A big time publicist, who will remain nameless, sent me an advance reading copy of a novel due out this fall. I didn't ask for it, but I like this press rep, and she's been really nice to a small market reviewer like me, so I gave the book a whirl.
Didn't get past the fourth sentence.
See if you can find how many things are wrong with this opening.
It was during the Thompson-Delacroix wedding, Caren's first day on the job, that a cottonmouth, measuring the length of a Cadillac, fell some twenty feet from a live oak on the front lawn, landing like a coil of rope in the lap of the bride's future mother-in-law. It only briefly stopped the ceremony, this being Louisiana and all. Within minutes, an off-duty sheriff's deputy on the groom's side found a 12-gauge in the groundskeeper's shed and shot the thing dead, and after, one of the cater-waiters was kind enough to hose down the grass. The bride and groom moved on to their vows, staying on schedule for a planned kiss at sunset, the mighty Mississippi blowing a breeze through the line of stately, hundred-year-old trees.
Does this book's big name publisher not have a wildlife expert on retainer or at least have the phone number of someone who is familiar with cottonmouth country?
I've lived in the piney woods of East Texas all my life ... in town, mind you, but I can promise (1) that snake would have been long gone, with all the commotion of the wedding preparations and (2) it would have not been the length of a Cadillac. A full-grown viper would be between 30-48 inches, according to several websites I Googled this afternoon. (3) Even if it had been caught sleeping and was cornered up in a live oak, it would not have landed like a "coil of rope" in the mama of the groom's (MOG) lap.
While they coil when threatened, if a cottonmouth lost its grip and went sailing through the air, that sucker woulda been stiff as a rod, prolly crooked only at the neck, mouth wide open and loaded for bear. Nothing worse that a mad cottonmouth (water moccasin). MOG would not have survived the strikes that ticked off animal woulda gotten in before the sheriff's deputy found a 12-guage.
And, (4) for the record, there would have been no "finding" of a weapon in the groundskeeper's shed. The deputy, off duty or not, woulda been packing. He woulda pulled his service revolver and made one clean kill shot through the head, leaving little or no mess.
MOG would prolly still be in bad shape with all those bites and all, but it wouldn't taken "minutes" to stop the attack.
(5) The commotion caused by a mad snake falling from the sky at a fine affair like this woulda sent everyone straight to the bar while the EMTs tended to the victim. No way the bride and groom would have kissed at sunset ... Once the guests had a taste of bourbon and branch, the couple woulda been lucky to get everyone back in their chairs before midnight.
(6) How does a river blow a breeze? Seriously. A breeze might blow over the water, but the river doesn't put its lips together and blow. (Cheesy movie reference, I know, but at least Lauren Bacall made the line work.)
*Stepping down off the soapbox.*
Did I miss anything? Please weigh in ...
|< Prev||Next >|