Horror World

A Discussion On Tom's 'The Dead Letters'
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Author:  ttzuma [ Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  A Discussion On Tom's 'The Dead Letters'

This is a discussion from the old Leisure Board (2005) on The Dead Letters.


It was amusing to me that Brian Keene was talking about horror books not really being the kind of books that people would buy in an airport. Maybe he was talking about horror books that featured giant crabs, but I think he was talking about horror books in general. I picked this book up in an airport in Baltimore last week smiling as I remembered his post. I quickly put away Dark Tower 6 and started this one.

Piccirilli writes dark. His novels are full of dread, sadness, and little hope for his characters. They are all misfits of some kind, mostly those that have lost something. It could be their limbs, their lifestyle, their freedom, their sanity, normalcy, or a loved one. In this book it’s the loss of a child that haunts the protagonist.

The plot concerns a man who has dedicated his life to finding the serial killer who killed his daughter, and then other children. The killer smothered his daughter in her bed while she slept with her own pillow. After several more killings, a twist comes into the case. The killer starts kidnapping children from abusive homes and brings them to the families of the children he killed originally.

This novel has all of the characteristics you come to expect from a Piccirrilli novel. A main character filled with tremendous loss of some kind, guilt, and a need for closure or acceptance. It has some really strange people in it in the form of a wacky cult who’s involved with their own serial killings whose members are as odd and deadly as they come. The story has supernatural elements with both the cult and the main character himself to keep horror readers adequately enthused. And it has an ending that defines a Piccirrilli novel.

I enjoyed this novel much more than Headstone City. Its plot was straightforward without a lot of sub plots or distractions. Its mood was sullen and depressing giving punch to the chills and very thrilling portions of the story. And the story itself was disturbing enough to make me come back to it in my mind after I finished the last page.

When an author writes a book as great as November Mourns, (or even Choir of Ill Children) there is a tendency to compare all other books he writes after it to that masterpiece. This is unfair to the author (look at King’s work after "It") and it’s tempting to do so. But I’m gonna do it anyway, this book is not as good as the two mentioned above, but it is certainly a good read and I would place it at the bottom of his top 3 novels. I would recommend this book to Piccirilli fans and to those who have not read the author before.

Thanks for reading.
TOM PICCIRILLI: Thanks for the thoughtful review, Tt, much appreciated. Glad you liked it and picked up on the atmosphere of the novel.

CRAIG COOK: Thanks for the info, Ttzuma. I have this one on my TBR pile, but have yet to start it.

TOM PICCIRILLI: Thanks, Craig, hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to peruse a bit.

For anyone who'd like a signed copy, SHOCKLINES is selling them, along with pre-orders for my next book THE MIDNIGHT ROAD.

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