About Me

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"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters

I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Check 'em out, Folks

Been meaning to drop a line here about some recent reads that I really enjoyed.

Here's two from Chizine:

Tim Lebbon's THE THIEF OF BROKEN TOYS is a haunting, surreal novella-length tale about a grief-stricken father trying to find some way to come to terms with the death of his young son. With his marriage on the outs and little left to live for, he meets a mysterious stranger who somehow manages to retrieve the boy's broken toys and fix them, which returns good memories in the father to help replace his pain and sorrow. Poignant, honest, and with a truly emotionally impacting ending, give this one a whirl.

Also, Paul Tremblay's collection IN THE MEAN TIME. I've been a big fan of Paul's since reading his novels THE LITTLE SLEEP and NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND, which follow the dubious investigations of a narcoleptic PI. Now he tears up the scene with short fiction that is striking, original, enigmatic, surreal, and horrific in all the best ways. If you're a fan of the likes of Dennis Etchison, Donald Barthelme, Thomas Ligotti, or Kelly Link, you'll love Paul's work. In any case, scarf up his books, you can't go wrong.

Dave Zeltserman's OUTSOURCED is a speedy, gritty, hardboiled bank robbery tale that bops and weaves along as a group of out-of-work computer programmers decide to get their hands dirty and find they like it a lot. As with Zeltserman's previous novels SMALL CRIMES, PARIAH, and KILLER, his greatest storytelling skill is in the small true, emotional details that every reader will understand. He will definitely keep you flipping pages as fast you can, and once you finish one book you'll be racing on to the next.

Max Allan Collins' iconic hitman QUARRY returns in a series of reprints including all of Quarry's earlier adventures: QUARRY, QUARRY'S LIST, QUARRY'S CUT, QUARRY'S DEAL, and QUARRY'S VOTE. If you were lucky enough to get hooked on the Quarry novels published by Hard Case Crime over the past few years, then here's your chance to go back to the beginning and fall in love with our favorite killer all over again.

For you lovers of old school horror, try Harry Shannon's A HOST OF SHADOWS. His tales are fun, affectionate throwbacks to the kind of horror you dug back in the 80s and 90s: nasty, dark as hell, and action-packed ripsnorters. Monsters a'plenty with some thoughtful psychological threads to balance them out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Loss & The Nobody

Two more of my noirellas are now available for digital download from Crossroad Press. LOSS and THE NOBODY. $2.99 each. Hope you'll give them a whirl.

Employing the unique, darkly humorous, and powerful noir voice that is his trademark, Piccirilli demonstrates why he's become a must-read author for admirers of both crime and horror fiction. LOSS concerns a failed writer working as a handyman in an old Manhattan apartment building with a strange history and numerous oddball tenants, not all of whom may be what they seem. The penthouse is owned by a bestselling novelist and his wife, the nameless narrator's longtime unrequited love, who soon goes missing. Is she dead or somehow trapped within the endless corridors of a lair full of twisted memories and half-forgotten ambitions? This is a haunting noir-ghost story fusion that not only spotlights the fear of missing out on one's greatest hopes and romantic dreams, but also features such memorable characters as Mojo the talking monkey and the corpse of the real inventor of aluminum foil.

This book is available in MOBI (Kindle) EPUB (Sony / Nook) PDF (Adobe) and PRC (Mobipocket) formats. Please choose your preference from the drop-down menu below before proceeding to checkout.

Also available on Amazon Kindle.

Cryer once had another name, but he can't remember it.

The man he used to be was stabbed in the head by an assailant. After months of catatonia Cryer awakens in a mental facility to find that his former life is almost completely forgotten. He knows his wife and daughter have been murdered - he saw them die moments before his own assault - but his shattered mind is incapable of retaining their names. Or even his own.

Now Cryer is free again and trying to track down an elusive killer through his own unknown past. But how do you investigate the murders of your loved ones when you can't remember them? When you have no idea who your friends or enemies were? Where you lived and worked? And what secrets you might have once had and failed to keep?

And how is he supposed to deal with the little man who keeps crawling in and out of his skull?Cryer is a nobody now, but that won't stop him from finding a vicious murderer and making him pay.

