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Terrier Rand #2

The Last Whisper in the Dark

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Professional thief Terrier Rand hasn’t gotten caught yet. It’s only his conscience chasing at his heels.
In the follow-up to Tom Piccirilli’s acclaimed novel The Last Kind Words, prodigal thief Terrier Rand has come home to the family that has lawbreaking in its blood. With generations of Rands keeping secrets from the outside world—not to mention from one  another—Terry is sure of one He owes it to the woman he loved and lost to make sure her husband stays alive.
Kimmy’s husband, Terry’s old friend Chub, hasn’t been seen since he supplied a getaway car for a heist that went wrong. When Terry investigates the ominous disappearance, he discovers that Chub was involved with a strange, violent gang of heavy hitters—guys who don’t take kindly to Terry asking questions. But before Terry can find his friend, a curvaceous divorcée takes him for a walk on the wild side, estranged relatives pull him into their horror movie empire, his sister Dale sets her sights on Hollywood after scoring a hit viral video, and his own uncle recruits Terry to rip off his partner.
In a world of larceny, grift, and fraud, no amount of loyalty—to friends, wives, or lovers—can compete with the Rand family drama. Terry just wants to bring Chub home to his wife and child. Instead, he’s dodging mobsters, moguls, and murderers . . . and the truth about one crime of his own.
The Last Whisper in the Dark takes readers on a wild, rollicking ride with an eclectic crowd of fascinating characters—from a well-mannered killer who drives needles into his victims’ brains to a young gangster struggling to live up to his father’s expectations. Bonds of honor, bonds of blood, and betrayals of both make this the most powerful read yet from the heralded Tom Piccirilli.
Praise for Tom Piccirilli’s The Last Kind Words
“Perfect crime fiction . . . a convincing world, a cast of compelling characters, and above all a great story.”—Lee Child
“A crime noir mystery as hard-boiled as any in recent memory, recalling the work of Chandler, Pelecanos and Connelly . . . Readers will be pinned to their seats until the last page is turned.”—Bookreporter
“At once a dark and brooding page-turner and a heartfelt tale about the ties that bind.”—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Heartbroken
“[A] caustic thriller . . . The characters have strong voices and bristle with funny quirks.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[Piccirilli] deserves a breakout novel and this just might be it.”— Booklist (starred review)
“For the first time since The Godfather, a family of criminals has stolen my heart. This is a brilliant mix of love and violence, charm and corruption. I loved it.”—Nancy Pickard, bestselling author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning

336 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Tom Piccirilli

182 books374 followers
Thomas Piccirilli (May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015) was an American novelist and short story writer.

Piccirilli sold over 150 stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, erotica, and science fiction fields. He was a two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for "Best Paperback Original" (2008, 2010). He was a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He was also a finalist for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award given by the Mystery Writers of America, a final nominee for the Fantasy Award, and the winner of the first Bram Stoker Award given in the category of "Best Poetry Collection".

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5 stars
132 (29%)
4 stars
201 (44%)
3 stars
93 (20%)
2 stars
20 (4%)
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6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
March 24, 2019
i did not know there was going to be a sequel, and then there was!!

real review later. for now - just be excited with me

oh, dear lord, i loved this book.

this is a sequel to the last kind words which if you have not read, you need to go read, and then you can read this one. i would not recommend reading this one without reading the other one first, because a lot of amazing stuff happens in the last kind words, and you will miss out on the emotional impact if you just read this one, although it does do a pretty good job with recap. but just factual recap, all the important layers will be lost on you if you try to dive in here. trust karen on this.

this book was just like a warm bath, if your bathtub is full of crime and revenge and creeping into people's bedrooms when they are asleep.

but the characters - it was like i had never left them. every word was like being immersed into someone's life, and they shone up off the page like little holograms.

not all the characters from the first book made it out alive, so i hesitate to even talk about much of the plot, but i will say that terry is still with us, still nursing his wounded love while trying to protect his younger sister and keep tabs on what remains of his family.

this is still a crime story, but while it has some of the trappings of the noir,it is not a noir story. it is what noir would be if it ever had a sympathetic, but not entirely blameless, male lead who demonstrated real human qualities. can i call it emo-noir? i believe i shall.

i am pretty sure i can't express myself any better than this right now. it's all too good, too much. i love terry, i love his mother, i love the entire structure of this family, and the lengths they will go for each other, including the keeping of secrets to the extent that it is a secret that they even know the secret, if you follow.

the whole opening scene with JFK, who is a dog named after a person in a family of people named after dogs, is one of the best things i have ever read, and the way this scene will sort of translate into other, later, events is kind of painfully beautiful.

and every "whisper" made my heart seize up a little.

and every realization that redemption is so rarely possible.

i really can't say enough good things about this book, and the real crime is that i can't be articulate when i feel as much love as i do here.

i doubt there will be a third book, it doesn't feel like there is anything left that the reader can't infer, and a lot of it is just long, slow decline, but i would love to read more, if these characters are given another chance.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
January 10, 2018
A few months after his brother's execution, the man who married the love of Terrier Rand's life goes missing and Terry starts sniffing around. Meanwhile, Terry's mother's family reaches out to her for the first time in decades to tell her that her father is dying and Old Crowe might just have a job for Terry...

