Every Shallow Cut
by Tom Piccirilli
Reading can sometimes be hard going when the story is about someone having a hard go of it, hanging off the edge of sanity. But although you can feel Piccirilli’s protagonist’s fingers getting slippery, his hold on the precipice getting more and more uncertain as the story progresses, this book sweeps you along, and you will finish it in a just a few hours. This is partly because the book is only 162 pages, the pages are small, and the spacing is wide. It is also because the writing is fluid, unpretentious, real. And the protagonist could be you, or me, or anyone we know. Not that you or I would end up on the last page, doing whatever it is he decides to do. We’re not sure what happens in the end, and that’s probably a good thing, as it might allow the reader to create distance, to say, “WELL! I would NEVER do THAT!” What he actually does may also be beside the point. The thought processes that lead up to the action are the real focus. And the scariest part of it all – the reason Piccirilli’s work is in the suspense/thriller genre – is that the devastating life events and the grief that results are so undeniably real that, if we’re honest, we can’t draw a thick line between ourselves and the protagonist. There is a part of us that is revolted – and a part of us that understands. Readers may find that compassion to be more frightening than out-and-out terror.