Friday, March 21, 2014

The Girl With A Clock Heart Ticks Along

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart
George Foss is a 40-something literary magazine employee who is settling into the notion that his best years are behind him. He never took the world by storm. He never had a permanent love interest. He never did anything remarkable and nothing extraordinary had ever happened to him. 

The only time he came close was years ago in college. There was one girl who captivated him. She was involved in a murder and abruptly disappeared from his life. He never saw her again — until she inexplicably shows up at a neighborhood pub.

After overcoming the immediate shock of seeing her, Foss discovers that she has sought him out after all those years. She needs his help and had nowhere else to turn. The men who are looking for her believe she has stolen a considerable amount of money in diamonds.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart ticks along with a few skipped beats. 

There are moments in The Girl With A Clock For A Heart reads likes magic and other times formulaic, which explains some of the mixed review. On one hand, Peter Swanson has written a clever Hitchcock-like story that wants to be more. On the other hand, he sometimes takes shortcuts by making the protagonist too much for his own good.

The best of it delves into the philosophical meandering about whether people are tied to their roots or able to reinvent themselves on a whim. And even if they are able to assume a new persona, one wonders if they can truly shed the past or if it is part of them nonetheless, waiting to entrap them in the same outcomes.

The less appealing aspect of the story is the sudden shift of Foss from being a deserving patsy of sorts into someone who suddenly has the gauss pulled off his eyes. It is Foss who suddenly becomes aware and puts all the pieces of the puzzle together for the investigating officers.

Come readers will no doubt cheer while feeling let down at the same time. They'll cheer as the threads are all quickly and conveniently tied up. They'll feel disappointed because the protagonist seems like the least likely person who could explain it. It's not that he is dumb, but Foss is dumbstruck from the moment he first sees her to the last moment he sees her.

Despite this shortcoming, the novel more than makes up for it in other ways. Swanson creates the right tone and atmosphere for a novel noir about a man who is swept away from the everyday trappings of life and thrust into a dizzying and life-threatening mystery. His ability to layer lies, cheats, and deceits has remarkable depth.

A few more graphs about author Peter Swanson.

Peter Swanson
Peter Swanson has degrees in creative writing, education and literature from Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College. But ironically, none of them dealt specifically with novels. The bulk of his storytelling ability came from a screenplay writing workshop that focused on plot elements.

He has also written several short stories and poems that have appeared in numerous magazines such as Atlantic, Mysterical-E, Vocabula Review and Yankee Magazine. Poetry was one of his passions, but he hasn't written nearly as many poems since turning his attention to mysteries and thrillers. He has completed his second novel.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart Ticks 5.7 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

While Swanson rightly believes that it takes a great plot to drive a story, he does so at the expense of his character development. His characters are often too busy doing things to ever appreciate their motivation or really get to know them. Only time will tell if the screenplay will help fill in those missing links.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart: A Novel by Peter Swanson is available on Amazon.  The Girl With A Clock For A Heart can also be ordered from Barnes & Noble or downloaded for iBooks. The audiobook is narrated by Paul Boehmer, who brings a vintage matter-of-fact vibe to the story.
blog comments powered by Disqus