Monday 12 September 2022



From four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award, and finalist for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award Tom Piccirilli comes an intense and visceral psychological thriller novella, the first title in the Black Labyrinth imprint. 

In the labyrinthian maze of endless corridors, annexes, and wings of the enormous medical complex known as the Castle prowls a grief-stricken man determined to redeem himself and bring justice for those victims incapable of doing it for themselves. 

During the four months that his son lay dying, ex-con Kasteel lost his job, his wife, and nearly his mind. He became a fixture at the Castle, a phantom prowling the halls in the deep night, a shadow of his former self until he faded from sight and was forgotten altogether. 

Now, without any life to return to, he takes it upon himself to become the Castle's guardian. He lives off the grid hiding among the hundreds of miles of twisting passages, rooms, offices, and underground parking structures. Despair, confusion, and terror are the natural state and trade of any hospital: Not only must the patients endure disease and infirmity, but others are victims of physical and sexual abuse from the outside world or from cruel security guards. 

The Castle was originally a colonial Dutch settlement: a village that grew into a town that grew into a city and at last became a hospital. Kasteel has lost his very identity to this place, taking for himself the original Dutch name for "Castle". Kasteel sleeps in empty operating theaters, sneaks food from the cafeteria, hacks into computers, and is privy to both staff and patient files. Using his skills as a burglar, he tracks down the attackers, the deceivers, and the killers. 

Another Tom Piccirilli novella from Crossroad Press on Audible and it's another one that I enjoyed without being stunned or amazed by it.

Moody, atmospheric, a little bit puzzling insofar as were all the people we encountered during Kasteel's time loitering in the hospital real or imagined? Dead, alive, ghosts? Kasteel has suffered a terrible loss, the death of his son and is eaten up by grief and anger. He spends his time trying to help others, a worthy endeavour, but it is his wife who needs him the most.

I liked it, more than some of his other stuff, and also less than some of his other stuff. Plenty more from the late Tom Piccirilli on the pile.

3 stars from 5   

Previous encounters....

All You Despise The Night Class You'd Better Watch Out Cast in Dark Waters (with Ed Gorman) 
Loss The Last Deep Breath  - The Nobody Sorrow's Crown The Dead Past 

Read - (listened to) July, 2022 

Published - 2012

Page count - 92 (2 hrs 53 mins)

Source - Audible purchase

Format - Audible 


  1. It does sound very moody and atmospheric, Col. That's an interesting question, too, of whether the characters are real or not. Hmm...I think I'd have to really be in the mood to try something like this, if I'm being honest. But I'm glad you liked it well enough.

    1. Margot, not one I regret reading/listening to even if it didn't exactly rock my world.