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Every Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli

Every Shallow CutEvery Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Synopsis

He’s nameless, faceless, and has nothing left to lose—and now he has a gun.

Alone except for his beloved bulldog, Churchill, a despondent man who’s failed at his career, his marriage, and his own simple hopes makes his way across the fierce American landscape and the spectacle of his own bitter past. As he heads home to his distant brother, he witnesses various tragedies and crimes which bring out the killer in him.

Tom Piccirilli brings us a suspense story for our current struggling times, taken directly from a broken heart. It is full of realism, grit, and a depth of the dark streets that give voice to the fears most of us can barely imagine. The terror of loss, the overwhelming dread of failure, the desperate push towards crime, the horror of missed-out, mediocre dreams. And the all-too-average explosive rage.

My Review

The synopsis covers well the story. The main protagonist is a writer who has lost it all in a time where it’s make or break for people he is literally broke right down to a royalty cheque for $12.37. This is about a very human struggle and a man’s burden that he did not do it right with his family, his profession and his home all gone to the dogs, one consolation is that at least he still has his dog and a car, and now is in possession of a deadly weapon.

What is he going to do? Where will the road end?

That’s the pondering questions. This story would appeal to many writers and readers, a dilemma so true nowadays Men failing, at despair’s door take a shotgun to his family then himself. I just hope for salvation for this protagonist as you really feel for him in this good tight story from Piccirilli, who does not get enough recognition as he should for writing some real solid stories incorporating human struggles and evils.

His luck was not on his side, he smiled pleasantly at everyone. He smiled pleasantly at the bank guy who stuck the foreclosure sign on his front door, when Church his dog was a puppy and the vet told him to have it put down. He smiled pleasantly at his editor when the publisher remaindered two thousand copies of his last novel and he found them stacked in the thrift store with pink stickers, going for a quarter each, and still not selling. He is down to one royalty cheque for $12.37 the last money he would ever see from his writing. His last novel sold even worse than the one before it, which sold worse than the one before that, going back more than a decade to the first book, which hadn’t done all that well either.

I put forward this question how many authors have found themselves in the same situation in the past? And if they do not embrace the ebook generation that is plaguing the hard-copy industries they might sell less in the future, with large stores shutting up shop and small book shops no longer managing as general supermarket stores offer cheaper prices. As ebooks become cheaper the future is going to be a whole different ball game.

This image is from I am Legend and strikes similarities with the protagonist of this story as in owning a gun and his dog.

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Reviews – What’s Being Said About Tom Piccirilli & Every Shallow Cut,/b>

Lovers of gritty noir will devour this stand-alone from Piccirilli (Shadow Season), a pulse-pounding account of a writer’s descent into despair and violence. . . . Piccirilli makes his fall from grace utterly convincing and his emotional rage all too understandable.
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Every Shallow Cut can easily be read in 90 minutes—and it should be. Doing so makes Piccirilli’s matter-of-fact portrait of utter despair more compelling and drives home its austere beauty. Inspired by current economic hardship and possibly by his own worst nightmares, Piccirilli dedicates the book to readers who share such fears. Ninety minutes spent with Every Shallow Cut will sting for years.
–Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

With an already-impressive body of work behind him, Piccirilli delivers his greatest book yet with Every Shallow Cut. Piccirilli’s prose is stripped-down and almost acoustic for this effort. Every word counts. . . and cuts. If this were music, Every Shallow Cut would sit right alongside Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Johnny Cash’s American Recordings, and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. Highly recommended.
–Brian Keene, author of The Rising

This powerful little noirella will surely delight—and disturb.
–Paul Goat Allen, Unabashidly Bookish: the BN Community Blog

This is a tightly crafted novella that nicely captures the gloomy paranoia of the ‘mancession,’ recognizing both the need to stay in contact with what we love and the dead end that all fantasies of revenge represent.
–Alex Good, The Record

