Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Declan Hughes' technique

I posted recently about the slam-bang opening to Declan Hughes' novel The Wrong Kind of Blood. My reading and blogging have been a bit disjointed in recent days, but I've read enough of the Hughes to realize that the man has technique beyond that opening.

One can read the technique as the product of Hughes' efforts to liven up what in less skilled hands might seem shopworn. His protagonist, Ed Loy, is (a) a private investigator who has lost (b) his wife, (c) his job, (d) his child, and (e) his apartment. But we don't find all this out until page 46, during Loy's confrontation with an officious yacht-club steward. The confrontation stirs Loy from a lengthy funk and gets him excited about working again, which is occasion for him to recall the events that put him in the funk, enumerated in the handy list earlier in this paragraph.

Another writer may have given us all this biographical back story at the outset. Hughes gets us into the action and leaves himself the challenge of when and how to present the information later. His solution is not a bad one, and Loy begins to look like an honorable addition to the roster of troubled fictional private investigators, a group about which I've written here and here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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