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THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK
by Tom Piccirilli
Bantam, July 2013
336 pages
$26.00
ISBN: 0345529006


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this second in a series of mystery novels centered on the uniquely named Rand family (one of professional thieves, grifters, and con men), Terry finds himself confronting several dilemmas, both personal and those of the underworld. His best friend Chub has gotten mixed up with an unsavory crew of bank robbers, and Terry has promised Chub's wife (who just happens to be the love of Terry's life) that he will find Chub and bring him home once the heat has been turned on from the botched bank job.

Then there's Terry's sister, Dale, a seemingly savvy high school student who's gotten mixed up in a viral video series featuring petty thievery and ugly pranks. He's trying to protect Dale from a situation

that could lead to further harm just as his grandfather (on his mother's side), whom the family has never met, calls both Terry and his mom to his bedside in to hear his dying wishes.

There's lots of family secrets to be revealed, and a cousin who appears to have an unnatural degree of interest in the Rand family's history seems to want to dredge up old sorrows regarding Terry's now dead brother, Collie. To top all this off, Terry's father, now retired from the criminal life, has taken to disappearing during the night.

Tom Piccirilli adroitly manages to keep all those balls (and more) flying through the air, without dropping a single one. He's a very engaging storyteller, and one can't help rooting for both Terry and the rest of the Rand clan. It helps to have read the first novel in the series, THE LAST KIND WORDS, before embarking on this one, but there's plenty of great writing even for those just discovering the Rand family and the enormous talent of Piccirilli.

There are few authors who can make the second novel as compelling as the first in a debut series, but Piccirilli has done just that and more. This is a dark tale with few bright spots (save family unity), but it never feels too heavy or weighs the reader down. Instead, one suspects that most readers will find themselves anxiously awaiting yet another installment of the Rand family saga. It just keeps getting

better.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, July 2013

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