Sunday, 15 December 2013

Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen

They came into the bank around one-thirty, a man and a woman.

This is not gripping. Hell, this is not even mildly interesting. A mute burping would attract more attention. Two people walk into a sounds like the beginning of a joke written by someone staring at the wall, bored out of his skull after just getting stood up. This line does not hook and never will.

Next sentence:

Both of them wore ski masks, and both carried guns.

This is better because it suggests a problem - ski masks and guns don't mix. In Toronto the police can shoot you for much less. However, why this couldn't be incorporated into the first sentence like: A man and a woman came into the bank wearing ski masks and carrying guns. The time is not important yet, if it will ever be. Also, notice the lack of pronouns in this revision. It still sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but this revised first sentence would at least get to the point, instead of pointing to the point. After all, it's the first sentence of a novel. It should be special, more so than:

They came into the bank around one-thirty, a man and a woman.

First thing said:

"On the ground."

Followed by:

"Don't be a hero."

I roll my eyes. Where did these characters learn English, watching Ed Wood films? The dialogue that follows is of the same caliber.

"Tomorrow, babe. Promise."
"Thirty grand."
"Rock and roll."
"That was awesome."

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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