Monday, 14 April 2014

Murder, She Barked by Krista Davis

It hadn't been the best day.

In general, I like a mindless read and cozy mysteries with all their various themes and premises can fit the bill, but I don't like preamble, which is what this line is. Some will argue that this line represents foreshadowing, but foreshadowing requires some skill and is an art, hinting at some specific conflict to come. This line does not do that; it merely tells us that a story is coming - that there is conflict. Since I'm holding a book in my hand, I can infer that without needing to be told.

Next line:

And now rain fell so hard on the windshield that the wipers whisked back and forth in overtime.

Double cliche: weather opening and car opening. The conflict revolves around rain and little gas in the tank. And starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction is annoying. And I hate when writers do this. And I will say no more about it.

For some reason, most cozies start this way, about the weather, idyllic or otherwise, and about someone going somewhere, usually to the cliched idyllic setting. The focus in the immediate opening seems to be on setting, rather than on character and conflict. In this case, the setting revolves around a hotel where people can vacation with their dog, and readers may assume that dogs play a role in the detecting.

And the first thing said:

"Been in there two months."

In general, the hook for these books is the premise, which one should read on the back before opening the book, as well as the cover and the punned titles, which I could do without, but must admit they are clever in most cases. In other words, the hook is not in the story beginning itself.

I've been coerced into reading large chunks of cozies; coerced by pretty covers and promising blurbs many a time, before wising up and chucking them. This genre can be so tedious at times (with all the social interaction that is either plotless or fattening up subplots that may or may not tie in to the main story arch) that I don't even care who the killer is or how the story ends.

I guess what I'm saying is that these novels feel like they're padded to attain a desired word count. Murder, She Barked may be an exception but after page 1, I've lost interest in being proved wrong.

Verdict: Boring Fail

Theodore Moracht

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