Word nuggets. And an update.

parnell hallParnell Hall (that’s him over there –>) has written some good books. On the back cover of Favor there is this blurb about Hall’s main character, Stanley Hastings;

Stanley Hastings, New York P.I., has no gun, no cases, and no talent for snooping. He had a client once; the guy ended up a corpse.

Doesn’t sound like much of a detective, does he? It goes on to say:

The best gumshoe in a world-class detective novel couldn’t get out of this mess. But maybe the world’s worst detective has a chance…”

So, you get the idea. Mr. Hall is not writing deep, dark, literary masterpieces with his Stanley Hastings series. He’s writing the kind of book I hope to emulate with A Bother of Bodies. The kind of book aimed more towards entertaining its reader than winning a Pulitzer. The Pink Panther as opposed to The Maltese Falcon. A read geared more towards beaches and bathtubs, than podiums and accolades.

But now and then Mr. Hall surprises me. In his book Client, out in 1990, he wrote about growing up in the sixties and one sentence in Parnell Clientparticular stopped me in my tracks;

“…it’s embarrassing to be part of a generation that screamed, “Make Love, Not War,” only to find out twenty years later with the advent of AIDS, that making love may kill more people than making war ever did.”

And I had to stop and think about that statement because, though it may have occurred to many others, the idea of linking the hippie generation with the AIDs epidemic never crossed my mind. And I LOVE moments like this in a book. I enjoyed the 39th chapter of Client because it made me think. There I was, just ambling along, enjoying the bumbling of Stanley, when Hall throws in a chapter that verges on deep. Yikes.

And not only is it a thinker chapter, it actually does relate to the rest of the book. Mr. Hall hasn’t thrown this chapter in to bulk up his book, or to expound on his theories about life, but because it gives the reader more insight into Stanley, and the case in hand.

Word nuggets. Words strung together in such a way they interrupt your amble, pleasurable though it may be, to make you think. Make you go back and re-read them. They take you out of the story in order to make you consider the story. That’s a good thing.

van and tank

One of the rules of writing, according to the books I’ve read and the advice I’ve been given, is you should never take your reader out of the story. Don’t throw in your own opinions because you like the sound of your own words. If your character is about to shoot the bad guy, don’t suddenly spout off your thoughts on gun control. No one cares.

Mr. Hall does not do this. He simply inserts nuggets. He writes entertaining and often humourous stories about every-day people, having every-day revelations.

Stanley Hastings is not Jack Reacher (Lee Child). I love Jack. He makes me swoon, but I also love Stanley. He’s a funny guy, and there’s a chance I may meet a Stanley Hastings one day. There’s not a hope in hell I’d ever meet a Jack Reacher. Not sure I’d want to. T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Then there are characters like Myron Bolitar (Harlan Coben), and Archie Goodwin (Rex Stout). I’d love to meet them. They make me laugh and swoon, but that’s a discussion for another post. I’m off topic. AGAIN.

I will attempt to make my writing not only entertaining, but I’ll also try to throw in the odd word nuggets. It may require some thinking, so I’m not making any promises. I’ll do my best.


Jayde and I are up to chapter nine in our rewrites and editing process. All is good so far, though Jayde has caught at least one slip-up for which I will be forever grateful. As for the book cover, haven’t heard back from K the P yet. I will start harassing him soon so I can get some feed-back on which one to pick.

 Oh, and when you do meet Mabel, stay on her good side. She has a hell of a temper.

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6 Responses to Word nuggets. And an update.

  1. Danielle says:

    Stanley Hastings seems like quite a guy. I’m going to have to pick up one of those books. I’m a Myron Bolitar fan as well. I haven’t read the last one or two Harlan Coben novels. That’s on my list.

    Yours seems to be coming along. How many more chapters do you have?

    • ajcap says:

      I think I have around twenty more chapters, so we’re on a good roll towards June. I still haven’t posted a review on “The Protector” in Amazon yet, but rest assured, it’s on my list. I enjoyed the book, she’s funny that Detective Valentine, and it sure had some interesting characters. I’ll make sure to post a review this week. When do you expect your second book to be ready?

      • Danielle says:

        Thanks, Amanda. I’m hoping to have the next one done by the end of the year. I’m off work today and plan to do some work on it. I’ll look for your review later in the week. I’m glad you liked it.

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