Sorry this update is later than usual. Family matters took precedence. Back on an almost even keel now. NHS staff are wonderful, just not enough of them and the system needs an overhaul. Rant over!
Jeffery Deaver is one of the United States’ top thriller writers. He has sold 50 million books worldwide in 150 countries in 25 languages. He’s probably best known for the film The Bone Collector starring Denzil Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. I’ve just finished reading the 13th of the Lincoln Rhyme thrillers: The Steel Kiss.
To say it was a page turner is an understatement. And to use another cliché, I just couldn’t put it down! 600+pages kept me enthralled from the opening line: Sometimes you catch a break. I read it in bed, in the bath, in my office (when I should have been writing), in the park, in the car, in hospital waiting rooms and in the garden (we have had a few nice days recently). If ever there was a writer I’d like to be, Jeffery Deaver is it (and Philippa Gregory too!).
His main characters, Lincoln Rhyme and his side-kick and partner Amelia Sachs, are SO real. We know their likes and dislikes, their habits, their moods, their speech patterns, their personality traits, their goals, their dreams, their worries, their morals – everything we know about our own best friends.
But the reason for this blog doesn’t concern his writing (clear, concise, easy to read), nor his plots (complicated, often technical, but always realistic and believable), nor the two wonderful twists at the end of the book that had me gasping, “I didn’t see that coming!”
No, the other reason for my admitted hero-worship is
Jeffery Deaver and the Dangling Modifier.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what a Dangling Modifier is. Writers and authors can spend their lives quite happily not knowing. But once you know, you’ll always be on the lookout!
A dangling modifier is when a subsidiary clause doesn’t have the same subject as the main clause. eg Jogging in the park, a dog chased me. This implies it was the dog who was jogging in the park.
Having gained a 2.1 at university, Peter’s parents bought him a car. This infers that it was Peter’s parents who gained the 2.1.
Driving home late last night, all the traffic lights in the High Street were on green. This actually means it was the traffic lights that were driving home.
If you use a subsidiary clause and a main clause, the subject of both clauses MUST be the same, otherwise, the subsidiary clause – the modifier – is left dangling.
There are two great twists or surprises towards the end of the Steel Kiss. But the biggest surprise of all for me came on page 197 when one of the new characters actually admits she is using a dangling modifier!
Lincoln Rhyme is talking to his new intern, Juliette Archer:
‘Do you speak German by any chance?’
‘No, afraid not.’
‘Ah, well. I’ll find something else to occupy your time. I think there are a few projects that aren’t too boring.’
‘Well, boring or not, I’m happy to work on anything you have. And forgive the dangling modifier there.’
He gave a chuckle. True, she’d just said that whether or not she was boring, she’d be happy to work on any project. Grammar, punctuation and syntax could be formidable opponents.
Thank you, Jeffery Deaver – you are my hero!
So too is The Hooded Crusader of Bristol who goes around the city at night, painting out erroneous apostrophes on street signs and shop fronts! We’ve all seen them: Open Monday’s to Friday’s, Amys Nail’s and even Potato’s. So if you see a hooded figure around Watford, Rickmansworth or Croxley Green, you never know, it could be …………