Like many families, the Rands have focused on a particular profession, passing their skills and wisdom from generation to generation. Their clan, however, has not focused on medicine, or the law, or the arts. Instead, they’ve chosen to specialize in crime; their family home is a literal den of thieves.
Tom Piccirilli introduces readers to the family via Terrier Rand, who is summoned by his brother Collie (the Rands are all named after various breeds of dogs) to visit him in prison on the eve of his execution. Convicted of killing eight people during a vicious rampage some five years prior, Collie swears to Terry he was only responsible for seven victims. Compelled by deep familial bonds, Terry investigates, hoping it will help him understand his unrepentant brother’s actions. To do so, he must return home, stirring up trouble, and reminding him of failures, his own and those of friends and family. Although it is set in Long Island, Piccirilli’s latest feels like a southern gothic in atmospher. It’s also very much a novel about family, and the connections and alliances that form within one. That it’s a novel about a crime family makes it all the more fascinating, as Piccirilli has clearly given some thought to the dynamics of such group. Is there honor among thieves? Terry Rand likes to think so, but the alarming answers he receives to his questions about the past may cause him to revise his opinion.