Friday, 21 February 2014
Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham
"This is it, Ms, Cafferty," Dr. Vincenzo said quietly.
By the end of the first page we have a woman sitting at her father's deathbed, so technically this one doesn't start in bed, at least not with a character that can talk. Father is in a coma. Or not. Coma Dad jets upright and starts speaking with a Scottish accent about a book and things before collapsing back into the bed. Was it a dream? The doctor seems to think so, as Daddy was not in a coma but dead all along.
Thus a secret and mystery are set into motion. The dead talking Daddy scene is amusing- though I suspect that's not what was intended. The reason it sounds funny is that the reader hasn't been hooked emotionally and has still to buy into the premise so still unattached to the characters, an old man jutting out of bed only reminds me of Groundskeeper Willie.
It was spring in New Orleans, a beautiful April day, and Angus Cafferty had been dead for three months the afternoon Micheal Quinn followed the widow, Gladys Simon, to The Cheshire Cat, an antiques and curio store on Royal Street.
This line has more information than needs to be in a first sentence. Try writing it out and you'll see what I mean. I'd strike out the weather report and the address of the store and rewrite like this:
Angus Cafferty had been dead three months the afternoon Micheal Quinn followed the widow, Gladys Simon, to The Cheshire Cat, an antiques and curio store.
Or in the very least take out either spring or April day. Both aren't necessary. The other info can be slipped in later. Actually, the author reslips most of it in again anyway in the next paragraph, discussing the store, New Orleans and Royal street with some back story.
Verdict: Pass (barely)
Despite the writing there is a story here.