Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn

"Heard you drove another one off a cliff."

Which is wrong; the car was blown up, as we learn on the next page. The next sentences are as follows:

He spat a thin brown stream of chewing tobacco into an empty paint can, or maybe not that empty. Yellow paint, the yellow of egg yolks, now with a brown swirl in the middle: there's all kinds of beauty in life.

A weird image and rather gross, followed by a strange conclusion on the reasoning of life. Brown spit in a yellow paint can is not where I'd go looking for beauty. A person would have to be on some pretty powerful meds to go along with that one. Christopher would have freaked out reading this. Nevertheless, tone is established, though off the top of my head, it sounds like the beginning of a macho western, which, if the cover and blurb are any indication, is as it should be.

This gets 2.5 stars for the opening line and paragraph that establishes tone and  mood. It does attract attention, but the opening line is not an honest hook as it ends up being just two people gabbing on about false rumor. In other words the hook is in the telling of what the story is not. It's all set up, and I don't like being set up.

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Theodore Moracht

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