Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Fade to Black by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus

Any minute now a hooded man will come barreling out of nowhere and kill me.

There is a hook here, at least on the surface. People sometimes think that a person being killed hooks readers. I don't think it does in itself. In real life, we stop and watch and in movies it can be hypnotizing, but it's still fiction we've become desensitized to, but in a book and at the very first line it rarely works for a couple reasons. One: we have no idea who the victim is and have no reason to care. And two: reading about death is not the same thing as seeing it, hearing it and smelling it. However, what sets this opening line of death apart from others is the fact that the narrator is saying it, so this does make it more interesting. Then tone in the next sentence:

So that sucks.

But the third line is where the death of this unknown character takes an interesting turn. 

I know this because it has happened six times before.

Then this loop of a situation is explained. The narrator awakes to find himself in an ally hanging upside down. A guy in a black-hooded robe comes along and kills him and then he wakes up in the ally hanging upside down again. Only this time, the narrator, with some experience, hopes to break the cycle. It is a fast paced narrative guaranteed to keep you turning the pages.

First thing said:


This does not impress me. Imagine meeting a person for the first time and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is cursing. Not a great first impression. In this case, as this is a first-person narrative, swearing isn't really the first impression we get of the character, plus the situation probably warrants some expletives, but so soon betrays a lack of creativity and it is rarely (if ever) paramount to a narrative despite the legion of writers who insist it is. First thing said could be so much more, like moving the plot forward. Of course, dialogue can also be used to reveal character, and some will argue that swearing reveals character, but everyone swears in their lives at some point, so it's hardly something that reveals a uniqueness of character; it rarely establishes identity. Here all it does is reinforce the narrative voice.

Anyway, I have to write something like what's above or this review could have fit into a tweet.

Nevertheless, the reader is thrown into a scene that is bizarre, surreal, and filled with suspense and conflict. It would be impossible to put this down after reading only a couple of pages.

Verdict: Cool

Theodore Moracht

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