The Last Kind Words was phenonmenal and the goal for 2018 is to read as much Tom Piccirilli is possible. I broke through my ebook cheapness ceiling and grabbed this one post haste. I knew it was going to be good when I was threatening to shed tears after the first few pages.

The Last Whisper in the Dark picks up months after the events of The Last Kind Words. Terrier is watching Kimmi and Scooter, Chub's family that could have been his, when Chub goes missing after a botched bank robbery. The other thorns in his side are Danny Thompson, local mob boss, and Perry Crowe, Terry's estranged grandfather.

Much like The Last Kind Words, The Last Whisper in the Dark is all about family secrets and lies. Terry is hiding things from everyone, especially himself. His mother's family proves that not all the illegal inklings come from the Rand side.

There's a lot more going on in this one than Terrier Rand's previous outing. While I could see where some of it was heading, some of it still caught me off guard. I love that Terry showed some integrity and didn't immediately try to worm his way into Kimmi's life. He did some dumb things, though, things that I think would have come back on him had Tom Piccirilli lived long enough to write future volumes.

While I love the crime elements, my favorite parts of the book are the moments Terry shares with his mother, Wes, and even Endicott. The supporting cast was very rich, even after only two books.
The Rands are much more complex characters than they could have been. Terrier's father dealing with the onset of Altzheimer's was very sad and one of the many elements that sets this above 99% of crime books out there.

I only had a couple gripes with this. I thought the ending came out of left field and was a bigger logical leap than Terrier ought to have been able to make. The other gripe was the way Darla could have been a richer character but wound up pretty much being someone for Terry to bang.
The entirety of my reading experience was tinged with regret that Tom Piccirilli was dead. The Rand family had enough skeletons in the closet to fuel any number of future books.

The Last Whisper in the Dark is a great entry in the Terrier Rand saga. I just wish it wasn't the end. Four out of five stars.
Profile Image for Richard.
998 reviews382 followers
October 10, 2017
"You're a killer Terrier. I don't know who you've murdered but I can see its taint on you. You're my kind. We know about the disappeared, you and I. We know where the vanished are hidden."
I'm so happy I discovered Tom Piccirilli. It's so awesome when you discover writers who seem to write work specifically for you, books that are exactly what you want to read.

This novel, which I believe was his final full-length one before his death, takes up several months after the events in The Last Kind Words , and features cat burglar Terrier Rand coming to terms with his actions in that book while still struggling with his place in his criminal family and still pining for the woman he abandoned.

While the plot here isn't as focused as The Last Kind Words (he cast a wider net in this one, focusing on a number of different plot threads), Tom Pic outdoes himself here in his prose. He's a real writer's writer and has an almost perfectly-honed way with words that's really impressive to me. This is a crime novel more about the characters than about the crimes themselves and the book continues to effectively illustrate Terry, his family, and the rest of the supporting characters in a way that sets it apart from so many novels of its kind.

In both this book and its predecessor, Terry struggles with avoiding the burden of his family's reputation and legacy but must confront the possibility that he must come to accept it, like it or not. One of the most interesting ideas is that his whole family is fucked up in a variety of ways, but the only one that seemed to be completely at peace was Collie, his late brother from the first book that gave up the struggle fighting his urges and went on an unapologetic killing spree. Is that the answer...that Terrier just has to give in to his nature to finally be at peace with himself?
The underneath called to me and begged me to fire, to murder, to die. It promised me the end of anguish and a proper understanding of purpose.
It's not a feel-good read at all, so stay away if you're looking for something lighter. But as usual the author really knows how to nail poetic and powerful catharsis and like most of Pic's work it is a melancholy look at loss and a heritage you just can't shake.
He had organized a hundred escape routes before, but now when he needed only one more, there weren't any left for him.
Profile Image for Gatorman.
603 reviews68 followers
July 21, 2013
Amazing sequel to The Last Kind Words, which continues the story of Terrier Rand and the Rand clan and introduces more family members and low-lifes to the mix. There is a poetic quality to the story thanks to the fluid writing of Piccirilli, even when violence rears its ugly head. Gritty and real, the characters come to life and are fully realized, flaws and all. The ending is powerful and leaves you thinking about the fate of the players long after the last words are read. Even better than its predecessor, which was terrific on its own. If you haven't read these two books, you need to. Now. Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Erika.
754 reviews48 followers
July 25, 2013
Go on and take another little piece of my heart, Mr. Piccirilli. I love Terrier. I love Terrier's mother. I love his father. It's just that the loneliness was a lot to take. It brought up that old saying about how you can be the most lonely when you are not alone, and I think almost every character in this book exemplified that. There were a few places where I questioned Terry's thoughts and motives because they didn't seem like the established character, but overall the story worked really well and it certainly made me love the Rand family even more which I was not expecting.
Profile Image for Michael.
837 reviews615 followers
December 21, 2016
Prodigal thief Terrier Rand has been sucked back into the life he so desperately wanted to escape. He finds himself this time helping his old friend’s wife, Kimmy discover just what has changed with Chud since the night a car heist went horribly wrong. These people don’t take kindly to the questions Terry is asking but before he can find that truth, a curvy femme fatale takes him on a walk on the wild side, estranged relatives pull him into their horror film empire, and his sister is heading for disaster.

