Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Criminal by Karin Slaughter

A cinnamon brown Oldsmobile Cutlass crawled up Edgewood Avenue, the windows lowered, the driver hunched down in his seat.

Another novel that begins in a car, using language that makes the car somewhat like a person or bug with the verb crawl. I wonder if writers think that by using words that can have the effect of personifying a vehicle that it makes it all right to begin a book in a car? It doesn't make the car more exciting, and it doesn't invoke any sympathy for the car.

What follows is a man looking for a ten-minute date with a street walker. There are a lot of names in this chapter and it seems to switch scenes without notice and without a break. A lot of names - I stopped counting after ten.

However, what might draw some people into this story are the characters involved in the fascinating occupation of selling themselves on the street and that kind of life - and with all the drippings that are the cliches and stereotyping intact. Honestly, it doesn't feel fresh, to quote agents and editors who are in the mood to reject unpublished authors.

In other words, if you've got a platform, or have been published (especially if you have lots of stock in the remainder bins) or can sell books with your marketing savvy and degree or have had plastic surgery in California, then you may draw deeply from the well of stereotypes and sculpt a cliche a day and publish lots of "books" to pay for all those annoying pool maintenance bills.

If not, then you unpublished writers are out of luck; you'll have to write a masterpiece that's out of this world - something that will make War and Peace look like it was written by a drooling idiot to pay for the ketchup that will go with your Kraft dinner tonight and for the candle you'll need to heat up the leftovers for breakfast.

That's just the way the publishing world works. Trust me, it's fair.

First thing said:

"Just a little bit of time."

With the millions of books out there, time is not something this reader has. Next book.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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