Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Deadliest Game by Hal Ross

It was an unusually warm day for April, but the weather did nothing to brighten Khalid Yassin's mood.

Derp. According to the laws of Physics and Mathematics it's only possible to have one opening line per book and this writer uses his on a weather report. It isn't even an example of pathetic fallacy - meaning it's deviceless. A name is mentioned, but what's in a name? A character by any other name is still a stranger. But the scene that's unfolding gains a momentum all its own as this character's motives and anger towards America is revealed and it's this that saves this opening from being an epic fail.

Chapter 1:

In retrospect, Blair Mulligan came to realize he should have tried anything to stop him.

The problem with using pronouns in an opening is made apparent in the next line:

Even put a bullet in his head...

Huh? Whose head? Mulligan should have killed himself? Or some other unknown person? Pronouns make things vague; they make a mediocre sentence suck. So, the short of it is: we must back up with back story to figure out what's going on, where, why and to whom, though the back story is sparse in this beginning, scattered about unobtrusively, which is much appreciated.

First thing said in the first chapter:

"Thanks for seeing me."

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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