Monday, 25 August 2014

Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner


Rockabye, baby, on a treetop....

This counts as the first sentence or sentence fragment of the book. To some it might seem creepy and acceptable as an opening, perhaps establishing tone or mood. Not me, though. It's just a nursery rhyme I've heard a million times or thereabouts.

The next sentence shows promise, though how it relates to the opening line is a mystery, and therefore raises a question, but not the kind of question that hooks, not a story question, but a what-is-this-author-doing question. It's that kind of question that evaporates a hook.

The body was gone, but not the smell.

A crime scene is revealed, hence a crime is introduced. Unfortunately, it's broken up with more of that annoying nursery rhyme, that makes me roll my eyes and think of old-school 1980's phlegm horror.

Chapter 1:

My older sister discovered my condition when I was three years old.

Preamble that does nothing but promises back story. Pure exposition. The next line is the hook:

Our foster mother walked in on her wielding the scissors, while I stood there, bare arms obediently held out, blood dripping from my wrists onto the olive-green shag carpet.

Then the first thing said:

"Check it out, she doesn't even care."

Dialogue that reveals character and moves plot forward is good writing. Even though this beginning is technically a flashback and not a part of a forward narrative, its gruesomeness and the information provided is of the need-to-know variety. We learn that the narrator does not feel physical pain. Such unusual characters usually make for pleasant reading.

There are questions raised in this opening and the fact it is cliche free (no weather, guns, cars, beds, dreams, etc,)  makes this opening hookable.

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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