Sunday, November 11, 2018

700 Pages

A long time ago, a professor in a creative writing program imparted those great words of wisdom: “If you wanna be a writer, you gotta be a reader” or words to that effect.

As an avid reader going back to my youth, that part has never been a problem. On average, I read a book a week.  While my preference leans toward mysteries and thrillers, there are times when a good horror novel beckons me.  

Last week was the perfect example. While perusing the aisles of my local library, I stumbled upon a copy of “Sleeping Beauties” the collaboration by Stephen King and Owen King.  I read the cover flap. That was enough to hook me on the story. Out of curiosity, I flipped to the back, just to see the number of pages in this hefty tome. 700. 

Many novels run around 300 pages (including my own). So part of me expected to spend two weeks with the Kings. But the story kept drawing me in, ‘Just a few more pages’ I kept telling myself late in the evening as another hour ticked by.  Bottom line:  One week to the day from beginning to end and it was finished. 

I must admit that Stephen King has done this to me before, going back to “The Stand”, where the epic battle between good and evil among the survivors of the super-flu kept me reading all night long.

Authors love to hook the readers and have them get swept away in their stories. I’ve had a few comments along those lines over the years. That’s always nice to hear and it keeps me going. That’s my plan, to keep you engaged and asking for more. And if you get hooked in one book, chances are you’ll pick up another. I don't know if I'll ever write a novel that runs 700 pages. Guess it just depends on where the story takes me.

Here’s a little bit from “Why 319?” that has garnered some great reactions.  In this scene, Chene, Megan and the rest of the detective squad are going to interview a suspect in the serial killings and search his home, where the reception is not what they expected.


        It was reflex, plain and simple.

My mind must have registered the movement an instant before the window disintegrated. I don’t remember doing it, but I wrapped an arm around Megan’s waist and dove to the left, pulling her off the stoop. My shoulders hit the driveway. Her head snapped back, catching me on the chin. The back of my head kissed the pavement, and I saw stars. She slid off me and banged her head on the driveway. 

She rolled left, aiming her weapon and rising to her feet in one smooth motion. Movement in the street caught my attention. One of the troopers who had been on the surveillance assignment had moved to the sidewalk, directly in front of the picture window to back us up. I saw his legs go out from under him, and he clutched at his thigh. His partner rushed over, used a parked car as a shield, and dragged him back. In the distance, I could hear sirens. Somebody must have called it in. This whole thing made no sense. We had a warrant to search the place, and we were going to bring him in for questioning. What triggered this attack? I swung my gaze back from the street.

“What the fuck?” Megan’s face was filled with rage.

Before I could respond, we heard gunfire coming from the rear of the house. Myers must have company, or he’d been waiting for us.

“Front door?” Megan hooked a thumb at the stoop.

“Damn right.”

Lots of classic rock on the air this week.  Here's one of my favorites from Bob Seger.

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