I first discovered Tom Piccirilli from an Amazon email recommending me The Last Kind Words (book one of the Terrier Rand series) based on my enjoyment of Drive by James Sallis. Based on that email I did some research of the book and ending up buying it (not from Amazon). Although the two books are vastly different I really enjoyed The Last Kind Words and was so pleased to see Terrier Rand return for another novel.

Terrier Rand grew up in a household of thieves and grifters; from a very young age Terry had been engaging in theft. He left his family and life of crime to go straight but in The Last Kind Words, which happened five years later, he had been dragged back in when his brother was claiming to be innocent of one of the victims of his killing spree. His brother was only days away from execution and asked Terry to look into that one murder. Collie has pleaded guilty for all the other murders but the police won’t listen when he claims he is innocent of this one murder. Collie doesn’t want the real killer to remain on the loose and even though Terry hates his brother and what he did, he finds himself investigating.

Now Terrier finds himself sucked into the family drama all over again, this time it’s his old friend Chud (as well as his wife Kimmy) and his sister Dale that he has to look after. No matter what he does, Terry just can’t seem to escape his family; though he may love them, they will always suck him back into a life he urgently wants to escape. So Terry is constantly in a battle between escaping and helping the people he loves; Dale his younger sister who he wants to keep away from the world of crime and Kimmy, his former fiancée and his daughter, who he wants to keep safe as well and if his old friend Chud is mixed up in something he might have to try and save him as well.

This is not a crime thriller; this is a book of family drama and different dilemmas that come with them. While the thriller genre plays out really well and you can even see Tom Piccirilli’s noir back ground come through within this book. I love this series simply because of the unique characters and the drama that comes with looking after those who are close to you. Piccirilli does a wonderful job of writing crime fiction and blending it with character development and drama, something that is often lacking in this genre and he just shows the world how it can be done well and he does it with ease and style.

The Last Whisper in the Dark continues the story of Terrier Rand really well, those characters have a way of sticking with you and it was so great to return to them and see what happens next. You have to read The Last Kind Words before trying this book out but I highly recommend them both if you are looking for something with more character and emotions in a crime thriller. I will admit I haven’t read anything else Tom Piccirilli has written which I feel bad about but maybe I will get a chance to do so sometime soon. I hear great things about his noir fiction and in particular The Cold Spot, so that is already on my radar.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2013/...
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,509 reviews29.5k followers
September 12, 2013
Every time I read one of Tom Piccirilli's books, I think two things. First, he is a fantastic writer. And second, why isn't this man a household name? So many of Piccirilli's books deftly mesh terrifically complex characters, whip-smart dialogue, movie-worthy action, and great suspense. If you've not read one of his books and you're a fan of crime novels (or just damned good writing), pick one of them up and you'll be hooked.

The Last Whisper in the Dark is a follow-up to the equally fantastic The Last Kind Words. Terrier "Terry" Rand (yes, his family are all named after dog breeds, which feels less idiosyncratic in this book) is a thief, descended from a long line of thieves among members of the Rand family. He desperately wants a "normal" life but the obligations of family and the urge that is in his blood. He knows the path down which his genetics will lead him, but he isn't sure whether fighting it is the right thing to do.

When he fled his Long Island home and his family years before, he broke a promise to Kimmy, the woman he loved. And even though she married his former best friend, Chub, and had a daughter, Terry can't stop thinking about how this should be his life. He can't stop him from watching over Chub, although he's not sure whether he wants Chub to run the straight and narrow, or screw up so he might have another chance with Kimmy. But when he discovers that Chub has gotten in over his head, he promises Kimmy he'll bring her husband home, no matter what it does to him.

Meanwhile, the pull of family becomes even stronger for Terry, as he tries to save his younger sister, Dale, an aspiring actress, from destroying her life through her involvement in a dangerous Web series; as he tries to figure out where his brooding father goes at night; and when he is recruited by estranged family members he never knew he had—once-famous film executives turned horror movie producers—to right some wrongs in their business. But while Terry laments his past and fears his future, he is compelled to focus on the here and now, no matter how dangerous it may prove to him.

