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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  77 reviews
In a brilliantly stylish breakthrough thriller for fans of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Will Christopher Baer’s Kiss Me, Judas, here is the compelling tale of a man who has lost it all—and is now navigating a crooked, harrowing path to redemption.
Once a suburban husband and father, now the man has lost all sense of time. He retains only a few keepsakes of his
Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Random House Alibi (first published May 19th 2015)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Paul Nelson
‘There are no mirrors in my apartment. I have forgotten my own face. My wife is a distant memory, and I can’t remember what she smells like, the melody of my son’s laugh, the butterfly kisses of my daughter’s soft lips on my cheek. They are shadows that haunt my every movement, and I drown them out, blur them every chance I get.’

Disintegration is a relentlessly dark nightmare of a thriller. The story of a man irrevocably lost, a past always just out of reach of his memories, tainted with tragedy
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
A man lost to the world is spending his time trying to forget the past. Once was he a husband and father now he is a killer that mementos every kill with a tattoo; he has a lot of tattoos.

I must admit that this is not a book I would have chosen to read at first glance. But when I was asked to take part of the blog tour for it did I find the story interesting enough to say yes and I'm glad I did.

Yes, the story is black as the night, gritty, bloody and frankly a hell of a lot depressing to read. B
Richard  Thomas
Dec 13, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neo-noir
Hope you enjoy the book.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark and haunting, surreal and poetic, DISINTEGRATION is a masterful piece of neo-noir from Richard Thomas. He takes a common trope -- man haunted by the ghosts of his family -- and makes it his own in one emotionally draining bloodbath.

Writers love to use dreams as a means to reveal exposition. They think they’re wearing these clever disguises, but in reality they’re naked in front of the classroom. If a writer is relying on a character’s subconscious, then perhaps the writer needs to reexamine
Mark Matthews
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic and original. Lyrical, lush, dark, and deep. Moves fast and furious even when the main character is just sitting on his bed thinking. How I'd love to call just one of the pargraphs in this story my own. The tone and prose alone is worth the price of admission, and the story keeps you turning pages until the end. I've heard this story reads a bit like Sin City, and hellz yeah, you can hear the Sin City narrator as you read. But there is something much more earnest here. Ends on a perfec ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir, novels
This is one of the darkest and bleakest noirs I can remember reading, but also so good that as soon as I finished it I started reading again, taking new pleasure in how the story and the pieces of the puzzle are constructed and also admiring the heady mix of language, which is by turns concrete and gritty, lush and lyrical, violent and visceral. I will skip plot details here because it's better not to know certain details beforehand. The basic story is that our narrator is a hitman: "I lurk in t ...more
Paula Cappa
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is tough guy/girl fiction. I’m not one. Psycho-sexual drama, drug culture, brutal killings. I normally don’t find these bleak novels entertaining or inspiring. I have a violence tolerance level of about 4 or 5 (and Disintegration is surely a 9 or 10). This story has all the expected twisted darkness but takes a step that I didn’t expect. Disintegration is a compelling read, prose smoothly executed, and with diabolical characters that are so full blown on the page, I wanted to run away from ...more
Nik Korpon
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark, surreal, atmospheric, heartfelt, lyrical. I could list a hundred more adjectives for this book, but you need to experience it for yourself.

Thomas dissects a man's disintegration (no pun intended) and hope for eventual redemption with such precision and humanity, it's as startling as it is unnerving. The beautiful part about the novel is that you can read it to be swept up in the story, then reread it just to swim in the prose and have different but equally satisfying experiences. This wil
Robert Gelms
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raymond Chandler Meets William Burroughs
By Bob Gelms

Richard Thomas’ new book, Disintegration, is mind-bogglingly good. There is a word that is used, most of the time misused, to describe particularly superior books. That word is masterpiece. When reading a book for the first time, there have been only a handful of times that I had the feeling I was reading something very, very special. Disintegration is one of those books.

It is written in the first person but the narrator is not identified. I
Nathan Beauchamp
DISINTEGRATION is hard-hitting dark noir of the highest order. The book moves at a breathless pace both in terms of plot and style. Writing with an incisive voice and relentless prose, Thomas explores some of the darkest material I've ever read. He manages to balance the darkness touches of subtle beauty.

Filled with taut, raw-edged material—sugar, glass, and cocaine—the book is thrilling, disturbing, gut-wrenching, and always, always entertaining. Set in Chicago and featuring a nameless protago
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, netgalley
4.5 stars

Disintegration is the first book in Richard Thomas's Windy City Dark Mystery series, and the key word here is "dark." Thomas has written a first-class example of that subset of noir fiction known as "hard-boiled," offering a bleak vision of America, set against a dark and gritty urban scene and populated by a protagonist whose amorality and ruthlessness make him at times indistinguishable from the villains. Nevertheless, we care about Disintegration's unnamed "hero" because he didn't st
D. Ward
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Thomas’s novel, DISINTEGRATION, is a harrowing glimpse into a dark and desolate underworld that is threaded through our very own everyday lives and yet is always at the periphery of our vision. Set in Chicago and its environs, it is a study in how quickly and easily an average man can be stripped down and molded into a killer.

