Review: The Last Whisper in the Dark by Tom Piccirilli

The Last Whisper in the Dark Professional thief Terrier Rand hasn’t gotten caught yet. It’s only his conscience chasing at his heels.
In the follow-up to Tom Piccirilli’s acclaimed novel The Last Kind Words, prodigal thief Terrier Rand has come home to the family that has lawbreaking in its blood. With generations of Rands keeping secrets from the outside world—not to mention from one  another—Terry is sure of one thing: He owes it to the woman he loved and lost to make sure her husband stays alive.
Kimmy’s husband, Terry’s old friend Chub, hasn’t been seen since he supplied a getaway car for a heist that went wrong. When Terry investigates the ominous disappearance, he discovers that Chub was involved with a strange, violent gang of heavy hitters—guys who don’t take kindly to Terry asking questions. But before Terry can find his friend, a curvaceous divorcée takes him for a walk on the wild side, estranged relatives pull him into their horror movie empire, his sister Dale sets her sights on Hollywood after scoring a hit viral video, and his own uncle recruits Terry to rip off his partner.
In a world of larceny, grift, and fraud, no amount of loyalty—to friends, wives, or lovers—can compete with the Rand family drama. Terry just wants to bring Chub home to his wife and child. Instead, he’s dodging mobsters, moguls, and murderers . . . and the truth about one crime of his own.
The Last Whisper in the Dark takes readers on a wild, rollicking ride with an eclectic crowd of fascinating characters—from a well-mannered killer who drives needles into his victims’ brains to a young gangster struggling to live up to his father’s expectations. Bonds of honor, bonds of blood, and betrayals of both make this the most powerful read yet from the heralded Tom Piccirilli.” – Goodreads

When I saw that The Last Whisper in the Dark by Tom Piccirilli was available for me to review, I jumped at the chance. This is a sequel to The Last Kind Words, a novel which I adore with all my heart. This being a sequel, however, means that you need to go read The Last Kind Words right now – and then you may read The Last Whisper in the Dark. There is much back story involved from the first book that you will need to know that will make reading the second one a much richer experience.

Something I find unique about the Terrier Rand novels is that while they are about a whole gaggle of criminals, they are not necessarily “crime novels”, per se. These books focus much more on the characters and their experience. For example, there are three criminal storylines in this book, but they’re basically The Supremes to Terrier Rand’s Diana Ross. In other words, they take a backseat to Terry’s inner struggles and his journey through “the underneath”, as he so eloquently calls it. The love of Terry’s life, Kimmy – whom he abandoned five years ago – has married his ex-best friend Chub. Chub is missing, and the cops and dangerous thugs are after him. Terry’s estranged, dying grandfather has asked him to commit a crime as his dying wish, and Terry is hunting down the mastermind behind a crime-spree internet-TV show that his sister, Dale, is involved in. Terry is also desperately guarding a dark secret that would tear apart his family forever if it were to be discovered.

As I said previously, because of my love for Piccirilli’s first novel about the Rands, I was so excited to read its sequel. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t of the same caliber as The Last Kind Words. It wasn’t a bad book, it was just… different than I’d expected, and that caught me off guard. It was, especially in the beginning, somewhat predictable and indicative of what you would read in a generic crime novel. That did fall away as the book moved on, however. There is very much an ethereal feel to this book, a sense of fluidity as Terry moves through events. While I loved Terrier Rand’s character in the first book – the whole sad, honorable crook thing, all that jazz. – he’s not the same in this one, and I didn’t like this new Terrier – or at least his decisions and actions – quite as much. That said, this is a book worth your while. But: you must promise to read The Last Kind Words first – promise! Then, and only then, may you rush to the bookstore and snatch up this good read that is The Last Whisper in the Dark.

The Last Whisper in the Dark is available for purchase as of July 9, 2012.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Random House/Bantam Dell {via NetGalley}

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