I am just so taken with the characters in this book as well as its predecessor. Terry Rand is so complicated, so compelling, one of those people you shouldn't like because of what they do but you can't help but be drawn to them. He is unapologetic about the way he lives his life, even as it's tearing him up inside (and sometimes outside), even though this life has taken such a toll on his family through the years, and this book is as much about that gravitational pull toward wrong than anything else. But at the same time, this is a book about family loyalty, family secrets, and how family can both draw you in and send you running (and reeling).

Piccirilli's writing is simply electrifying at times. There's enough action to get your blood pumping, and enough soul-searching to challenge you. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next, although I wouldn't mind a return to the Rand family.
Profile Image for Kwoomac.
836 reviews37 followers
October 22, 2013
Sometimes it's not a good thing to love a book. I loved The Last Kind Words. So I had high expectations for this novel which starts up where the last book left off. I still love the main character Terrier Rand. But something was missing. Or maybe there was too much in this book. Piccirilli had lots of subplots which of course all come together in the end. I figured as much, so for me there were no surprises.

Maybe it wasn't the right book for me at this time, (hey, it happens) but I didn't rip through this story. I picked it up, read a little, and then put it down for days. Terry was downing percosets and beer for most of the story and that's kind of how I felt. Disconnected. A little numb. As I said, I still like Terry, but mostly the rest of the characters just reminded me of scuzzy people I know in real life. So that's who I pictured. And Darla? I never bought it. No way someone with her life, hanging out in a dive bar, looks " next door cute , sultry with smoky amused eyes" ! What does that even mean?

I feel a little disloyal. Piccirilli tells an atmospheric crime story. Worth reading but a bit of a let down for me. I read an interview he did recently and he mentioned a third book. Not sure what direction he'd take the story. I felt like it was done.
Profile Image for Steve Lowe.
Author 13 books186 followers
September 23, 2013
More like 3.5 stars. Good writing as always, but lacked the narrative drive of the first one. The peril never seemed very ... perily. I know that's not at all a word, but it's early in the morning.

Terry Rand is trying to find (and save) his former best friend, Chub, who got mixed up in an armored car heist gone wrong, and is going to be whacked after the crew killed the guards, who were all former cops. There are subplots about his sister's secret acting career, and his mother's despicable side of the family, but the parts never really come together as a strong whole.

I've definitely read better from him, but even the least of Piccirilli is still better than a lot of writers' best efforts.
Profile Image for Vince Darcangelo.
Author 13 books24 followers
May 15, 2023
There are not enough superlatives when discussing Tom Piccirilli. The man is a brilliant and diverse writer: He’s won awards for his horror, fantasy, thrillers and even poetry—bagging the prestigious Bram Stoker award on four occasions.

Previous novels, such as Shards, A Choir of Ill Children and November Mourns, have shocked and terrified, but with his new release, The Last Whisper in the Dark, Piccirilli takes us to a far more tender place.

A tender place, it turns out, just as disarming as his nightmares.

I’ll sum it up this way: I was shedding tears by page three. I think the only other book that has ever had me crying this early in the narrative is Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

Piccirilli has a knack for character development and storytelling, and The Last Whisper in the Dark, a sequel to 2012’s The Last Kind Words, may be his deepest work yet.

Concerning Terrier (Terry) Rand, a young thief from a family of small-time criminals, Piccirilli has given us a protagonist as sympathetic as he is fearless. On the surface, the story is about the disappearance of Terry’s friend Chub and the ensuing search that drives him head on into gangsters, killers and a femme fatale.

But on a deeper level, this is a tale of honor and family and the clumsy way we go about expressing our feelings to the ones we love. The Rands are a proud and tragic clan, with dementia and criminality in their blood—as well as an outlaw tendency that keeps them on the fringes of society.

But their strongest trait is honor. Terry is loyal to an estranged friend who stole the only woman he ever loved. He quietly looks out for his sister, even as she rebels against him and helps desecrate their dead brother’s grave. He remains devoted to a family that can occasionally be distant and dysfunctional, but always has each other’s backs.

You can mess with Terry, but you’d best not fuck with his family.

You’ll fall in love with Terry by the end of the first chapter, and you’ll be cheering him on the rest of the novel. And when it’s done, you’ll applaud Piccirilli for this tender bit of noir literature.

Piccirilli is an established icon within the horror realm, but he has yet to crack through to the mainstream, which is unfortunate. This is a writer worthy of notice, and hopefully this book is the one that reaps him the exposure and attention he deserves.

