Every Shallow Cut

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.

Reviews of Every Shallow Cut:

It's impossible to describe the feeling one gets as a reader when you read a perfect sentence, or a perfect paragraph, or a perfect chapter. There's a thrill, yes, but there's also a sense of deep satisfaction. . . . Such is the experience of reading pretty much every sentence of Tom Piccirilli's Every Shallow Cut.
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.
[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.
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
Just thinking about Every Shallow Cut makes me want to drop all my plans this evening and burn through the novella again. That’s because Tom Piccirilli writes like a man on fire. His sentences bob and weave like classic pugilists. His characters are desperate in all the right ways. Every Shallow Cut demonstrates a master of gritty poetics at the top of his game.
[Tom Piccirilli] is easily one of the best writers out there, his output is tremendous and I’ll be damned if he’s disappointed yet . . . I won’t sugarcoat it: [Every Shallow Cut] is a depressing read. But it’s a damn excellent one, too, and worth the open-mouthed, knee-hugging keening you’ll probably be doing after you’ve finished it.
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
Every Shallow Cut is that rare kind of psychological thriller that every other writer wishes he'd written. This is suspense at its most excruciating. Wow.
—Jonathan Maberry, NY Times Bestselling author of The Wolfman.
Every Shallow Cut is as beautiful as it is sad and depressing.
I just finished Every Shallow Cut a couple days ago and have got to say: Goddammit, man. After reading that, I think I’m hanging up my spurs. Or Moleskine, as it were. I can’t beat it, or really even come close. . . . Flat out, Tom, Every Shallow Cut is a thing of beauty. I could probably go on about ten other things this book does well—oh, and that’s another thing I forgot about: You did all of this in 22500 words? Really? How is that even possible?—but thinking about this has given me the itch to go write something awesome, and that’s about the best comment I could ever give.
The shining example of word economy and layered storytelling. There’s so much to say about this novel, and I’m supposed to keep these brief. Hell, it’s not even a novel, but still says more in 23,000 words than a lot of crime series do in twelve books. Just read it and you’ll understand what I’m saying.
This powerful little noirella will surely delight—and disturb.
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.
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.
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
A true master can write a genre story with the bare minimum. That's what Piccirilli has achieved with Every Shallow Cut. It's the most minimalistic, yet one of the rawest and most gut-wrenching examples of noir. It's one of those books you end up lending to friends all the time, whenever one asks: Well, what IS noir? Every Shallow Cut is noir in its darkest manifestation.
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.
[W]ith 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.
If you have any appreciation for dark fiction, then you should most definitely read [Every Shallow Cut].
Every Shallow Cut is bloody brilliant. So many emotional wallops in so few pages.

Other Reviews

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Author Info

Tom Piccirilli is the author of more than twenty novels, including Shadow Season, The Cold Spot, The Coldest Mile, and A Choir of Ill Children. He’s won two International Thriller Awards and four Bram Stoker Awards, as well as having been nominated for the Edgar, the World Fantasy Award, the Macavity, and Le Grand Prix de L’imagination.

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