This week’s review comes from contributor Herbert Kessling.
The start of This Little Piggy Belongs to the Devil is very mundane. It begins with plans for a birthday party. The author gathers together friends and family but he never gives the reader time to know them. On page two of the text, a horrific fire claims the lives of twin, eleven year old brothers, the principal character’s only grandchildren. From that point the everyday turns black and unsettling. Told in the first person, the speaker, the novel’s unnamed Grandfather, takes the reader into his own insanity. With painstaking detail, the Grandfather recreates the history of his family and, in doing so, exposes the cracks in his recollections.
Mr. Palazzo employs language in very interesting ways to paint the pictures important to his speaker. He begins with common and familiar memories. Christmas concerts, baseball games and fishing trips, family sing-a-longs, childhood pranks and minor disappointments are juxtaposed with his own unyielding belief that evil forces took the lives of his grandchildren. Nothing is direct or linear in this story. Mr. Palazzo employs fragments and interrupted thoughts to twist the narrative as he advances a broken timeline and leads the readers into a black hole of hate, vengeance and possible retribution. More importantly, he peppers the text with favorite television shows and music both to create a sense of familiarity and to chart a decaying mind. The character describes it as his “journey into mental incontinence.”
Bit by bit, as his mind fails, the Grandfather’s world is consumed with thoughts of revenge. He becomes motivated by anger and a need to turn the clock back to that point when everything was OK. His is haunted by nightmares, bizarre and, at times graphic thoughts of sex, grand revenge fantasies and memories of a perfect life that may or may not have existed. This Little Piggy Belongs to the Devil is a dark and dirty book. It is vulgar and irreverent. It is shocking and disturbing. And, more importantly, it is compelling. Calling it a page turner may be a cliche but it is certainly a stunning book.
This Little Piggy Belongs to the Devil ends as it begins, with a thought and a whisper. It was everything I wanted in a thriller, and I recommend it heartily.
-Review by Herbert Kessling