Profile Image for Ellis.
1,217 reviews137 followers
August 21, 2013
Good grief, this sequel to The Last Kind Words is so silly & annoying, I’m kind of second-guessing my love for the original. All the wonderful, rich, named-after-dogs characters from the first book have been reduced to paper cutouts of their former selves. To be fair, I really, really liked Grey & Mal the best & of course they’re not around anymore, but what happened to Dale? I remember her being a bit of a twit like any teenage girl, but who is this person now? I suspected that Piccirilli first broke out the Alzheimer’s diagnosis so he could easily let Shepherd suddenly come alive & make some profound announcement whenever he needed to move things along; here, he uses it to relegate Pinscher to a big nobody who drinks green tea, never speaks, and blanks out whenever it’s convenient. Rather than taking a few plot threads & making something meaningful out of that, he crowds so much in that it had me tearing my hair out with some new development every twenty pages. Chub, Darla, Kimmy, bank robbery, Terrier’s mom’s mean family, dying grandpa says kill these guys, movie business, meth ring, shady internet movies, crime syndicate, Dale in the school play, and oh my god, do not get me started on the philosophical guy who kills people with a needle. Heaven help us. Terrier’s constantly describing a situation one specific way, and then a page later that same situation is something completely different. His grandfather’s house has a crazy cool security system, tons of floodlights, and a seven-foot-high spear-tipped fence, yet later he does his thief casing thing & decides it’d be ohsoeasy to break right in since security is so sub-par. The first time he has sex with Darla, they make “ . . .fast angry love, full of loss and necessity, with a cruel understanding that we weren’t helping each other much . . .” and two seconds later she’s telling him that he was actually “shy and sweet and careful” – so is she really a big idiot or is this just sloppy writing? I could go on with examples, I suppose, but the end result will still be the same: if there is a third one of these lined up, and especially if Kimmy ends up with Terrier since she’s “always loved him” instead of the actual father of her child, you can count me right out.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ray Palen.
1,557 reviews43 followers
June 20, 2013
To begin with, I must commend Tom Piccirilli as he has recently battled brain cancer and is hopefully turning the corner.

THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK is the sequel to THE LAST KIND WORDS --- one of the best crime thrillers of recent years. The characters are so memorable --- a family of thieves all named after breeds of dogs --- that they simply demanded to be revisited. In THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK the central character from the afore-referenced Rand family is Terrier "Terry" Rand. He finds himself mixed up in three different dilemmas: the man living with his ex-fiancee and daughter is wanted by some dangerous people for a heist gone bad; his estranged Grand-father makes a death-bed plea for Terry to rob his failing horror film studio and, lastly, his sister Dale is involved in an on-line video series that could get her in serious trouble.

The writing in this series is reminiscent of Lehane and Pelecanos and the characters and situations are constantly engaging. I particularly love the Long Island locales (my home!) and the way Piccirilli deftly blends all three story-lines is nothing short of genius. Here's looking to more from the Rand clan!

Reviewed by Ray Palen for Amazon Vine
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,780 reviews14.2k followers
July 7, 2013
This is only the second book in this series that has drawn me into the lives of Terrier and his very unusual family. All the family members have been names after dogs, they are thieves of one type or another, yet they will go to extremes to defend and take care of each other.

Was wondering after the last book, where the author was going to go with this family, because so many of the original were gone in one way or another, but we now have new family members, on the mothers side,family they have been estranged from for over twenty years. Thieves, shall we say, of a different kind.

What draws me in is the grittiness, the no excuses, the strange kind of family honor and the characters that one should not like, but comes to care for. The pace of these novels is quick, the tension always in the background. Readers who love the strange family put together in Andrew Vachss novels, should find this one interesting.

ARC from publisher.

Profile Image for reading is my hustle.
1,508 reviews298 followers
July 15, 2019
best family saga about grifters i've ever read. .
Profile Image for Skip.
3,348 reviews411 followers
July 30, 2013
In The Last Kind Words, we meet the Rand family -- a group of thieves and grifters, who have a reasonable sense of morality, assuming you can get over that they are criminals. In this sequel, we meet the wealthy in-laws, who appear to be legitimate business people, but who are morally bankrupt. The main plot is Terry trying to help his former friend, Chub, escape execution for his role in supplying a getaway car for a robbery gone bad. The high points of the book are Terry Rand's interactions with the stone cold assassin and the girl he picks up in a local bar.
Profile Image for Tonya.
1,122 reviews
October 24, 2013
Really really creepy! Somebody killing people with needles into the brain? Ick! But so creepy, who is doing it and I had to know. Not my usual kind of book, but for some reason I seem to be on a creepy kick! This was my first Piccirilli book, but I think I won't make it my last, I was so creeped out, perfect I suppose for this time of year!

I think one of the best sentences in the book is when he said I could have knocked, I could have (something or other) but I like dramatics.

Very good, very detailed. Enjoy EVERY creepy minute!
28 reviews5 followers
June 15, 2013
Those of you who read my review of The Last Kind Words (Tom’s previous book about the Rand family) know that it hit me rather personally. The Last Whisper in the Dark is no different and may be a bit more aggressively so. I’m just warning you so that you know this review will be about my personal relationship with this book and will have none of the usual pretend objective hullabaloo.

