The Last Kind Words

Movel of the Month

The Last Kind WordsAlthough this is not a book about the mafia, it still has the same tone as an episode of The Sopranos.  Instead of New Jersey, it takes place in Long Island, N.Y.  Instead of gang rings and murders committed through organized crime, the Rand family is a bunch of skilled thieves.  Terry Rand has had his fill of stealing and had secluded himself away from his family for five years until his brother, Collie, is convicted of killing several people (among them an elderly woman and a young girl) and is sentenced to death.  Before he is executed, Collie requests Terry to visit him in prison because he has a confession to make.  Even though Terry does not harbor feelings of brotherly love towards his cold-hearted and insane sibling, he is compelled to listen to the declaration of innocence for one of the murders, of which Collie is wrongly accused.  This means that there is another culprit out there who may strike again.  Terry’s loyalty for justice entices him to come back home and solve the mystery.  Arriving in town creates an uneasiness for him, since he must face the fact that his ex-girlfriend is now married to one of his rivals and has a kid.  He also observes his family falling apart mentally (his grandfather has Alzheimer’s) and he is suddenly expected to spy on and protect his estranged younger sister.  The enigma of who really killed the victim that Collie is not accountable for, keeps you interested but the drama of the Rand family is enough to entertain—similar to how we always liked watching Tony Soprano trying to figure out his personal life.  I thought it was neat how this book reminded me of the HBO series, especially because of James Gandolfini’s recent and tragic passing.  I’d like to dedicate this post to him.

HisLit title read-alikes:
You may find the following titles to your liking if you enjoyed Piccirilli’s book. 
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan
Rogue by Mark T. Sullivan
The Thieves of Darkness by Richard Doetsch

HisLit author read-alikes:
If you wanted a writer who is similar to Piccirilli, here are some suggestions:
-Scott Smith 
(His suspense thrillers feature normal people thrown into unusual or abnormal circumstances.  His characters, who he frequently forces into making tough, moral decisions that challenge their own belief systems, lie at the heart of his clever narratives.  As with Piccirilli’s The Last Kind Words, Smith leaves his readers to make decisions as to whether or not a character’s choices are “good” or “bad” not through his own overt or even sublime suggestion, but by providing a thorough and objective presentation of the full facts of the situation.  Start with: A Simple Plan.)
-David Morrell (He writes fast-paced thrillers full of adrenaline-pumping action, macho men, and suspenseful plot twists.  While he is best known for creating the lethal disgruntled veteran John Rambo, Morrell has a vast catalog of intricately plotted adventures involving cold-blooded assassins, daring acts of espionage, and darkly mysterious crimes.  He infuses his action-packed, plot-driven tales with vividly detailed and meticulously researched background material that helps draw readers into these white-knuckled, page-turning stories of soldiers, spies, and deadly violence.  Start with: The Brotherhood of the Rose.)
-Robert R. McCammon (He presents sympathetic accounts of the human condition amidst gruesome and fantastic situations.  McCammon’s mystery stories are colorful and quirky, where his characters encounter realistic problems, including sadistic killers and deranged war veterans.  Start with: Boy’s Life.)

There is a sense of humor to Piccirilli’s book, while the suspense builds up as you get closer to the conclusion.  It is a good read for the lazy, hazy days of Summer.

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