Top positive review
Fasten your seat belts!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 26, 2009
Several years ago, a friend recommended Tom Piccirilli to me, and I purchased a couple of his horror novels in paperback. The books then proceeded to sit on my shelf for over two years before I finally gave them to another friend, having never read them. I never gave the author another thought. A few months ago, Duane Swierczynski (author of The Wheelman) recommended a number of writers and book titles to his blog readers. One book that caught my attention was The Cold Spot by Tom Piccirilli, but this wasn't a horror novel. No, this was a noir novel about a young wheelman who worked with his grandfather's crew, pulling heists and bank jobs, and how he attempts to break away from the man he fears the most and to start his own life, only to have to ask his grandfather (a stone-cold killer) for help a few years later in finding the man who murdered his wife. This sounded interesting! Also, the sequel to it, The Coldest Mile, was due out, so I took a chance and ordered both of them at the same time. These two books arrived in the mail a week later and then sat on my shelf for two months while I worked my way through a number of other titles. Finally, I picked up The Cold Spot and read it in an amazing two days, which is fast for me. My eyes were crossed after I finished it. That alone says how much I enjoyed the novel. I then placed an immediate order for more of Piccirilli's books, including some of those horror novels that I never read. Let me just say from the outset that this is a damn good writer of crime fiction and I now considered myself a die-hard fan of his work!
The Cold Spot is the story of Michael Chase (a.k.a. Chase), whose pregnant mother was murdered when he was ten years old and whose father later committed suicide from the grief of the tragedy. Chase in then taken in by his grandfather, Jonah, who is a career criminal and a stone cold killer who feels nothing for his victims. Over the next six years, Jonah teaches Chase everything he knows about bank heists, robberies, the con, how to kill, and how to be the best wheelman in the country. The whole relationship between Chase and his grandfather comes to head after a successful heist. During the getaway, one of the members of the crew plays a silly joke with a fish from the nearby market, and Jonah later kills him for it. When Chase confronts his grandfather about the murder of his only friend, he can see a cold look in Jonah's eyes that warn him to back off or he'd be next in line for a bullet. That's when Chase ends his relationship with Jonah and the crew. He then heads down south to start a new life and eventually meets Lila, a deputy sheriff in a small Mississippi town. It's love at first sight for both of them. Chase straightens up his life and marries Lila and has several happy years, until the day she's killed, trying to stop a crew from robbing a diamond merchant. It's then that Chase realizes that if he wants to track down the killers and get some revenge, he's going to have to find Jonah and ask for his help.
Tom Piccirilli has created two fantastic characters in Chase and Jonah. I kept seeing a young Brad Pitt as Chase and R. Lee Emery (the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket) as Jonah. These are two tough men who will eventually have to face off against each other, and only one of them will walk away. Until that moment arrives, the reader is in for a thrill-ride into the dark and shadowy world of grifters and con artists and bank robbers and the world's greatest wheelman. Chase is a character you immediately root for. Though he's done bad things, he's not a bad person. He basically only fights to protect himself and his family, but God help the person who does him wrong. He'll stop at nothing to get revenge, even if it means his own death. That's a trait he got from his grandfather. And. Lila, the woman who steals Chase's heart--well, think of Sandra Bullock. Because that who Lila reminded me of and what man wouldn't lose his heart to a lady like her and then go on a killing rampage to avenge her death.
The writing in The Cold Spot is tight and fast-paced, while the action and violence hits you squarely in the chest like a .44 magnum bullet. If you enjoy noir crime novels, then this will be a book you won't be able to put down. Even better, when you do reach the last page, there's the knowledge that The Coldest Mile picks up exactly where The Cold Spot ends. God bless Mr. Piccirilli for that. Now, if he will just write more books with Chase in them, he'll have a new following of fans to praise his name and to bow down before him in homage to his magnificent writing skills. Needless to say, this novel is highly recommended to crime fiction buffs that need a shot of adrenaline to give them that fast rush of excitement.