The blurbs set it up as being about narrator Terrier’s attempt to clear a friend, the same friend who married his long lost love, from a mess of trouble he’s gotten himself into. I don’t agree about that any more than I agreed with the blurbs last time. I couldn’t step away from the interactions of the Rands and the intrusion of the in-law, less officially outlaw, Crowe family along with Terrier’s continued struggle to find himself amidst fears of being bound my DNA and history. That’s just where my own obsessions lie.

The introduction of the Crowes throws an interesting wrinkle into the already fairly complicated equation of Terrier’s psyche. The Crowes are the upright, uptight wealthy and fully legal family that once kicked the Rand matron out for marrying into a family of low down crooks and grafters. They provide what seems to be a foil for Terry, a view of life on the other side. They could be a glimpse at what he can’t be but in some dim way wants to. Of course, like all good illusions, these walls prove to be a bit less sturdy than expected and the differences between the families are both more and less than they initially appear. The emergence of a potential budding relationship mirrors his relationship with Kimmy in much the same way.

That is where the crux of the tale fell for me, in the strain between trying to be better while staying to true to who you are. In the attempts to hold onto family and forgive their shortcomings without whitewashing their histories and hold them responsible for their own actions. And a bit of navigating the distinctions between what we think things are and the inevitable disappointment that comes with experience. All through the eyes of someone stumbling around in this maze with equal amounts of the blind certainty and blatant stupidity I too often see in myself.

Emotionally, it pulled my strings and punched a few soft spots and I was grateful for the experience. However, it might be worth noting that this is more about the experience than the journey. There isn’t a typical story or character arc to grab onto, which is usually something that pisses me off something awful. Of course, I’m sure Piccirilli knows this potential effect. Why else would he have dear daddy Pinscher make that comment about confusing French plays near the end? If nothing else, it says something that I didn’t chuck the damn thing against a wall for the offense.

I’m not sure that enjoy is quite the right term for a story like this, but I had a heck of a time with it. If you dug The Last Kind Words, I’m sure you’ll dig this. If you haven’t read that yet, I can’t particularly recommend starting here.
Profile Image for Darcia Helle.
Author 30 books705 followers
June 10, 2013
I read an early release of The Last Kind Words, the first book in this series, and loved everything about it. I couldn't wait for the next one and was thrilled when I had the chance to read an early review copy. That's about where my excitement ended.

First, this book starts exactly where the last one left off. There is no easing into the story, no back story, and very little in the way of helpful hints. The story simply continues on, as if I'd only just turned the last page of the last book. As I said, I read and loved the first book, but that was more than a year ago and I've read a whole lot of books since then. I found myself struggling to remember all the details of the first book. I had to keep piecing the story together from fragments of memory. This went on for about the first third of the book, detracting immensely from my enjoyment. If I had this much trouble, I can only imagine what it would be like for someone who had not read the first book. In my opinion, this one would absolutely not work as a stand-alone read.

The other thing that bothered me is Terrier's choices didn't always make sense. He seemed to go through the book reacting to everything in a convenient way to move the story along. Despite his criminal background, I liked his character in the first book. In this second one, I didn't like him nearly as much.

And, last, I don't want to give spoilers so I'll just say I found the request he received from a distant family member, and Terrier's reaction to it, too much of a stretch.

Despite all these issues, I'm still a fan of Piccirilli's writing style. He has a way of getting inside the grittiness of his characters and the world they inhabit that pulls me in.

Profile Image for Josh.
1,649 reviews155 followers
July 13, 2013
Drama enriched with a delicately balanced noir. The Rand family are career criminals trying to resume some form of normalcy following their sons' execution for having been convicted and sentenced to death for multiple murders. Terry, a world class 'creeper' returned home after a 5yr absence finds himself playing a key role within the family structure, one made more important following the events of the previous novel THE LAST KIND WORDS.

This feels more like an episodic installment into what looks like being a prolonged and hard knock family drama. Piccirilli focuses on broadening the Rand family by introducing a poorly grandfather and shady cousin. It isn't until Terry confronts his grandfather that we learn how deep the blood lines of crime run.

Like THE LAST KIND WORDS, Terry Rand, and to a lesser extent, sister Dale take centre stage. The brother/sister bond ever growing, making each interection between these two more meaninful and desperate (in terms of counciling against wrongs/truths). Seeing these two grow together is a highlight

Despite taking a little while for the plot to become apparent, THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK is entertaining and enjoyable. No particular chain of events pigeon holes the novels' intent, rather the characters themselves and their emotional reaction to circumstances they find themselves dictate proceedings.

THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK will appeal to fans of noir who like their crime more dramatised and less violent (that said Terry does cop his share of punishment, there's also an interesting hitman to sink your teeth into) than traditional novels sharing similar mob-like concepts (here the gangster element is on the peripheral).

This review first appeared on my blog: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...
Profile Image for Benoit Lelièvre.
Author 8 books137 followers
May 25, 2013
Can it get better than this? It's more of a dare than a rhetorical question. Reading the second novel of the Rand family, I felt the same buzz than when I read Dennis Lehane or Chuck Palahniuk for the first time. These books are special.

