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The Dead Letters [Mass Market Paperback]

Tom Piccirilli

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Book Description

15 Dec 2006
Five years ago, Eddie Whitt’s daughter Sarah became the victim of a serial killer known as Killjoy, and Whitt vowed to hunt him down—no matter what the cost. But the police have given up. And Killjoy has stopped killing…and in some bizarre act of repentance has begun kidnapping abused infants and leaving them with the parents of his original victims.

The only clues to Killjoy’s identity lie in a trail of taunting letters. And even as they lead Whitt to a deadly cult—and closer to his prey—he begins to suspect that, like his wife, he’s losing his grip on reality: Sarah’s dollhouse is filled with eerie activity, as if her murder never occurred. As dark forces rise around him, Whitt must choose—between believing that evil can repent…and stepping into a trap set by a killer who may know the only way to save Whitt’s soul.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 363 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books Inc (15 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553384074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553384079
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 10.7 x 17.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,632,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Tom Piccirilli Novel 19 Nov 2006
By T.T. Zuma - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Piccirilli writes dark. His novels are full of dread, sadness, and his characters often have little hope. They are all misfits of some kind and all of them have lost something. It could be their limbs, their lifestyle, their freedom, their sanity, normalcy, or a loved one. In this book it's the loss of a child that haunts the protagonist.

The plot concerns a man who has dedicated his life to finding the serial killer who murdered his daughter, and then other children. The killer smothered his daughter in her bed while she slept with her own pillow. After several more killings, a twist comes into the case. The killer starts kidnapping children from abusive homes and then brings them to the families of the children he killed.

This novel has all of the characteristics you come to expect from a Piccirrilli novel. A main character filled with tremendous loss of some kind, guilt, and a need for closure or acceptance. It has some really strange people in it in the form of a wacky cult who's involved with their own serial killings whose members who are as odd and deadly as they come. The story has supernatural elements with both the wacky cult and the main character himself to keep horror readers adequately enthused. And it has an ending that defines a Piccirrilli novel.

I enjoyed this novel much more than Headstone City. Its plot was straightforward without a lot of sub plots or distractions. Its mood was sullen and depressing giving punch to the chills and very thrilling portions of the story. And the story itself was disturbing enough to make me come back to it in my mind after I finished the last page.

When an author writes a book as great as November Mourns, (or even Choir of Ill Children) there is a tendency to compare all other books he writes after it to that masterpiece. This is unfair to the author (look at King's work after "It") and it's tempting to do so. But I'm gonna do it anyway...this book is not as good as the two mentioned above, but it is certainly a great read and I would place it at number 3 of my all time favorite Piccirilli novels. I would recommend this book to Piccirilli fans and to those who have not read the author before.

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the last novel and November Mourns was fantastic! 19 Nov 2006
By Troy J. Knutson - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tom Piccirilli's novels just get better and better and The Dead Letters is no exception to that theory. HisownPicSelf drew me into the story with his tragic "hero" Eddie Whitt, a man with a dead daughter and an insane self-abusive wife.

Being a father myself with a young daughter, I can relate to the wide range of emotions that Eddie goes thru and that makes this novel real for me.

Great scenes, bizarre characters, superb dialogue and a nice satisfying sad ending, this novel really had me close to tears several times.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy, read it and tell me why I'm wrong.

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardcore literary thriller 5 Dec 2006
By Christine Menendez - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ran into Tom Piccirilli's work several years ago with a little cult

horror gem called "Hexes" and was absolutely amazed at the quality

of the writing. Here was a guy writing literate cult horror. Since

then, I've read pretty much everything he's written and have

watched his stories slowly change from cult horror to taut thrillers.

And his writing just gets better and better...

Tighter than a drum, with sentences as clean as steel, so

beautifully polished they make you want to shout. Or maybe scream. I

was so seriously impressed with Dead Letters that I read it twice.

Well, the first time I just raced through to find out who the bad

guy was and missed a lot. The second time I revelled in the prose itself,

in the characterizations,in the oddities.

I don't want to stretch this review out to thousands of words which

you won't read. You want me to tell you whether or not this book is

worth reading. That is the value of this review, both to Amazon and

to the author. Hell, yeah, it's worth reading. My semi-autistic son

read it in two days and couldn't put it down. The story itself is a

killer. A serial child murderer who turns into a kind of Robin Hood,

stealing children from bad homes and placing them on the doorsteps

of the parents whose children he's killed? How much worse than this

does it get? Our hero in this story is a guy called Eddie Whitt,

who was the first victim of the guy he unknowingly dubbed

"Killjoy". His five year old daughter, Sarah was abducted and

killed, his wife ended up in an institution, biting her hands to

the bone, and Eddie was left with the problem of finding this guy,

this killer. When a baby is left on his doorstep, he gives it back,

getting a message from his wife: what kind of a father are you?

How much more painful than this does it get? Actually, it gets worse.

Whitt is getting cryptic nonsense letters from Killjoy which may or

may not hold clues as to his identity. And, poor Whitt gets involved

in searching for a murdering cult member who just might be Killjoy.

This story is so full

of pain and empathy that you"ll get another one of those lines

between your eyebrows just reading it. It puts you right there, where

poor Whitt is, his child dead, the changling returned, and his wife

biting herself to bloody bits. It is a painful story which gives

the word "catharsis" a whole new meaning. But, I should throw this in,

there is also plenty of comic relief to lighten the incredible tension.

Too many words already. Well, what do you want me to say? Good

book, read it. Yeah, that too. You want a short review. I can't do

it. Piccirilli is a really terrific writer, one of the best writers

in the English language extant, regardless of genre. When you open

page one of one of his books you fall into a landscape from which

you cannot escape until you reach the last page. Nobody writes like

this. Except TomPic.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well plotted out... a mystery until the end. 10 Oct 2006
By E.M.Paper - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Piccirilli really personalizes the psychoses of the players in this novel, spinning even the smallest parts into 3-dimensional characters. Very unpredictable, it kept me guessing until the very end.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Im not exactly sure what to say about this book.... 16 Aug 2008
By M. Biviano - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have tried to read it twice, the first time I got maybe fifty pages in because I had no clue what was going; the only thing I got out of it was that it was a very dark and depressing novel of a serial killer who is taking children and giving them back to the parents of the children he murdered originally. okay. The second time I read it I got about 150 pages in, I had an idea of what was going on now but I still couldn'd get passed the depression and dark atmosphere that Picccirilli created. Im giving this book 4 stars because I think thats exactly what Piccirilli was intending. A very dark, atmospheric and depressing read. It had the same feel as "The Straw Men" by Michael Marshall but that wasn't as nearly dpressing as this. I definitley will read the rest of the book one day but at this point and time im just not ready.
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