“Nobody leaves me, except for the earth. Got it, big man? You work for me forever.”

The unnamed protagonist in the novel is a deeply troubled man, but is our hero no
Greg Levin
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's not much for me to add to the numerous—and well-deserved—rave reviews for this book, but that's not going to stop me from raving anyway. I'm a huge fan (and writer) of minimalist, transgressive fiction, and it's rare to find novels these days that I'd rank along side those by the likes of Hubert Selby Jr., Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks and Denis Johnson. (Add Bret Easton Ellis and Will Christopher Baer to that list [where have you gone, WCB?].)

With gritty, powerful prose, Mr. Thomas builds te
Peter Tieryas
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reviewed this at Entropy: "In Disintegration by Richard Thomas, the breakdown of the mind is represented in his breakdown of language, a lexicon of destruction, dissipation, and dissolution. Violence is both lyrical and jarring, and Thomas burns our ears, scorching expectations. There’s a visceral, gut-wrenching intensity that wracks at readers in short throbs that would be overwhelming if not for their poetic evisceration. Lust consumes, rage devours, loneliness pervades. The melancholy whisp ...more
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Review: DISINTEGRATION by Richard Thomas
[Windy City Dark Mystery Book One]

Author Richard Thomas places DISINTEGRATION in the category of "Neo-Noir," and I'd agree. Imagine Dashiell Hammett gone post-modern. There's certainly no sweetness and light here, nor is there intended to be. The protagonist is a man existing at the minimum level of existence: food, alcohol, occasional physical (without emotional connection) intimacy, killing on order. His mind is sometimes filled with a void, other times
Dan Fiore
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Readers don’t just watch Thomas’s protagonist fall, we take that dark plunge with him. Every jagged step of that spiral staircase down, we tumble too, until we hit rock bottom and discover the secrets buried there.

Told in short, sharp chapters that snap with bondage-whip prose, Disintegration does dark damn well while sneaking in some humor when you least expect it. The novel’s a rich, roiling noir that pulls no punches, and is sure to leave some scars.
Matt Pucci
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become rather used to seeing Richard Thomas’s name appear in my news feed. It seems hardly a week goes by without one of his stories finding a home—not surprising, really, given that he’s one of the most prolific and hard-hitting writers out there. Operating primarily within the neo-noir genre, Thomas has put out, to date, over a hundred pieces of fiction, including a novel, Transubstantiate, and two short story collections, Herniated Roots and Staring Into Th ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am thrilled that Lisa from TLC Book Tours approached me to ask if I would like to read Disintegration and take part in the book tour & giveaway. After seeing a recommendation from Brian Evenson whose novels I have read and enjoyed, I was eager to get reading.

‘There are no mirrors in my apartment. I have forgotten my own face. My wife is a distant memory, and I can’t remember what she smells like, the melody of my son’s laugh, the butterfly kisses of my daughter’s soft lips on my cheek. They ar
Tommy Muncie
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disintegration is one of those rare books that after twenty pages I decided I really didn’t like, only to go back for a second go and end up reading the rest in two sittings.

Was my return to it a case of ‘I don’t like it but I admire it?’ Possibly. Thomas’s writing style is enviable to say the least: every paragraph feels polished, the ‘camera’ is always so concisely focused on what should inflict maximum impact on the reader, and the economy is striking: fast paced action and montage from scen
Dino Parenti
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like any noir novel worth its salt-in-the-wounds, all lessons come hard-won and pitiless, with the reader equally limping away in the end with gritted teeth and squinted eyes, but with a hardier soul. This is the power of Richard Thomas’s Disintegration, a neo-noir tale with roots in Chandler and Himes, but with the modern psychological ambition and sledgehammer vigilantism of Richard Price and Dennis Lehane. Thomas has successfully crafted a narrator with no name, an everyman who dresses and a ...more
Bob Pastorella
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is going to be my personal review of this book. For a more critical review, please go to

This novel is the deepest, darkest, crazy-ass, dirty, nastiest noir I have ever read. Seriously. Bleak, unforgiving, relentless, I needed to shower twice when I finished. If you're one of those that think no one is writing kickass books anymore, crawl up from under that rock and buy this damn book. This is the first of a series, each book will feature an all ne
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Richard Thomas is a unique and skilled author, but he's not for everyone. I've been reading his short stories for many years now and they are emotional portraits more than cohesive narratives of some sort and this aspect of his fiction is very present in his novel DISINTEGRATION, which is what I imagine Samuel Beckett's THE UNNAMABLE would be like if it had been written by James Sallis. You get my drift?

