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The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli
Review by Steve Sawicki
Bantam Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553384086
Date: 26 June 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Flynn is the main character in this novel and he's a protective service worker in Long Island New York. As the novel opens, Flynn is driving through a snow storm on his way to investigate a case. It's late and Flynn arrives to find a little girl playing out in the snow. Responding to an anonymous call, Flynn knows he won't be greeted with cheer and the woman who answers the door proves him right. What Flynn finds in the house is something that will come to haunt his days, cause his death and provide no few revelations about who he is as an individual. What he finds will create no small number of problems for him and those around him. The question is, will he only have to die once for this case or is there a second death in store for him.

I've known Tom Piccirilli for a long time and I've always enjoyed his writing. Tom started about the same time I did, although he was always more driven. Tom also picked one of the most difficult genres to play in: horror. I think if Tom had chosen to write SF or mysteries or even mainstream fiction he'd have a lot more work published. Tom was always able to write around a plot, weaving humanity into his fiction in such a way that the characters sometimes seemed more like neighbors than fictional people. Tom also has a knack for twisting a story in ways that you just don't see coming. He's also not afraid to off his characters in unusual and bloody ways which can sometimes be downright disturbing. He's also pretty good about capturing the repetitive nature of human behavior and doing it in a way that seems real and believable. In most horror novels you wonder why the characters are being so stupid in what they choose to do, in Tom's books you wonder why they aren't doing those behaviors more often.

The Midnight Road is a very interesting book that touches on some difficult areas such as child abuse, abuse of those who are less than fully functional, the political correctness that now goes along with those who work in child protection fields, and the basic concept that we are often driven to the very thing we most dislike. I read the book in two sittings. It's sharp, disturbing, energetic, redemptive and possibly the best book Tom's done so far.

Our Readers Respond

From Tom Piccirilli:
    I thought Steve Sawicki did a fine job with his review of my novel The Midnight Road. He noted the depth of my characters and the main thrust of what I try to do with all my work, which is to engage the reader on a deeply emotional level. The personal touch in his article reminded me of the good old days when I was first starting out, as well, so that was an extra perk for me.

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