Grey, Pax, and Ellie are three people who were once in an abusive foster home together, and because of that experience they consider themselves siblings even though they're not related by blood. Pax makes a career out of the Army. Grey joins the Army, too, but it doesn't work out for him. Ellie, well, she winds up on the worst career path of all, and eventually it lands her at the door of Grey's New York City apartment with a knife in her side after ten years of him not seeing her. He takes care of her, but before he can find out what happened to her, she disappears again, setting him off on a cross-country quest to find her and discover who's responsible for hurting her.
Since I recently picked up several e-books by Tom Piccirilli, I decided it made sense to go ahead and read some of them. THE LAST DEEP BREATH is a noir novella from a couple of years ago, and as usual, it's really, really good. Grey is a compelling protagonist (I'm not sure you could call him a hero, although he does some heroic things), the pace is unrelenting, and the writing is the sort of taut, evocative prose that's perfect for a bleak yarn like this one. I really like the title, too, which just seems to sum up the story's noir sensibilities. Piccirilli adds a little black humor to the mix here and there, too, especially in his portrayal of the movie business when Grey winds up in Hollywood.
As most of you no doubt already know, Tom had cancer surgery not long ago and faces a mountain of medical bills. You can help with that by buying his books and/or donating directly to the fundraiser that's been established for him, which runs through the end of this month. It's an excellent cause, and I can't recommend it highly enough.