Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bad Blood by Dana Stabenow

Two villages, where two rivers meet.

This is a sentence fragment that would look much better as a header or title to the prologue than an opening line. The fact that it's about geology makes it worse. All of page one is about the geological formations and the history of the setting - that is to say - it is not gripping. The only question this raises: Where's the bad blood?

This prologue begins with the word "One" which I thought meant that the prologue had a couple of chapters of its own, but it turns out that there is only one chapter to the prologue so I'm confused as it why it was necessary to say one when there is only one.

Then we come to Act 1 and chapter two. So this means that chapter 1 is the prologue and chapter 2 is chapter 1 of Act 1.

Chapter 1:

Tuesday July 10

Tyler Mack was an eighteen-year-old stick of postadolescent dynamite just waiting for the right match.

This sounds like Jessica Fletcher (who doesn't actually exist) meets Raymond Chandler. I laughed reading this, the postadolescent dynamite reference is funny, hyperbole has a way of doing that. The narrative goes on to say he is smart in all the wrong ways and describes him, accusing him of being mostly muscle and bone, as opposed to the American standard of being, what, mostly fat and bone? The slang used in the narrative is weird. For example:

...dark hair flopped in dark brown eyes...

He was a shirttail relative of Auntie Edna...which made the entire Shugak clan part of his extended family in Byzantine ways known only to its elders.

...quick to grab him up by the ears...

Overall, the narrative reads like its parodying the mystery genre. Some sentences look like they've been thrown together into a blender, I mean, word processor.

Uncle Pat's outboard was so finely tuned and so diligently maintained that its muted purr was barely audible above the rush of water beneath the skiff's hull. Eagles chittered from the treetops.

First thing said:

"Goddamn good-for-nothing little..."

Verdict: Fail

Looks like we have a new inductee to the Horrible Writer's Club. The sentence structure and paragraph structure is so unnatural that it feels like I'm reading grade 7 homework written by a student pulling an all-nighter, desperate for that B-.

Rudy Globird

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