Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ice Cold Kill by Dana Haynes

Ray Calabrese looked up from his BlackBerry to see Daria Gibron stride into the Rodeo Drive wine bar in Lycra exercise togs and sneakers, her hair slicked back, sans makeup.

So the prologue begins with the characters showing up at a meeting place, one with a phone and the other without makeup. This is a visual intro, more fitting for a film than for a book. The attempt at figurative language tries to make up for the filmy beginning with:

She poured herself into the opposite chair.

Now, that' more like it; figurative language is what novels are made of; it's not something that would particularly work well in a film. Writers need to remember the medium in which they are expressing themselves and think less about how the book would look as a film. In this case, the opening line reads more like the script of a TV show about to be canceled than a movie though.

The short opening scene is about two people discussing another meeting that didn't happen, dropping the hint that these two are FBI. The prologue then shifts to four hours earlier and Daria from the first scene is being offered work and checks with Ray, the other character from the first scene before accepting. So the opening scene in the wine bar is a prologue to the porlogue. Prologues within prologues is not something I've come across so often and I'm not sure if I should scoff or go, "hmm," and stroke my chin in intellectual delight. In the end, I do neither. This should just begin with the meeting rather than with a meeting about the meeting.

Chapter 1:

Desert, South of the Sea of Galilee

The prisoners lay in their cots.

The cells are then described only to confirm that they are regular cells, so the description wasn't necessary and only serves to defuse my attention span. In the second paragraph we are introduced to some characters playing name that singer or composer or whatever game. This does not hook.

First thing said:

"Hallo, Ray."

Dialogue that does nothing but give us a name is considered incidental on this blog and therefore not effective as it does not move plot forward nor reveal character, and no, a name does not reveal character.

The prologue is not short and switches scenes multiple times with back story and description interspersed. I  lost interest on page 3.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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