The Shock Of Night – by Patrick Carr – CSFF Blog Tour Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of the CSFF Blog Tour covering the newest novel—THE SHOCK OF NIGHT—by award winning author Patrick W. Carr.

Today I want to review the first page of the opening chapter (not the prologue) of the novel. My opinion is that this portion of writing absolutely must grab the reader. So theoretically, this should be some of the best writing in the novel.

Let’s see how it stands up:

The pounding on my door pulled me from slumber, and I drifted toward waking, my mind a piece of sodden wood floating toward the surface of a lake. I had one hand on the door latch and the other clutching a dagger behind my back before I managed to get both eyes open. Through the peephole I saw a guard—one of the king’s by his dress—standing next to Gareth, a night constable. I snuck a glance out the window of the apartment the king provided me as a lord of his employ. The glass wasn’t of sufficient quality to offer me anything more than an impression of what lay beyond, but I could tell the sun wasn’t up yet.

The remnants of some dream I didn’t want to remember cracked my voice as I opened the door. “What?”

The guard gave me an almost imperceptible bob of his head. My title was the least in Laidir’s court. “You’re needed, Lord Dura.”

I tried to keep my temper in check. My unique position in service to the king seemed to require the same hours as a midwife’s. “What about Jeb?” I asked, mentioning the chief reeve, the one who should have been awakened instead of me.

Gareth shook his head. “We thought we should wake you first. There’s been a killing in the lower merchants’ quarter.”

A thread of panic shot through my chest, filling my heart with ice, but I kept my gaze on Gareth with an effort. What had I dreamed? I kept my voice steady and played the part of the interrupted sleeper as best I could. “So? What’s so dire about some fool shopkeeper who can’t keep his money safeguarded?”

Gareth’s plain soldier’s face lost what little expression it held. “It’s a churchman.”

I stifled my next comment and turned back into the apartment to get dressed. It took me a moment to realize I already was. Only my cloak and boots were missing. Another surge of panic brought me to full wakefulness, and I moved quickly to prevent the guards from entering at my delay. I lit a candle and spotted my cloak lying across a chair on the far side of the room. I crossed over and lifted it.

An oath crossed my lips before I could prevent it at seeing spots of blood on the hem. I rolled it into a bundle and shoved it beneath the armoire before retrieving another and picking up my weapon. All of the city’s reeves wore a sword, but most of them didn’t expect trouble. Except me. I attracted it the way a lodestone drew iron. I moved to a small stand and tucked a pair of daggers into leather pouches stitched into the back of my belt and slid another into the inside of my right boot. Then I tried to reconcile myself to being awake before dawn.

First, let’s look at the opening paragraph. My only gripe with it is that it begins with what in writing terms is a cliche—the main character waking up. Yet even so, Patrick still catches my attention because of his creative writing (“my mind a piece of sodden wood floating toward the surface of a lake”) and his use of the unexpected (“I had one hand on the door latch and the other clutching a dagger behind my back before I managed to get both eyes open”).

After that we are treated to some intriguing facts—our main character is a sort of investigative detective (can you say Sherlock Holmes?!)—and that a strange murder has just happened.

On top of that, he has some major secrets to hide, such as:

  • He had a dream, possibly about the murder (?!)
  • People want him dead.
  • He hides daggers in his boot and belt.
  • He finds out that he is fully dressed but cannot remember why.
  • He has blood spatterred on the bottom of his cloak which seems to surprise him, and he hides it.

Beyond all that, Patrick also fits in a dose of humor (“My unique position in service to the king seemed to require the same hours as a midwife’s”).

So what can I say, Patrick? You’ve grabbed me! Not only am I fascinated with Willet Dura, I’m fascinated with what has happened prior to this chapter as well as what is going to happen.

On top of that, I know full well that if I read on and invest more time in the story that I will be rewarded with an excellent story … I’m in good hands! And so will you be if you pick up this, or any of Patrick’s novels.

So come back tomorrow for my final review of THE SHOCK OF NIGHT!

And make sure you visit the other tour members:

Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Carol Bruce Collett
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rani Grant
Rebekah Gyger
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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9 thoughts on “The Shock Of Night – by Patrick Carr – CSFF Blog Tour Day 2

  • Yes! It was a great opening, I thought. Definitely liked the humor and how he observed the world around him. It revealed much about him and helped to balance the tension and the “We’re all going to die!” feel of the story. Ha!

    Did you read the novella before The Shock of Night?

  • Jennette, no I did not read By Divine Right first (is that the name of the novella?), and I kind of consider that a good test of the novel’s ability to stand on its own and for reader’s to not get lost. It passed with flying colors.

  • Ooh, sounds interesting! 😀 Openings are always fun to read, and this one definitely grabbed me… Looking forward to your further review! :)

    (I also somehow seem to have stopped getting the email updates of posts from this blog ever since the site redesign! o.o Checking the right “notify me” box and hoping that remedies it…)

  • I think most of us read the novella, so it’s good to hear that even without that foreknowledge, the book stands up in its own right.

    I’m glad you mentioned Willet’s sense of humor: it is without a doubt his best quality, only rivaled by his deductive/detective abilities. I found his deadpan irony a nice change from so many dour, angsty “heroes” we often get. His quips made even the darkest moments shine.

  • Y’know, for someone who’s usually quick to find cliches, tortured metaphors, grammatical errors, etc. — I’m an editor, and it’s a problem when reading for pleasure — I didn’t stumble over this opening. Either I was so absorbed in the story that I became oblivious to the obvious, or perhaps my internal editor was out on vacation. (wink and a smile) I’d like to think that both options were true. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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