Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Devil in Silver by Victor Lavalle

They brought the big man in on a winter night when the moon looked as hazy as the heart of an ice cube.

The irresistible urge to mention the season and hence allude to the weather makes its appearance in this opening line. In this instance the season and weather are not important in the opening line, at least not for plot and character, but of course the mention of season is vital for the simile's survival - a simile perfectly placed to show us the author's prowess with words.

Despite my scorn, I do like the simile. If nothing else it establishes tone, though the tone changes later. The other problem is the pronoun: they. Is this the proverbial they or will these pronouns be assigned names, some history, and annoying needs?

They continue:

They threw him in their undercover cruiser...
They shouldn't have brought him there.
When they reached the hospital...

They do a lot of other things too. They certainly sound like the proverbial they as they arrest the big man. It's all very ominous and secret sounding, designed to build suspense all for your reading pleasure. Except it doesn't.

First thing they say:

"Now he's scared."

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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