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Setting aside the content, the prose is just unreadable.
on February 17, 2013
I enjoy hardboiled detective stories (mostly the classics), but this book reads like the author doesn't. The sentences are choppy, like the author hadn't read many mysteries but HAD seen some parodies of what detective fiction is "supposed" to sound like. The style is nonexistent. It's just a bunch of sentences and sentence fragments that blur together, because every sentence in a paragraph ends up being about the same length. For example:
"Gabriel waits in her black ‘69 Caprice, parked across the street from the house where Robbie Driessen’s mother lives. Smoking a cigarette without inhaling, because she’s bored and likes the feel of it in her hand. The sky above the tree tops and along the dark wood of the roofs is a thin line of orange, then rose pink, then a shade between lavender and cornflower blue. The air still feels slightly warm, but after nightfall, she’ll need the denim jacket. Her window is rolled down a crack, and occasionally, she blows the smoke outside. She glances at the house, watching until the front door opens and the thick figure of a man emerges. After a moment, she rolls her window down farther with the manual lever and tosses the unfinished cigarette into the street. She starts the engine as the man reaches the sidewalk, the 450-block roaring like a tiger loose in suburbia. "
After that first paragraph, I knew reading much more of Sex Brood was going to be tough for me.
I think Crosswell had good intentions when writing this book, and I hope she isn't discouraged by the response it's received on the internet. She's very young, and perhaps she was a little too eager to release her first book into the world. But I do hope she learns from the experience. When she writes her next book, I hope she researches her subjects more thoroughly, and in the meantime, I hope she reads more widely. If she plans to write more detective fiction, I think she'd do well to try to absorb the style and sense of humor of a story like Hammett's The Thin Man. What she came up with for Sex Brood is stiff and joyless.