In April of last year, Omnivoracious profiled modern noir master Tom Piccirilli, putting the spotlight on his new novel The Cold Spot. As I wrote back then, "I read a lot of suspense/mystery novels andThe Cold Spot has an intensity, economy, and tough lyricism that just plain blew me away. As far as I'm concerned, it's a stone-cold instant classic of hardboiled/noir fiction." Critics agreed, with raves across the country.
Now Piccirilli is back with The Coldest Mile, giving eager readers the next installment in the harrowing adventures of wheel man Chase. This time Chase is working for the mob while searching for his grandfather Jonah (one of the most compelling stone-cold criminal characters in recent fiction). Chase wants to save Jonah's infant daughter from the life that he himself can't escape. Taking on cold-blooded killer, small-time grifters, and surviving by his wits and his driving, Chase comes closer and closer to finding Jonah only to have events take an unexpected turn. I really enjoyed the novel. There's less of that refreshing shock of the new in The Coldest Mile--we already know these characters--but the action is intense, the stakes are still high, and the pacing is perfect.
If you haven't discovered this amazing series yet, now's your chance to read not one but two great novels--with more to come. Also check out Piccirilli's blog The Cold Spot for frank, honest discussion of thrillers, noir, and the writing life. Piccirilli's one of the good ones--a guy who's genuine, hard-working, talented, and just tells it like it is. Here's a little excerpt I found particularly compelling.
"I’m not sure where the need to write comes from except to say that the need to fantasize has always been with me. We all need a mixture of the world as it is and the world as metaphor, as art. A fundamental part of the human condition is to take what we know of reality and reshape it, rethink it, reimagine it. And then reapply it somehow to our own lives. When the process stalls, I get it going again by any means necessary. I have to. I pray to the great god mortgage and the only way I can pay my bills is off what I produce. The responsibilities of my life can only be attended to through my art. I can only take care of my family through my work....Some people think that writing for money is selling out. But I’m here to tell you, kids, it’s the opposite. It means walking the wire without a net. You gamble your fate on the possibility that you can grind out another book or story no matter what. It means you have to go out and track your inspiration down and wrestle it to the floor every single day. That’s not selling out your work. That’s putting the greatest amount of faith in it. The roof over your head is at stake. The food in your mouth is at stake. Your very life is at stake."