Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Man in 3B by Carl Weber

September in New York City

It was one of those muggy Indian summer nights, where Detective Sergeant Dan Thomas of the 113th Precinct in Queens sat at his desk thinking about his latest case.

Weather and a grammatical mixed construction begin this novel. How can it be a night (a time) where someone sits? Think about this:

"Hey, John, where are you?"
"Why, I'm at the afternoon, dummy. Where are you?"
"I'm running late, I'm still sitting at the morning."

What follows is a run-on paragraph about swimming pools, second wives, a crime scene, a burned victim, instincts, neighbors singing "Kumbaya," and a dead messiah.

Chapter 1:

Four months prior

I stepped off the bus and briskly walked the eight blocks home, carrying two heavy shopping bags filled with groceries for my husband's birthday celebration, for which I planned to go all out.

POV switch? Not only does the reader have to get reacquainted with new characters and new problems after the prologue, (although fortunately there is no conflict to begin chapter 1 so not much mental effort or reason is needed to wade through the beginning of it) but also a shift in narrative voice.

Anyway, this begins with the character walking cliché - and don't think I didn't notice the fifth word in the form of a vehicle.

Odd idea:

I couldn't even get my husband, Avery, to look at me in a sexual manner, and the Lord knows I missed his touch.

Right. Figure of speech aside, I actually can imagine the Lord making a note of this with His grease pencil in His peeping tom notebook.

First thing said:


Classic. Dan.

The two purposes of dialogue (especially in the beginning) are either to move the plot forward or to reveal character. This does neither. Dan.

Verdict: Fail


Rudy Globird

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