Sunday, 12 January 2014

Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain

Archie Sheridan had a paper birthday hat on his head and six bullets in his front pocket.

Juxtaposition usually works. Birthday hat and bullets. This raises two obvious questions. The bullets tag along for a while as the narrative moves forward, keeping the reader wondering. I'm thinking this guy is planning to shoot someone or everyone (well, at least six people). Whether I'm right or wrong, this one simple opening line has enough force to pull me through pages, even if nothing is happening, though there is a scene unfolding. The opening line adds tension to the developing scene that is quite pleasurable. Chapter 1 ends with the announcement of a homicide.

I rarely do this - continuing to review into chapter 2 but this continues to hook. First line of chapter 2:

The man lying on the bathroom floor of the Gold Dust Meridian looked to be in his mid-fifties, but it was hard to tell because part of his head had been blown off and was dripping down the wall over the toilet.

So this is a mystery that has a body early - by chapter 2. Chapter 1 is effective even though it does not begin with a body because we are led into thinking something bad might happen, all the while revealing characterization through behavior and dialogue, rather than telling it in verbose back story, which is the hackneyed way. So this chapter 1 is very refreshing, and if this blog is anything to go by, not as common as one might think.

First thing said:

"How was the bridge traffic?"

Doug asks this while still on page 1. It's clever how the author decides to have characters talk about traffic rather than have the story begin in a traffic jam cliché, like many writers seem to be subconsciously itching to do.

Verdict: Cool

Theodore Moracht

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