Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Ophelia Cut by John Lescroart

Anthony Xavier Ricci never set an alarm clock because he never needed one.

How kind of the author to give the full name of the character, which of course is better than simply using a pronoun, but in point of fact provides no concrete information about the character other than the fact the character is most likely male. Despite my flippancy, a name is a million times better than a pronoun.

Now, despite the fact that there is the bed setting cliche used here (or someone waking up from a nap in this case), it is used in such a way that does manage to reveal a bit of character: that this guy doesn't need an alarm clock and has an internal clock. It could mean many things, like this guy is obsessive-compulsive or was in the army and had the alarm clock drilled into his brain. However, even though there is some data to work with, there really isn't anything yet to get us caring about this Anthony guy.

The next paragraph is descriptive with fragments of a back story dump about Ricci being in the NYPD for X number of years, his apartment that looks like a cellar but is really neat with various things inside it. We even get to learn what kind of stereo and TV he has!

Then we learn why Ricci needed a nap because the previous night he'd been to a cop party until 4 A.M., and of curse Ricci had to get up at dawn to do his seven-mile run before doing his laundry and doing some grocery shopping. So, anyway after napping, Ricci showers and shaves and even weighs himself! All explained in loving detail. He then puts on his Dockers, tennis shoes, a Knicks sweatshirt and hoodie. Then he sits on his bed and looks at some photos which is the writing method for which Terri an ex-girlfriend is introduced...

I don't know what comes next because I got so bored that I needed to take a nap. That's right, I stopped reading. Why would anyone be surprised with stopping? There is no conflict, just boring mundane details in the day in a life of some guy I care nothing about, because on the surface he's like every other human being out there trying to make a positive go of it, you know, keeping fit and clean. Lord, why did I read this?

First thing said:

"Anybody want anything while I'm up?"

My mother used to say that during the TV commercial break. So I like that opening bit of dialogue, even though it doesn't move plot forward or reveal character.

For a thriller which is supposed to have "nail-biting suspense" this opening is anything but.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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