I made the first volume of this projected trilogy THE LAST KIND WORDS my best reading of the year in 2012 and yet this is outdoing it. Piccirilli is more at ease with the characters, he explores them in greater depth. The plot is more layered and has a more interesting structure. It's still a novel about criminals, rather than about crimes, but that makes it even more enjoyable. There is honor among thieves. Get ready for some tip-top Piccirilli material this July, because this is pushing the boundaries of what this author has brought us before. Tom P. is quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Profile Image for Eric.
409 reviews31 followers
April 21, 2017
The Last Whisper in the Dark is the follow up Terry Rand novel by Tom Piccirilli.

The novel resumes after the ending of The Last Kind Words. A broad description of the main plot would probably best be described as Terry Rand trying to help out a long time friend while the friend is both refusing his help and claiming not to need any help. Still, with that description, the novel contains much more story than that.

Piccirilli brings back previously introduced villains, characters and family members and introduces others, including a very interesting free lancing hired killer.

When it comes to these crime novels, Piccirilli has done a very well job. His characters are well developed and lack aspects of the unbelievable so commonly used in fiction writing.

I would suggest readers that enjoy Adrian McKinty's writing would most likely enjoy these two novels.
Profile Image for Eileen.
2,040 reviews88 followers
April 1, 2019
4.5 stars

I really liked this follow-up to Tom Piccirilli's first book and am sad that there will never be any more. While Terrier is not exactly a stand-up citizen, he's a very likeable character and you root for him even as you watch him make stupid decisions. Without giving any spoilers, the ending is somewhat open to interpretation and you, as the reader, are free to imagine all sorts of future scenarios, including ones that work out for the best for this guy. I will also say I love his mom and there were some surprises in the end.

I will round this up to 5 stars, mostly because I haven't read a physical book for a long time (no time), but I liked this enough to make time to read it and finish it. It really is a quick read though!
Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 6 books50 followers
July 30, 2013
Terrier Rand and the rest of his family of thieves, all named after dog breeds, are not likeable people. They live in a world where thieving and lying are the norm, and honesty is rare. His father, Pinscher, is a former burglar who may be in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, while his grandfather Shep has succumbed to that disease. A brother named Collie has been executed by the state for multiple murders, and the teenage sister, Airedale, known as Dale, is involved in her own secret activities.
That being said, Tom Piccirilli tells their story with impeccable originality. His characterization brings everyone of these people to life, from the estranged grandfather on the mother's side who plots murder as he lies on his death bed, to Dale, who has become involved in making videos with a group of teens who break into houses, steal and perform other acts of vandalism and mayhem.
As Terry (Terrier) follows his family business of crime, which is less a family business and more an inherent family tendency, he struggles with the emotions that he feels for his family, when the closeness of love and hate relationships leads him to places in himself that he has not realized existed. At the same time, Terry struggles to protect the woman he loved and lost, who is now married to his friend Chub. Chub has tried to stick to his legitimate business repairing cars, but gets caught up with a gang of criminals with more violent tendencies than the Rand family who stick to the more benign occupations of cat burglar and con man.
Living in this world of dubious definitions of right and wrong, Terry Rand's most compelling need is love, and the petty crimes that are the undercurrent of his life somehow all lead him back to the love he has for his family, and his love for Kimmy and their daughter Scooter, both of whom he has lost to Chub. Whispers in the Dark is a compelling story with characters who are real, although living a life that is unreal. I look forward to the next in the series.
(As published in Suspense Magazine)
2,490 reviews42 followers
August 20, 2014
Sequel to THE LAST KIND WORDS, this is another story of the Rand family, thieves and grifters with their own kind of honor. The curious thing about them is they're all named after dogs. Terrier, Airedale, collie, Pinscher.

Terrier Rand, Terry to everyone, has three problems to deal with. He accompanies his mother to see her dying father, not seen in thirty-five years since he'd tossed her out for marrying into the Rand family. He wanted to apologize. His kid sister Dale, short for Airedale, had gotten involved with an internet series where a gang broke into homes and robbed them, sometimes terrorizing families. It was quite a sensation and Dale was sort of an ad hoc host. The third problem was his ex-best friend chub, married to his ex-fiancee Kimmie. They had a daughter. Chub had gotten involved with a crew that hit an armored car and it went bad. Four security guards, ex-cops, were dead. Everyone was looking for them

Not a bad little thriller here. Must pick up the first book.
Profile Image for Anthony Willis.
148 reviews
November 19, 2016
What is there to say? This book was just as good as the first. (The Last Kind Words)

Tom Piccirilli has thoroughly impressed me with his works in this series. I was saddened to hear of his fairly recent passing. This series easily had another book to be written.

This is the continuing story of the Rands, a family with a reputation that precedes them. It shows how they are trying to deal with the loss of one family member while potentially reconnecting with a few others. However, nothing is cut and dry when it comes to the Rands.