I love the writing here. It is stripped down to a kind of Charles Willeford-Charles Williams simplicity that is all the more effective for its bluntness and accessibility. The dialogue is dead-on….Tom Piccirilli has written many fine books and stories but at this point in his career, for me anyway, I would call Every Shallow Cut his masterpiece.
–Ed Gorman, Spur and Bram Stoker Award winning author of — The Poker Club

Just finished Every Shallow Cut by the brilliant Tom Piccirilli. A giant recommendation if you like your books short, dark, and very good.
–Sara Gran, author of Dope and Come Closer

Piccirilli paints a seriously bleak picture of when a life just never delivered on a promising career. This is a story of a writer who arrived at the wrong time, and the writing in it is as stark as the plot. There are some truly great lines that resonate in the mind. As short as this book is, it packs more energy than all but a few writers of today can muster.
–Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm

“. . . with Every Shallow Cut, [Piccirilli]’s leap frogged both genres and has created a unique, disturbing, and utterly compulsive narrative voice which cannot be defined by genre. Each sentence is a sharply crafted gut punch keeping the reader on edge as Piccirilli’s nowhere man finally lets go of the ghost of his old life and fully embraces insanity.
–Keith Rawson, Bloody Knuckles, Calloused Fingertips

[W]e can see the immensity of what Tom has done here. Anyone can rant about the disparity in lifestyles in this country or the problems of the promises too many of us were sold over our lives. Anyone can scream that there is a problem. But within these pages, we have no choice but to live it, to breathe it in and make it a part of ourselves. It isn’t so easy to ignore then.
–Anton Cancre, Shroud Magazine

Every Shallow Cut is bloody brilliant. So many emotional wallops in so few pages.
–Sarah Weinman (Los Angeles Times, Barnes & Noble Review), via — twitter

Piccirilli is a master of the novella-length noir. Every Shallow Cut coils and tightens like a spring, giving us an image of a man for whom things can only get worse. I’ve been a fan of Piccirilli’s work for a long time, and Every Shallow Cut delivers.
–Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and Fugue State

There was one point (I won’t mention specifics, lest I spoil the full effect) that broke me down into full out sobs.
–Anton Cancre, Horrornews.net

Sometimes we write in blood, sometimes in tears, and in Every Shallow Cut Tom Piccirilli has done both. It’s a book that is profoundly moving and astonishing, his most vulnerable, shining, stunning hour.
–Ken Bruen, author of The Guards and London Boulevard

Sometimes we write in blood, sometimes in tears, and in Every Shallow Cut Tom Piccirilli has done both. It’s a book that is profoundly moving and astonishing, his most vulnerable, shining, stunning hour.
–The Crow’s Caw

Just possibly the most powerful piece of work Mr. Piccirilli has ever produced, and that’s saying a lot. Dark and desperate, Every Shallow Cut is an amazing story by an amazing writer. Highly recommended.
–James A. Moore, author of Blood Red and Deeper

It’s the rare and gifted writer who can convincingly relate abject despair and be funny without diluting the impact.
–Eddie Muller, Founder and President of the Film Noir Foundation

Normally, when people get cut, blood spills from their wounds. When Tom Piccirilli gets cut, sentences pour out. I recommend picking up Every Shallow Cut and getting some of his blood in your hands.
–TT Zuma, Horror World

Every Shallow Cut is a relentless look at a nervous breakdown in progress. . . . By the end of this work, readers will probably be short of breath because of the driving pace and the brutality Piccirilli heaps upon his anti-hero, and which his anti-hero heaps upon everyone else. It’s a slow motion train wreck, and you can’t—don’t want to—look away. If you’ve never read any of Tom Piccirilli’s stuff before, this would be a terrific introduction.
–Bev Vincent, author of The Road to the Black Tower

Every Shallow Cut is not a light book to read. It really makes you think about what life would be if all was lost. It is not fluff or an upbeat book, but a story that needs to be told and certainly needs to be read.
–Sonar4 Landing Dock

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 18 July 2011

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