Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Death Trade by Jack Higgins

The man who called himself Ali LeBlanc surfaced from a deep sleep to cries of anguish, screams, gunfire, exploding grenades, and the roaring of many engines.

It is a sad commentary on the human psyche in this period of time that violence should hook people into reading books, or, in the very least, that writers think it will. It's cliche, kitsch really, and so not very creative. Added to this beginning is a character waking up in bed to what seems like the ultimate alarm clock therefore we have a nicely little packaged cliche beginning.

This line introduces some standard conflict in a foreign locale, unless this is set in Detroit. Fortunately, we learn in paragraph 2 - designated the back story paragraph - that it's actually Baghdad. It's not so good to have back story so soon, but in this case it is brief and some of the info is important, though perhaps not all necessary on page 1. The third paragraph is the paint me a picture of what this guy looks like paragraph.

First thing said:

"Stay back from sight. It's a butcher's shop out there."

For some reason comparing a battle scene to a butcher's shop is lowbrow, tasteless and overdone.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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