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"Circling" / Tom Piccirilli

thshroud_final_2a307100652_std.giffrom Shroud Magazine / January 2008
Reviewed by: Anthony J. Rapino

It’s not often one sees the narrative structure of a story conform to its theme, yet this is just what Tom Piccirilli accomplishes in “Circling” from the inaugural issue of Shroud. The themes and ideas Piccirilli presents early in the story resurface throughout, creating a circular story structure. This thematic echo also manifests through the characters’ actions as they circle – both literally and metaphorically - the tracks surrounding the town and their lives. Even the repetition of such lines as “It never ends” reinforces the notion of revolving found in the story.

In “Circling”, Johnny Bent decides to dig up his father’s corpse. It’s Johnny’s hope that DNA testing will offer proof of paternity. But before Johnny can make it to the graveyard, a Mazda filled with three bank robbers pulls up behind his car, and the ensuing altercation is both a unique and surprising turnabout. Johnny also meets Lorelei, his grave robbing partner, during the botched getaway.

Johnny and Lorelei go on to circle the town as they become better acquainted, eventually finding their way to the graveyard. It is there that Lorelei questions her own family tree to surprising response.

While “Circling” presents a fast-paced and interesting story with its fair share of gasp-inducing moments, it also offers multitudinous layers of meaning. Piccirilli is sure to please different types of readers here: those looking for a bit of blood and those looking for a bit of deeper meaning. Read it once for the murder. Read it a second time for the marvel of its well-crafted themes.

Purchase Shroud Magazine featuring Tom Piccirilli's "Circling."

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 at 09:06AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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