The first chapter of any novel is important, an immediate and important impression is formed regarding the style of the author and the quality of the story you’re about to read. That first chapter of Dead Men by John C Foster amounted to a little over 4 pages and ultimately set the standard for what I was about to read. There were a couple of sentences that had me cringing, and unfortunately that carried through the rest of the story.
“I called some bad men to me and they showed me what to do. Not called on the phone, understand? But called.” The driver made a sound that meant nothing much.
Ok that was the first and the second, just 2 pages later.
But though she had run far and fast, eventually memories pounded up behind her on flat feet and kicked her in the ass.
Now this kind of thing cropped up more than regularly, I highlighted countless examples of writing that had me thinking, seriously, come on. The story promptly faded into the background as I skipped through as quickly as possible, more taken with the shocking idioms and the like, than anything else.
To the story and what I could be bothered to take in, at an old asylum, a priest brings dead men back to life and effectively points them in a direction. John Smith is one of them and some mental fuckery is telling him to kill her and those who hold her, erase her and all her work. That’s his job, there’s a few other characters but it all just faded into nothingness.
Whether it’s a niche market or not, the writing has to have some positive aspect to capture the reader’s attention and sadly this didn’t have anything I could talk about in a beneficial or constructive way.
‘He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the rearview mirror and saw it was smiling.’ Well I’m glad somebody was.
Words by Paul Nelson