"Part vigilante procedural part hard-boiled PI yarn and part examination-of-post-loss-survival weepie, THE NOBODY is Tom Piccirilli at his uncompromising best. The dialogue is so crisp it's like Leonard on speed, and the second and third pages are the literary equivalent of being hit in the face with a shovel. A roller-coaster ride? You bet. A page-turner, even? Yep, no question. A palpable atmosphere, larger-than-life characterisation and impeccable plotting? They're all there. Like I said - clich├ęs: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em." --Peter Crowther - PS Publishing

This eBook is available in MOBI (Kindle) EPUB (Sony / Nook) PDF (Adobe) PRC (Mobipocket)

Signed, limited edition hardcover edition of EVERY SHALLOW CUT can now be pre-ordered from Horror Mall.

A nice review of NIGHTJACK right here.

Another fine review of my latest collection FUTILE EFFORTS here.

Some news:

The option for my novel THE COLD SPOT has gone to Norman Twain Productions. The script is being worked on at the moment. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Sold a new story to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Look for "The Void It Often Brings With It" in 9 months or so.

Check out a new interview with me over at Chizine.

Received a very hip & complimentary note from actor Elijah Alexander, the reader for the Blackstone Audiobook release of SHADOW SEASON. Look for the finished product sometime early next year. THE MIDNIGHT ROAD and THE COLD SPOT audiobooks should be arriving within the next month or two as well.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hideous Babies and the Loom of My Muse

So how does someone come to write a horror-dark-fantasy-crime novel about a group of four people with multiple personality disorder who wind up together in a mental institution where a murder may or may not have occurred, leaving a list of 167 suspects including gods, creatures of myth, historical figures, private eyes, cowboys, and a talking dog? *gasp* And a protagonist who channels the spirit of Jack the Ripper, who can see all the other bizarre personalities and interact with them?

I have no clue. Scream “Cop out!” if you like, but I’m here to tell you the truth, friends, and the truth is that the longer I write, the less I understand the process. It’s like trying to explain how you breathe–the more you think about it, the more you’re likely to hiccup, choke, snort or hyperventilate. I’m always in awe of authors who can pinpoint the reasons, inspiration, and catalysts behind their fiction. My own muse is quite silent on the subject. She gathers up all the threads of my history and weaves and knots them together in a fashion that remains inexplicable to me.

The metaphor holds true. I never know what elements will reflect some small incident from my childhood or some unresolved situation or trauma. I look back on a scene and wonder, Why did I feel the need to discuss that? Jesus Christ, now everyone will know THAT about me. It’s that kind of a personal mechanism. I never know how deep the muse is going to ply. Maybe she’ll pluck some subject that’s currently on my mind. Maybe she’ll drag out my deepest fear. She might send me to the bureau where my high school yearbook resides. I could turn over from a dream and remember a line from Abbott and Costello that sends me to the keypad to knock out a new chapter. If it plays its part in making me, it plays its part in the work. And it all plays its part in making me.

I wrote NIGHTJACK about five years ago, just as I was making my move out of the horror genre and into the crime field. It felt to me that horror was a young man’s game. Writing dark fiction about the fears that lay ahead around the next corner, as opposed to crime, which seemed to be an older guy’s arena. Dark dramatic fiction dealing with the regrets and mistakes coming up behind you. My inherent story themes and current concerns dovetailed perfectly with my mid-life crisis. Since I started my screaming slide over the hill, I’ve become more and more invested in noir fiction. I don’t need speculative dreads anymore, I’ve got a wealth of real ones to keep me busy. The well of my past is deep. Just like yours. Just like anybody’s.

So Nightjack was a swan song of sorts, a strange cross-genre fantasy that starts off in a mental hospital, moves to the mean streets of New York, and eventually winds up on a Greek island where myth and reality, the damned and the doomed, the dead and the divine all meet. I wasn’t sure if this one would ever see print. It didn’t fit in with my crime fiction career at Bantam. And my small press works, even the pieces that can be considered fantastical, leaned heavily toward the noir field. But digital publishing has opened up some new doorways for works that fall outside the usual parameters of one’s career. You don’t have to worry about your ugly babies anymore, you can allow the little hideous bastards out in public and let them lope along with the beautiful kids.