A Disjointed Opening...

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katie_lew Avatar


Within this First Look, we meet a multitude of characters--our villain, suffering from flashbacks of abusive situations (unclear if he was a victim or perpetrator); a single mom named Isabel, taking up a version of colonial cos-play, and a single dad named Alex, a writer turned detective.

The prose of this story is a bit overwrought--Alex refers to a wide variety of potential illnesses his teen daughter might suffer from by their technical names (torpor-inducting neurasthenic disorders), while Isabel suffers from trichotillomania. There's also an absurd fascination over appearances--Isabel "looks awesome in jeans," while Alex's daughter wears "sprayed-on tight stretched jeans." Meaningless details like a friend named Tinker, husband's name Bell, so people call her Tinker Bell, except her last name is actually Fox riddle the opening. Open contradictions also take place--the murdered body is described within the same sentence as full-grown and young, and we later learn the victim is a teenager (definitely not full-grown). A scene involving a frog climbing out of the body give an unexpected levity--the police officers at the scene have to catch the frog, as it apparently might be evidence? This is obviously written as to be horror--the author describes "hands" reaching out of the body before telling us it's just a frog--but the reveal that the hands could not be mistaken for anything human or supernatural just makes the attempt at shock feel like camp.

All in all, this feels like a book which leans on the literary tropes to keep it from being too "mass-market." A bloated start--one can only hope that it will tighten up as it moves along.