Rest in peace, Tom Piccirilli

May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015

Tom Piccirilli (May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015)

Tom Piccirilli died over the weekend. He was a writer. Dark stuff. Crime and horror, for the most part. I can’t say that I was a Tom Piccirilli expert, but I knew his work. And it was very, very good. Well, he died Saturday after an on-again, off-again fight with brain cancer. And that’s very, very bad.

My first exposure to Piccirilli’s work was reading “Husks and Formless Ruins”. It appears in A FEAST OF FRIGHTS, The Horror Zine’s 2012 anthology. I have a story in there, too, so I was just doing my homework when I first thumbed those pages. I didn’t even realize until I was writing this post that it was first published by BRUTARIAN in 2006. It was new to me in 2012, though. And it was terrific. We also had work collected in QUALIA NOUS and SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS. But his career was so much bigger than that.

His first novel, DARK FATHER (1991), was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award®. He was nominated for a Stoker eleven times, winning four of them. He was nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award four times, winning two. He also was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Not too shabby.

Piccirilli leaves behind an impressive body of work. Having never met him personally, that work is all that I have to know him by. He had been fighting brain cancer for three years, and had a stroke in 2014. But he was bigger than that battle. Bigger than his work. That’s just all I have to know him by, and I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity now.

He is survived by his wife, writer Michelle Scalise, who I similarly only know by reputation. But its a small community, horror writers. This one hurts.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

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