Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Dust by Patricia Cornwell

The clangor of the phone violates the relentless roll of rain beating the roof like drumsticks.

I love this! I mean, come on, how does a phone violate the rain? I can just picture the rain sitting on the shrink's couch, in tears as he/she/it/whatever tells the whole sordid story. Or to be more precise: How does clangor violate roll? That's right, clangor is the subject of the verb violate and roll is the object of the verb violate. So the roll should be seeing the shrink for unspecified violations.

Plus, rain beating the roof like drumsticks is an unfinished simile. Drumsticks by themselves beat nothing, not unless they are in the hands of a drummer. So is the rain beating the roof, say Lars Ulrich style, or perhaps, Stevie Alder style, or like the little drummer boy? What's the rhythm? Or does this mean the rain is beating the roof as if the rain were using drumsticks? Or is the rain supposed to be like drumsticks falling on the roof? Does that mean it's raining drumsticks? And so I (quite unintentionally mind you) start thinking of chicken legs, and viola - it's raining chicken drumsticks. What fun!

 I sit straight up in bed, my heart leaping in my chest like a startled squirrel as I glance at the illuminated display to see who it is.

I can wrap my noggin around the image of a heart that leapt but of a heart leaping (present participle form of the verb at first suggests an action occurring over again - and like a squirrel to boot) requires some mental posturing. I've personally never seen a squirrel leaping when startled, which means jumping a long way. Cats I've seen though, but they're leaping up, rather than just leaping. To be fair, it would make sense to say, figuratively speaking mind you, my heart leapt out of my chest like a startled squirrel; however, a heart leaping in a chest like a startled squirrel merely sounds part demonic and part having the shakes from a chemical dependency withdrawal. So the impression my cluttered, wandering mind is conjuring up is that the heart is possessed by an evil junkie squirrel spirit freaking out in a rehab center.

Actually, present participle form of the verb can also mean that that verb is occurring at the same time as another verb in the past participle form, so this sentence isn't technically wrong, just lacking clarity. It's still entertaining, though for the wrong reasons.

Oh, my leaping heart - you leaping squirrel.

Random horrible sentence:

I almost can’t believe it.

Which almost means the person almost can believe it? Do I almost understand this sentence or should I almost read it again?

First thing said:

"What's up?"

I'd have given this a 1-star epic fail if it hadn't almost been so much fun to review. I'm definitely almost going to grab more books by this author.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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