Thursday, 21 August 2014

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

Rocky mountain peaks glowed lonely and austere under the nearly full moon.

So this is what happens when people decide to quit their day jobs to be a writer. Mountains start defying the laws of nature and physics and begin glowing or so it is suggested in this idyllic fade in. What else is wrong with this sentence? Putting adjectives after the noun they modify leads to confusion. There should be commas offsetting the appositive, lonely and austere. It would sound better like this:

The lonely and austere Rocky mountain peaks glowed under a nearly full moon.

Nearly? Why use an adverb to describe the moon as nearly full? It's vague. Nearly means what - 98% full or 80% full or...etc.

The prologue continues with two people on a trail on a mountain and one is forced to dig. We don't know why but we can imagine. Then the prologue shifts to three days earlier at a bar before fast forwarding to now. The plot hinges on characters acting stupid and being melodramatic as they struggle with whether to do the smart thing everyone does in real life or whether they should be stupid like people in the movies and novels because that is the only way to make a story interesting. I guess having stupid characters make the writer's job all that easier, and everyone loves reading about stupid people, right? I suppose this technique has a basis in literary history, since the old fairy tales are cautionary tales warning people that if they act stupid, they will be eaten by the wolf or witch. However, I doubt that is this author's intent - to insert a moral in the prologue.

Chapter 1:

"I'm guessing by your expression that dinner went pretty well after all," Bailey said.

Then we get the Hardy Boys line introducing Baily so we understand who this is, even though we have no idea who she's talking to or about what, besides the fact, that someone at some point before this opening ate something. That's one obvious disadvantage to opening with dialogue.

First thing said:


This lady can write about as well as she can prosecute murderers. But in America today, even people who suck at what they do have the right to unbelievable success. I imagine it's in the constitution.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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