Piccirilli is the Stoker-winning and Edgar-nominated author of several impressive works in the thriller and horror fields. In "The Last Kind Words," Terry Rand, a member of a large family of career crooks, goes into law-abiding self-exile after an inexplicable mass murder spree by his hated older brother, Collie. But, just before execution, Collie persuaded Terry to return home, claiming he's innocent of one of the murders he was convicted of - and he wants Terry to clear his name and stop what could be a lurking serial killer. This is a tense but heartbreaking family and crime saga, and Piccirilli's at the top of his game. Bonus info: Piccirilli, a damned nice guy, is now in remission after surgery last fall and intensive chemo/radiation treatments for brain cancer. His family faces massive medical bills; buy this or any of his books and help out. You'll be glad you did.
- RICK KOSTER