Every Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A dark, dark read for our dark times. The narrator of this novella has lost it all, his house, his bank accounts, his wife, and is slowly losing his mind. All he has left is his dog Churchill, whatever possessions he can hock at the local pawnshop and his car. Headed east from Denver to Long Island and his brother's home, what we get is something akin to Travels With Charley in reverse. As he travels the country, stuck in a near biblical flood subsisting on junk food, his mind continues to gnaw at him replaying all of the failures and perceived mistakes he has made from the course of his life. Arriving at his destination, armed with a pistol for some unknown reason he can't quite fathom, he is taken in by both his brother and a psychiatrist friend who both realize how precarious his grip on sanity really is. Spurned by a former girlfriend and enraged by the climactic argument with his brother, he takes to the road once more with his gun, his dog and his rage...
How many times have situations like this played out during our current economic meltdown? While companies like GE are allowed to pay no taxes and automobile companies and banks are continuously bailed out, the small man, like the protagonist of this novel is left to suffer until the inevitable breakdown occurs. This book reminded me greatly of Donald Westlake's classic novel "The Axe" where a similar downturn in fortunes leads to a homicidal rage. While this is not nearly as "fun" as some of Piccrilli's other stories, it may be his most profound, and deserves to be read by anyone in possession of a heart or a soul. Every Shallow Cut - amazon.com
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