Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Intercept by Dick Wolf

Bassam Shah had driven through a day and two nights from Denver, stopping only for gas, eating fried pies, drinking red bull, and urinating into a plastic milk jug between gas station fill-ups.

The writer's brain must have stepped out for fresh air when this opening line was written. Let's use ours to see what this sentence means. The character stops only to fill up gas, but doesn't stop to urinate? So the image I have is that the guy is peeing into a bottle while behind the wheel and driving.Giggle-giggle. LOL-LOL-LOL. That's like a Peter Griffin or Homer moment. Imagine what he must look like, one eye on the road and one eye on the one-eye crybaby and all without any spillage? The only question this raises is why the guy can't stop to take a leak? Is he scared to leave a DNA trail? Is someone following him with dogs that can sniff him out, or is he a conscientious citizen unwilling to contaminate the side of a highway?

Then there is the car opening cliche to contend with. A character driving to the plot of the novel, instead of being introduced with the problem - that is, why he is driving and peeing at the same time and what is so urgent to drive a man to such lengths. On the plus side, this line does contain some foreshadowing.

First thing said:

"Where are you going?"

Has Bassam been stopped by the police for peeing and driving? Read on to find out.

Verdict: Fail

I was tempted to rate this higher for the laughable peeing and driving scenario, but I don't think that was the writer's intention: to make me laugh; so this gets the standard 2-star car fail for deploying a cliche.

And with a name like Dick Wolf, I was tempted to add the byline hook label, but then I thought: That would just be mean.

Rudy Globird

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