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Inexplicably pleasant, not demanding, a kind of relaxation in the redundancy of the unhurried, drawn-out style. Possibly related to my sprained ankle; I settled down on the couch with the foot put up, was cared for. Part of the pleasure was certainly my looking out for sentences I might use, marking them with a yellow marker.
The book is bound in black cloth. Signed by the author (I can only guess what distribution process this hints at). I abhor the jacket (especially the fact that the spine, with its red gradient-filled letters on leather-textured dark brown, is hard to read) but I like the thick yellowish paper once the book is open. The text runs a bit wide with narrow margins (I reckon it has on average about 14 words per line) but the print isn’t too small.
- Linear, split, running parallel. 3rd person birds-eye account
- Initiial event (kidnapping of pregnant woman by deranged man)
- Question: Will the police / family find her before it is too late?
- Happy ending: victim freed, killer gets what he deserves (mauled by German shepherd, he bleeds to death)
- Everything as can be expected: people have a default life & character
- Good people and bad people
- The good: protagonists suffering the crime are honest, trusting, caring (they do voluntary work in a shelter, a hospital), reasonably well-off (they drive a Jaguar), animal lovers (German shepherds), good-looking and trim (regular exercise), family-minded (they care for in-laws,woman expects a baby); muted position of power (successful business, father is former congress man using old network), no negative traits whatsoever. The one unpleasant hint is that they are in no hurry to safe the life of the bleeding killer at the end of the book:
“Guess we just couldn’t get him to a hospital in time. Guy bled to death.” (22-241-28)
- The other group of good people: The police force, especially main protagonist, homicide detective Lieutenant Jack Petersen, are mainly described as impeccably executing their respective functions
- The bad people have had a hard childhood (alcoholism, beatings, incarceration); use foul language; are somewhat unreliable and prone to give in to impulses, are cunning (Kurt kills mother, then ‘beats the system’, becomes a nurse); cold-blooded, devoid of emotion
Tropes and events
- Trope: The kidnapper, Kurt, repeatedly ‘smiles softly’.
- Trope: Eric’s ‘parents have died early in terrible accident’
- Trope: Description of glorious autumn leaves
- Event: Kidnapper lifts one end of the bed on which his victim lies bound, then lets it drop
- 264 pages with many relatively short chapters (64) which means an average of only 3,8 pages per chapter. Centered numbers in large print are used as chapter headings
Style and language
- Quite a bit of redundancy in descriptions, leaves little to imagination
- Few unexpected turns, no play with readers’ anticipation
- Descriptions drawn out (the car chase preceding the kidnapping)
- Language is plain, factual, at times a bit awkward (grammar, punctuation).
What reviewers said
- Michael Crawley writes that David Wickes’s Killing Time is “plotted with the precision of a Remington bolt-action, [and] written in prose that sings like a Samurai sword drawn from its scabbard.” (goodreports,net – Puffy awards)
- “A flat out thriller. Couldn’t put it down.” – Mario Antico – President – Marilu’s (amazon.com)
- “Great suspsense. Don’t take this to bed if you have to get up early in the morning.” – Daniel Alfredsson – Captain, Ottawa Senators, NHL (amazon.com)
- “Killing Time. The debut novel of a major new talent in crime fiction. This reviewer looks forward to Wickes’ next.” – Michael Crawley – Author/critic (amazon.com)