Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton

The main piece of the body lay on the ground, on its back in the middle of a smooth grassy field.

The key phrase here being: the main piece of the body. As always, it is much appreciated when a mystery begins right away with a body. This might just get a three-star pass, oh wait...unfortunately, the second sentence turns me off.

In the predawn gloom everything looked gray, but there were scoffed and paler places around the field; I think we were in standing in the middle of a softball field.

A typo or misprint in the second sentence of your book does not bode well: ...we were in standing in the middle of a softball field.

But it could be worse: It could be in the first sentence.

The other thing is that in the first sentence we are told the setting is a smooth grassy field and in the second sentence we are told it is a scoffed softball field. I know I'm reaching a little for a complaint, but sending the reader slightly mixed images from sentence to sentence makes me wonder how the rest of this book is written. A mystery novel needs more than a gruesome murder to entertain me and compete in the market. Precise imagery is vital, or how am I expected to solve the crime before the fictional detective, which gives me that sense of intellectual superiority I so desperately crave?

First thing said:

"Is this the body lying on its back, or its ass?"

God, I hope that's not how US Marshall's really talk when investigating a crime scene. How vulgar, how disrespectful. Is this the world we live in today? Or is it the author trying to solicit emotion from the reader - namely annoyance?

Then another detective asks, "Does it matter?"

And the response: "I guess not."

These don't sound like very good detectives to me.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht


Twitter conversation with Laurell K. Hamilton:

She never responded to my tweet (Maybe she is consulting a lawyer?). Basically in her tweet she is saying that professional detectives in America like FBI, etc., when investigating a murder or violent death, make crude remarks about the corpse of a body like,  "Is that the ass?"  and then say they don't care if it is, which in my view doesn't indicate a very accurate investigation. If she says that her dialogue is based on research, then she should be prepared to cite her sources. If this is pure fiction of the author's imagination, that's fine, but then my original statement stands, that these are stupid and unprofessional detectives and who wants to read about stupid characters? Stupid people?

And even though she may be happy with her imagery, there are readers that are not, but perhaps that is not important for her: that people don't understand what she means, as long as she understands what she means.

Oh, and children, let this be a lesson: just because a person writes a book, does not mean that that person is intelligent. And just because millions of other people, intelligent or otherwise, buy said book - it still does not mean the author is intelligent.

I must admit that after this brief exchange, this writer has pissed me off, and I have now added her books to my collection of horribly written books bookshelf - placed honorably and with reverence next to Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, V.C. Andrews and Harry Stephen Keeler to name only 0.1% of the legions of meh writers. Nevertheless, I cannot give the opening of Hit List a 1-star epic fail because the first sentence is still effective. Damn.

No comments:

Post a Comment