Friday, September 7, 2012

Review: Tom Piccirilli's 'The Last Deep Breath'

A trio of misled youths form a strong bond as a result of their less than perfect existence which carries through to adulthood. Despite going their separate ways, a violent incident brings them together which threatens to leave a trail of blood from New York to Hollywood.

Protagonist Grey, is reacquainted with his foster sister Ellie in unsavoury circumstances when she shows up on his doorstep in New York with a knife stuck in her. The presumed culprit, John Raymond, a Hollywood agent whose clientele lean towards the more risqué and less respectable side of the industry soon becomes the target of a manhunt fuelled by rage and inspired by vengeance.

Accompanying Grey is a noir-inspired dame, Kendra, whose attributes and manipulation ensure a two way arrangement that benefits both parties. Him – working his way into the biz, her – reintroduction into the glamour life she once held prior to addiction.

The lean prose and upside down end had a futile quality to it – not in a derogatory sense, more so in that Grey’s plight was never due to produce a Hollywood ending – a major motion picture ending that is. The downtrodden characters and seedy occupation contribute to a feeling of grey (apt name for a protagonist in this setting), you know its not going to end with roses and sunshine yet you’re hopelessly drawn to the conclusion by virtue of wanting to know what Grey does next.

‘The Last Deep Breath’ is solid enough novella which pays homage to the genre nicely. I would’ve like a little more substance to Grey despite what was alluded to and to have seen more of the mentioned-yet-never-sighted, Pax, the absentee character who influences Grey’s every move in almost God worship-like fashion. This is a quick, one sitting read that’s sure to please.

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