Daily Archives: July 3, 2013

Right the first time: the importance of a great first chapter

Here’s another great entry from the Kobo Writing Life blog.

Right the first time: the importance of a great first chapter.

Book Review…Joe Lansdale’s Edge of Dark Water

Let’s make one thing clear – I am a Joe Lansdale fan.

I see his name on a book cover and I’m pretty darned sure that I’m looking at the promise of a darned good read.

There have been a couple of disappointments. Let’s face it – all of us writers are nothing more than a pack of really funny-looking apes enthusiastically flinging our poo all over the place – occasionally looking up to see what particular chunk of poo happened to stick where.

Well – this poo stuck.

This poo stuck REALLY GOOD!

Edge of Dark Water is hands-down one of Joe Lansdale’s finest pieces of work. The man is simultaneously channeling Harper Lee and Mark Twain – along with a huge heaping helping of his own particular Lansdale magic.

I’ve seen a few reviewers who have likewise compared Joe’s writing to the work of William Faulkner – but as far as I’m concerned Faulkner is nothing more fudged-up misspelled. Faulkner liked to confuse his readers. He liked to think of himself as artful and moody. Faulkner was one of those monkeys that likes to stand on the edge of the monkey pack and strike a weird mysterious pose and try to keep you guessing as to which direction they are going to fling their next chunk of poo.

That’s right – William Faulkner was one of the world’s first performance artists.

Joe’s writing – especially in this work – is the complete and total antithesis – (you like that word? I spelled it without even having to resort to a dictionary) – of Faulkner. In fact Joe Lansdale is about as anti-Faulkner a storyteller as I can imagine.

You step into this novel like it was a river. Step into it and let the current pull you right straight on through.

Edge of Dark Water is a damn fine yarn – maybe Lansdale’s best novel yet.

Here’s a quote.

“I sat on the shore and looked at May Lynn’s body. It was gathering flies and starting to smell and all I could think of was how she was always clean and pretty, and this wasn’t anything that should have happened to her. It wasn’t like in the books I had read, and the times I had been to the picture show and people died. They always looked pretty much like they were when they were alive, except sleepy. I saw now that’s not how things were. It wasn’t any different for a dead person than a shot-dead squirrel or a hog with a cut throat hanging over the scalding pot.”

How’s that for well-flung poo?

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you want to read EDGE OF DARK WATER – order a copy through your bookstore.

OR – you can buy a copy for your Kobo!

Or you can buy a copy for your Kindle.