Thursday, March 01, 2012

Dark Men

Nothing about homelessness in Dark Men by Derek Haas. A man walked past a homeless person, then went into his apartment. But that may have been in the book I stopped reading, Red Means Run by Brad Smith.

Dark Men is a first person novel; the speaker goes by the name Columbus, much like street people using a nickname rather than revealing their true identity. Columbus says (or thinks): The romanticized notion of a hunter man sleeping with one eye open is bullshit. Later in the novel he says (or thinks) "I've lived sleeping with one eye open for so long...".

Well, maybe Columbus was not a hunted man, so that romanticized notion did not apply to him, eh. I knew a guy who said he learned to sleep with his eyes open when in jail. Actually his lids were mostly lowered when he slept. That is what I thought sleeping with one eye open meant.

I learned to sleep exactly like that while living on the streets; forgot all about it until reading it in the book. I wonder if I could still do that today. Was not hunted on the streets; just easy prey for predators. Sleeping with both eyes partly open, the slightest movement would wake me instantly from a dream of dreamless sleep. Sounds would wake me as well; I would be up and ready for fight or flight at the slightest noise ~ often a chip bag blown by the wind along a sidewalk. 

I hate to pan a book because an author not only had an idea, s/he wrote it and got it published. Yet would say Haas knows how to write a story and Smith does not. At the start of Red Means Run, I got busy thinking, okay he is setting mood of novel using the weather. That does not make him a bad writer; might make me an analytical reader. Yet Dark Men drew me right into the story, no nit-picking, I wanted to know more, whereas with Red Means Run, I kept thinking of an author who advised writers something like: Just tell the damn story and get on with it.

I did get a little bored with Dark Men and not interested in reading the prior Silver Bear novels. If it were a movie, I guess it would be called a guy flick ~ lots of action, violence, bloodshed and murder. Did offer insight into the mind or personality of people hired to kill. There was a point in the novel when I began thinking about Haas ~ did he research that or is a bit of telltale of his own inner self.

Smith's book had me thinking I should try writing a NANO book setting the mood via the weather. The Haas book had me thinking I should try to see if I could think like a cold-blooded killer via a character in a novel. Give me something to do other than complain about neighbor's noise.

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