Tom Piccirilli recently showed up on my radar. I was killing time (it was giving me dirty looks so I fucked time up) at Barnes & Noble in the mystery section when Ken Bruen's name popped out at me while I was in the P's. It turned out that Bruen did an intro to Piccirlli's THE FEVER KILL. In said intro I found out that Piccirilli is an extremely prolific writer of horror and western novels who has recently forayed into noir. Cool.
Problem was, The Fever Kill was untested, 184 pages and $16.95 in paperback. That is too much of a gamble for me, thanks. Call me cheap but...yeah I'm cheap. Fuck you. I did however manage to find another new Piccirilli in mass market paperback form over in the Fiction/Literature section called The Cold Spot for the winning price of $6.99 that had even more praises covering it by authors I love (Bruen, Starr, Gischler, Swierczynski).
The Cold Spot started out really solid. A crew is playing cards after a successful heist when one of the members, an old hard-ass named Jonah, whips out a gun and plugs some dude in the temple. Jonah's grandson Chase didn't know about the hit and is both pissed and afraid, so much so that he ditches the crew and takes up with a string (a mercenary form or a crew). From here the book sucks for about a hundred pages as Chase builds a life with the sheriff's daughter and they do cute shit together and blah, blah, blah until she's murdered and Chase must take revenge with the help of his estranged crazy grandfather.
Now, we need that build up of the relationship of Chase and his wife. It has to be there and it probably has to be as long as it is. But if I hadn't had the ringing endorsements of authors I love I would have tossed this book aside around the time Chase wrassles with his lady love's cantankerous hick father to prove he'll do right by her. But I'm glad I stuck it out.
Piccirilli has created his own cool little world of crime that I'd like to hang around in a lot more. His scams and heists are fascinating and fresh with little details that make them pop. His action scenes hit hard and deep to make you sick and his characters are crazy enough and tough enough for any true noir fan. AND it looks like we have a sequel on the way. Count me in. I'll buy it for sure.
Maybe Piccirilli will even have a trilogy rocking for us and that first boring part will have provided enough exposition for us to chug through two more books of awesome shit similar to THE COLD SPOT's second half. Either way, I have 6.99 and tax with your name on it, THE COLDEST MILE.