“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Digested Read: 61 HOURS by Lee Child

I had a bit of fun messing about a couple of weeks ago with some drafts for a project called ‘The Digested Read’ - basically, you take a novel and condense it into 300 words. Given that I had a lot of fun reading Lee Child’s 61 HOURS, I thought I’d take a crack at it first. To wit:
The Digested Read: 61 HOURS by Lee Child

Hi, me again. Jack Reacher. Can’t say much more than that, we only have 61 hours.
  Just don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Or happy. Or sad.
  Don’t you find that emotions just confuse stuff?
  Anyway, there’s this snowstorm, and a snowed-in town, and a killer on the way. Well, two killers if you count me. But I’m a good killer. Hey, I’m ex-military. Killers don’t come much better than that.
  Where was I? Oh yeah - 55 hours to go. Jeez, the cops in this town are hicks. I don’t think they’ve even killed anyone before. Amateurs.
  God, it’s cold. And just look at all that snow. Can you imagine High Noon set in Fargo? No? Good. 47 hours to go.
  Did I mention the frail old lady who’s testifying about a hand-off she saw that could bring down an international drug-smuggling ring involving Mexicans and Hell’s Angels and Russians? She’s a librarian, but whoa - feisty! 39 hours to go.
  This Mexican drug lord - ay, caramba! He’s one tough guacamole. But enough about him, how about that snow? Hold up - is one of the hick cops a stooge for the bad guys? Say it ain’t so, Joe. 28 hours to go.
  Snow, snow, go away / Come back another day. 14 hours to go.
  Lemme see, that’s three corpses so far. Two bad guys, one good. Isn’t it time for me to start shooting yet? Note to self: get a gun from the frail old lady. 8 hours to go.
  Hmmmm. Dead cops all over. More snow. The librarian’s a book, she’s just been checked out. Time to get angry? 1 hour to go.
  Badges, Mexican drug lord? I don’t need no stinking badges! Bang. Bang-bang.
  The End. 0 hours to go.

  The Digested Read, Digested: Jack’s back. Bang-bang. The End.

5 comments:

seana said...

Well, I haven't read Child, and now it looks like I don't have to.

Thanks. That was excellent. I mean, probably.

adrian.mckinty said...

I can do it in fewer:

Ug. Hit guy. Ug. Cold. Ug. Kick guy. Ug. Mexicans bad. Ug.

seana said...

Well, it's good, and definitely short, but you didn't get any sense of the passing hours in, like Declan did. If it had been called 61 Seconds, you'd be golden.

kevin said...

interesting thing about those nefarious mexicans--they are a huge movie watching demographic and, it occurred to me while watching Diaz/Cruise last night at the cinema--don't ask, two daughters, their choice, at least spurred interesting discussion about sexism in hollywood--that the baddies were SPANISH and not mexican for once. hmmmm, anything to do with how many mexican cinema goers in US hail from mexico? also makes you think how african-americans seem--obama affect?--to have beaten the stereotypes in hollywood but latinos are still domestics or druglords. does this apply in pop crime fic as well? hilarious 300 wds, btw Dec!

Kevin McCarthy

Glenna said...

Nice job. I haven't read 61 hours yet but it's sitting on my shelf.

Adrian, Nice try, but I think it's missing something...