In his latest gripping crime novel—the first in a series—Tom Piccirilli introduces the Rands, a family of small-time thieves and card sharps who frequently run up against the law but are seldom prosecuted . . . and who seldom resort to violence. Until five years before the novel opens, that is, when Collie Rand (family members are named after dog breeds) goes on a bizarre rampage one evening and murders eight people, including a family of five vacationing in a mobile home, a gas station attendant and an elderly woman.

Since then, Collie’s brother Terry (short for Terrier) has gone straight—moving out West, working on a ranch, and trying to deal with the shame, guilt and rage that still haunt him daily. But just days before Collie’s scheduled execution, the family summons Terry home, telling him that the brother with whom he has had no contact since that horrific night wants to see him.

Collie wants Terry to help prove that Collie is innocent of the last of the murders for which he was found guilty—the strangulation of a young woman in a park. Not only does he want to be absolved of that one crime, he also worries that the real murderer may still be at large.

Piccirilli has won two International Thriller Writers Awards and been nominated for the Edgar Award, considered the most prestigious award in the mystery genre. With The Last Kind Words, he deftly blends the mystery element of a possible serial murderer with the relationships within this unique family, where criminal dexterity is passed on from one generation to the next like athletic prowess or a talent for music. Each worries that any one of them could suddenly be overwhelmed by “the underneath,” as Collie was that one unfathomable night. Full of atmosphere and featuring a fascinating cast, this is a true find for lovers of literary mystery.

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