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Every Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli
Cover Artist: Erik Mohr
Review by Steve Sawicki
ChiZine Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781926851105
Date: 29 March 2011 List Price $10.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

When you lose nearly everything you head home. At least that's what the protagonist in Tom Piccirilli's Every Shallow Cut does. He's lost his job, his wife, and any sense of hope he may have once had. He gets beat up trying to pawn his last possessions and that begins the turning point.

Turning the tables on muggers he manages to beat them up and send them off in good fashion. Then, with his overweight bulldog, Churchill, and the gun he's just traded for in the pawn shop he heads east. Along the way he runs into tragedy, crimes, and others who have similarly apparently been abandoned by fate. When he turns up at his estranged brother's things go from bad to worse. At least he still has the gun.

Piccirilli is a writer who is more than capable of painting a gritty, depressing picture of life. As we follow the nameless protagonist from place to place it is easy to imagine him just the other side of where we are, just a few bad occurrences from our own life, a chance or two from our back door to the car he is sleeping in. The pacing is pretty fast for a book that is this depressing. But that's probably a good thing as well because how much naked angst can you stand?

I sometimes wonder just how much of a writer is in a book. Most of the time I figure not all that much. But, every once in a while, something clicks that maybe this time there is a lot. Whether it is from the deeper sense of emotion that underlies the actions of the characters or simply the multiple layers that seem to be invested in every action it is hard to say. Whatever the case, this book has some depth to it. I say book, it is really more of a novella.

I should also point out that the ending is one of those that leaves you wondering just what happened. If you are looking for a dead set conclusion, it's not here. It does fit well with the protagonist at that point of the story. I would definitely recommend this book for those looking for a hard boiled and gritty look at one man's drop into the abyss. A well written page turner.

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