Wednesday, 25 September 2013

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

Two dead men changed the course of my life that fall.

Thus begins a prologue. This line successfully raises a few questions, one being which fall? But as this is a mystery novel, it effectively hooks, introducing a crime and dead bodies right away. For some reason there are many mystery writers reluctant to begin with the crime a.k.a plot of their novel asap.

One of them I knew and the other I'd never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue. 

What follows is a paragraph describing the man the narrator knew.

Paragraph two begins:

Pete Wolinsky was gunned down the night of August 25 on a dark stretch of pavement just off the parking lot at the Santa Teresa Bird Refuge.

Bad news and the beginning of a mystery as we learn about the circumstances concerning the deaths of the two men.

Chapter one:

On my way back into town, I stopped at the car wash.

Chapter one's opening line is lame, but by then the reader should be hooked. This novel gets a pass based on the prologue that for once does something and is not just pretty words to introduce the reader to a university degree or an author's awkward and uncertain stumbling into a beginning with purply prose.

First thing said:
"You know him?"

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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