't much and some of the elements -- the protagonist's stigmata for instance -- feel like they were dropped in randomly. I liked the college setting and the effective evocation of how weird dorm life can be, but found other aspects of the book more annoying than entertaining, especially the denouement. My eventual goal is to read all the Stoker award-winning novels (likely excepting the King and Straub, two writers I tired of long ago), but apart from this ye ...more
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: psycho-thriller
If you think a horror novel involving college students is going to be run-of-the-mill, then "The Night Class" will surprise you with its fresh and unexpected approach to a college student's life and surreal descent into a mad, mad world. I admittedly had a little trouble following the narrative of the story in the first fifty pages or so, but once I found my bearings within the world Piccirilli had created, I was sucked in. The ending isn't what I expected, and is about the only part of the only ...more
Casie Hart
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Night Class is a gripping read that once you get into it, you won't want to put it down. It has just enough reality, mixed with just enough fantasy to hold my attention and be uniqe. However, I am extremely dissapointed with the ending. I found myself throwing the book down and regretting ever reading it at all. It is a wonderful book, until the last 20 pages or so. The wording and way it is written is beautiful and almost poetic in a way. I hope that by reading this book I have expanded my ...more
Kari Dennis
Strange story, oblique writing

Characters who have so much going on inside their minds while nothing much actually happens. Until closer to the end anyway. I'm still not even sure if I like this book. It was interesting, but I felt like I was still waiting for it to take off, like it was all setup, when I realized it was almost over. Plus the ending was so sudden, talk about a cliff-hanger, nothing really gets resolved, just knowledge, which maybe was the point. I don't know.
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Horror Aficionados : Night Class by Tom Piccirilli 54 53 Jan 28, 2015 08:39PM  

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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 20

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