This is somewhat irregular, but I’d like to start off this review with a painful confession: I somehow wasn’t familiar with Tom Piccirilli and mistook his new novel What Makes You Die for a debut.
Come back. Stop laughing.
In my defense, so far Piccirilli seems to have written mostly (though not exclusively) in the horror and thriller genres, which aren’t really my bailiwick. The ARC for What Makes You Die came in from Apex Book Company, a relatively small press. It’s a short little book, just 150 pages in my Epub review copy. The blurb somehow yelled “autobiographical first novel” at me. Obviously, I’d somehow never heard of Tom Piccirilli, and of course I assumed that must mean he’s new.
So after about 30 pages, I’m sitting here thinking “whoa, this guy can write,” and I decide to fire up the ole Google. Turns out Tom Piccirilli has written over twenty novels and a gabillion short stories. He won a number of major awards, including the Bram Stoker Award on more than one occasion, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. I was so shocked at my own painful ignorance that I decided the only way to atone for it was to display it in grand fashion at the start of this review.
If everyone’s done laughing, we can now move on to the actual review.