Sunday, March 25, 2012

Muffin Man, Brad Whittington

“What’s it about?” is the first thing anyone asks when you recommend a novel or a film. What it’s about determines whether we’ll take the initial plunge. But that’s rarely the only reason we turn the next page. There are plenty of factors to recommend Muffin Man, and like all good stories (or at least stories well told) the plot is only one of the many elements in its favor. I’m not the type to reveal spoilers, so I won't summarize what happens. Besides, I'm more concerned with style and the use of metaphor or a well placed simile. These are the key ingredients to a delicious read.  

John … into the full heat of a Texas August afternoon ... felt like he was rolled in an electric blanket in a convection oven inside a sealed boxcar on the train to Hell.  

Lovejoy was barely out of the academy, so new the shine hadn’t worn off yet.

…nailing down a complete list of the protestors was about as likely as stacking marbles on a basketball.

Her drawl was so dense it could seine for minnows.

It was hot, but a different kind of hot. Softer, more like a blanket or an oven full of chocolate chip cookies than the fist-in-your-face, steel-melting blast furnace of the parking lot.

The grass was calf high and thirsty. It rustled like old newspapers against his pants leg … But the weeds were doing just fine, which was the way of it. The good guys had to push uphill both ways just to stay even.

He was at his worst when he meant well…

She’d moved on months before she’d moved out.

[He]…shook his head like a bull trying to rid itself of a horsefly.

She wore a silky, shimmery cranberry blouse that was tight enough to display her charms but loose enough to avoid bragging …

Beyond plot and style, novels are about evoking, getting the reader emotionally invested. Only when the writer breathes life into the characters do we truly care about what happens to them. That’s really why we turn the page, because we’ve been convinced that what happens next matters. In short, whatever your demands for a novel, Mr. Whittington satisfies them all. Highly recommended.

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