I thought the urban setting was really well-used in DISINTEGRATION. I never been to Chicago,
Sarah Read
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book. It will lure you in with pretty words, then punch you in the face, then twist your heart, for good measure.
Everything about this story keeps your head spinning. Where you begin to feel contempt, you'll find yourself feeling compassion. You'll come to love the ugliness of the characters' souls and be complicit in their violence. Your heart aches for these villains.
I had a hard time putting this one down. Just when I'd tell myself it was time for a break, I'd get to another "oh shit" m
W. P. Johnson
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical, and at times, just plain gritty and mean, Disintegration is good old fashioned noir at it's best. Our nameless narrator wakes up in the hell that is his own life with nothing pure but the one cat that keeps visiting him. Otherwise it's bad women, bad men, bad drugs, and bad thoughts (and Vlad, a Russian gangster whose accent made me think of Travolta). Fast read, and the kind of thing to get into when you want to dive into something brutal for a couple of days. The first of a series of ...more
Adrean Messmer
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it was a Chuck Palahniuk essay I read that said you should never leave your character alone. I wanted to link to it, because it was a great essay, but I can't seem to find it now. But I'm getting a little off topic here. Disintegration is a pretty fantastic example of knowingly breaking a rule.

We spend most of our time with... uh, the Narrator. Who I'm just now realizing doesn't have a name I ever remember reading. Which is just fine because he's no one. Or, at least, he wants to be no o
Paul Anderson
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’m not sure whether Disintegration by Richard Thomas is brilliant or totally insane. I know that author, and he is brilliant. So I read the whole novel again and try to make up my mind. Now the story makes sense to me. There is a method to this madness. The novel is both brilliant and insane.
First read didn’t go well for me, so used to straight narrative and give and take dialogue from the usual word merchants am I that I couldn’t make hide nor hair of the skeleton in the closet of the protagon
Tim Potter
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
DISINTEGRATION: A Windy City Dark Mystery
by Richard Thomas
published by Random House Alabi
publication date: May 26, 2015

The first half of Richard Thomas’s DISINTEGRATION: A Windy City Dark Mystery lives up to its subtitle. It is an extremely atmospheric tale set in what I would call a dark-reality version of modern Chicago. It is the Chicago of our reality, but only if you include the dark, gritty and nasty bits. Things are surreal, and at times become hallucinatory, as we are introduced to the n
Jonathan Riley
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nail-biting page turner, equal parts grit and heart. Okay, maybe not equal. Most parts grit, but pulling even an ounce of heart out of a protagonist like this is a tall order and Richard serves a damn fine meal.

It’s not a stretch to compare Thomas’s Disintegration with the works of Brett Easton Ellis, however with Ellis’ work I typically come away enjoying the experience while hating the characters and sometimes even the story and a dozen hot showers can’t wipe away the filth.
It wasn’t like t
Tyler Jones
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To tell a story this dark and unrelenting, you have to be one hundred percent committed to pulling all the blinds and blacking out the windows. Richard Thomas follows his unnamed narrator / hired killer with the dedication of a stalker. He plunges us into a raw and gritty Chicago wasteland where characters exist in permanent fallen states. Wherever they land is where they stay.

Thomas' broken killer is employed by a vicious, and mysterious, Russian who keeps this killer on a short leash. But beca
patrick Lorelli
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, suspense
This is a dark but exciting book about a man who at one time was a father, husband and just a guy trying to make it all work. Now he is drunk, high, having an affair oh and by the way he is a killer. He marks his killings by getting a tattoo and his body is now covered by them. but one day as he is listening to the last recording he kept from the night of the accident that took his family he is wondering did it really happen or was it all just a plan to get me to do what I am doing now. As he is ...more
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Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of seven books: three novels—Disintegration and Breaker (Random House Alibi), and Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications); three short story collections—Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press), Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press), and Tribulations (Cemetery Dance); as well as one novella in The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). With over 100 stories published, h ...more

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“Sometimes they run. Those are the ones I find out in the dive bars, the sex clubs, the dark reflections in the night. They are always looking over their shoulders, because the evil of their acts is like a black halo ringing their heads, neon flashing vacancy, broken burnt-out letters, incomplete.” 0 likes
“In the span of one hundred and forty seconds I have transformed once again. I spill out of the seat, and to the back of the white beast, the crisp night air filling my lungs…There is plenty of life out here. Hands shoved into my coat pockets, the laughter of a circus clown echoing in the alleyways between tiny houses, the brick apartment buildings, the long warehouses that extend away from me. And already I can feel my hands on his neck.” 0 likes
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