I think at their very core, these are books about families trying to stick together at all costs. Yes, they do some bad things but they are not bad people.

I'm not one to re-read very often, but I see myself coming back to them again in the future.

Really, really great!
Profile Image for Stephen.
534 reviews155 followers
August 25, 2015
Shame about the side story with his Mum's family and their shady movie business which I just found a distraction. The main story of Terrier trying to track down Chub and especially Endicott, the contract killer with the needle, were great, but I didn't enjoy this as much as the first book. Shame as well that there won't be another Terrier Rand book as would have loved to know what happened to them all next.
Profile Image for Barbra.
39 reviews202 followers
April 4, 2013
I LOVED everything about this book. It is one of those books I would read again!! All I can say is just read this one!!
438 reviews3 followers
September 22, 2019
“I smiled at her. It wasn’t a charming smile. It was a convict’s smile. I’d never been in prison but I lived the same life, on the same edge. It was my brother’s smile. “Christ,” she said. “What is it? Your eyes practically went black. You tightened up like you stuck your tongue in an outlet.”

Sentences like that, the descriptive and utterly correct phrasing that Tom Piccirilli uses are what fascinate me about his books. When I read “The Last Kind Words”, I was blown away by the characters and atmosphere he is able to create, to so vividly describe for his reader. An especially impressive feat when the story is about a family of criminals, thieves mostly, and when the reader is faced with no whites or blacks but an infinite number of shades of grey when it comes to good and evil.

This family, the Rand family, is unlike any other. In the societal sense of the word, they are bad – a family of criminals. But inside their world, the reader experiences not only the nuances of good and evil, but the incredibly delicate family dynamics that create more tension in the book than the crimes themselves.

“My father came to the door. He waved to her and gave a wholly false smile. He backed up a step so he was out of her view. He glanced at me and his lips dropped into a frown and the frown fell in on itself. He gave me a firm nod. I nodded back. Then he made his way through the house and out the back door to the garage, where he would dust and mull over his figurine collection and think about delicate creatures made during terrible times. He would think of what he owned and what he didn’t own. What he could get and what he could never have.”

As a family of thieves, wanting and having and taking are some of the most important actions…and feelings. Terrier Rand, the main character, can break into almost anywhere; can steal, should he choose to, almost anything he wants. But what – who – he wants most – he cannot have.

“I gave Kimmy a longing look and put my hands out and she hefted the kid into them. I held Scooter and pressed my forehead to hers and tried to bend the world to my will.”

In “The Last Whisper in the Dark”, Terry is by all accounts a bad guy. But he is a guy who loves fiercely, protects unreservedly, risks everything for his family and for the woman he loves. He knows he cannot save them, at least not all of them, but the core of who he is forces him to try. And through all of this, he looks to his father. The father he thinks he knows, learns he doesn’t know, and who he views as the future of himself.

“Finally he fell out of his trance. An acknowledgement of anger mixed with confusion and embarrassment. It was hard to get a full read with only the moon to see by. His personality began to fill the empty vessel of himself. I watched it happening, second by second, as my father returned from the underneath to his body.”

This book is so deftly crafted, such an interesting combination of elements that I didn’t want it to end. I may not to live in the world of the Rands, but I certainly hope to visit there again.
Profile Image for M. Sprouse.
511 reviews2 followers
November 26, 2018
This is the kind of book that makes my reading life worthwhile. There's a lot of depth in the the writing as well as plenty of action. So obviously I highly recommend this novel. I loved lines like, " The dead can't offer redemption but the dying can". Piccirilli gives us several storylines and even though they don't merge, they are similar in the fact that no matter how smart and on top of things we are in the short term, so many factors contribute in the long run that we're not really in control. It's the butterfly effect of fatalism. "You choose as much of your life as you can. The rest chooses you."

I think I like this second book of the Terrier Rand series even better that "The Last Kind Words", both were excellent. I was all set to rage about how unfair it is that Tom Piccirilli didn't choose to continue this series. Then I did a google search and found that sadly he died in 2015. I enjoyed Terrier Rand as a character, he is quite introspective. It's a shame that we probably won't see the likes of him for some time. I will try some of Mr. Piccirilli's other books. Tom rest well!
Profile Image for Miles Kierson.
15 reviews
July 9, 2017
After reading "The Last Kind Words" I went looking to see what else Tom Piccirilli had written, and I was delighted to find that there was another book in the Rand Family Series, and then disheartened to also discover that the author passed away a few years ago at age 50. I loved the first book; I love and cherish this one. It is a love story in the end, a thriller and mystery of the highest order all the way through. Piccirilli is a gifted author and story-teller, and I will read other books he wrote (there are plenty floating around). The Rand family is everyone's family and isn't -- unless you come from a family of thieves and murderers. How that family evokes pathos, laughter, envy, and distaste is a testament to the author's writing skill. Oh, but I wish there were more of these...
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