Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Death Relic by Chris Kuzneski

The phone rang in the dead of the night.

Fearing perhaps the reader isn't paying attention by this point the writer adds the next sentence for our further understanding pleasure:

One ring, then a second.

A mysterious or otherwise phone ringing does not hook. Some writers might argue that readers will be intrigued and even frantic to find out who is calling the usually nameless opening sentence character, but they are wrong. Granted, it does raise a question but an uninteresting one of this sort: Is this elevator going up or down?

 Next sentence:

He sat up in bed and turned on the light.

Great, Mr. Pronoun in a bed setting. Of course, since this book begins with a phone call in the night, the overdone cliche wouldn't be complete without Mr. Pronoun looking over at a clock in a befuddled state, as if waking up in a fog is an intense plot point.

It rang a third time as he rubbed his eyes and focused on the clock. 
It was 2:43 A.M.

It was 2:43 A.M., gets its own paragraph because, one assumes, it's an intense time of night and deserves to be offset with its own paragraph to give it the attention such a moment demands. Unfortunately, almost all phone calls in the night happen around 3 A.M., so no surprise there.

First thing said:


And so begins another child kidnapping plot. It seems like every second book I pick up these days has this for a premise or starting point. What's up with this? Do writers really think it is a sure-fire way of hooking a reader after being done a million times? Are parents the target audience?

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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