The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Terrier Rand returns home, summoned by a phone call telling him of his brother Collie's impending execution. While Collie admits to the murders he committed, he knows one of the killings he's been charged with isn't his doing and wants Terrier to find out who was behind the murder of Rebecca Clarke. Will his investigation tear his family, a multi-generational gang of thieves, apart?
While I enjoyed A Choir of Ill Children, I wasn't super motivated to read another Tom Piccirilli book. I snapped this up for $1.99 and soon found I'd been quite a fool.
The Last Kind Words looks like a crime book on the surface. Terrier Rand has been on the run from his past for five years, a past full of burglaries and such, when he gets the fateful call. Terry slips back into his old life like a pair of shoes that don't fit right anymore, all the while trying to make sense of why his brother would murder eight people and wondering if he didn't have the same potential in himself.
While the mystery element is there, it's more about what binds a family together and what can tear it apart. Terrier didn't leave town under the best of circumstances and now he's reaping the rewards. His family mostly communicates through silence and minding their own business. A lot of things aren't the way he remembered them. His little sister is a teenager. His grandfather has Altzheimers and his uncles seem to be heading in that direction. Reports swarm the Rand house daily and Detective Gillmore is around all too often.
The mystery in and of itself was pretty engaging. It was just over the halfway mark that I had an inkling of who the killer was and I turned out to be right. I knew the big confrontation was going to be bad and I was not disappointed. The final ending was pretty sad.
Terrier Rand is one of the more interesting protagonists I've come across in recent years, a man from a family of thieves who finally has to take a long hard look at himself. While he's not a killer, he's definitely a thief through and through.
The Last Kind Words is a dark, funny, sad, thought-provoking book, so much more than what I thought I was getting. Time to buy more Tom Piccirilli. Five out of five stars.
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