Thursday, 19 December 2013

Shoot the Woman First by Wallace Stroby

Four hours after she got off the plane in Detroit, Crissa was parked on a downtown street, watching a rust-eaten Subaru with half a million dollars in the trunk.

Even though this begins in a car which is old and moldy way of opening a story, at least there's more than someone sitting in a car pondering life in a traffic jam. We have a name and a location and what the character is doing, watching another car with a ton of money in it. So this line does manage to introduce a situation and set a story in motion.

First thing said:

"You sure that's it?"

This is the second paragraph. So we have dialogue early, which is nice. The person asks if they are watching the right car. If they're not, this beginning will crash and burn. It's kind of a stupid question. Another person answers:

"That's it."

Making the first conversation in this novel superfluous - that is, providing nothing to move the plot forward or reveal character. It's just two people blabbering, presumably in love with the sound of their own voices. The only thing this dialogue might do is illustrate how one character may not trust another. But that doesn't interest much, as we don't know the relationship between the two speakers.

This gets a 2.5 star pass based on the opening line and the questions it raises: Whose money is in the trunk, and what's it doing there?

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Theodore Moracht

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