Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Answering Review Request: "Be Paranoid, Be Prepared" by Dina Rae

The first thing you should know about this story is that its not really a short story; its a prequel to Miss.Rae's main work "The Last Degree". A conflict is set up, the protagonist decides to take action and then the story ends. Its like a commerical in written form. That being said, I liked it.

The opening is weak; James stumbles into his apartment between shifts. It quickly gets better though. My interest perked at the phrase 'zombie night'. Exposition (James's family, work, etc) fills in as he gets dressed for it. The prose is this short and jagged thing that fits oddly well with a guy lacking in motivation and who runs on coccaine.

The scene at the strip club is worth reading and not for that reason. Its the escalation from a simple party to a lethal brawl seen through the eyes of a bouncer that drove me from page to page. The fact that everyone is hyped up on drugs and alcohol and dressed like the undead makes for nice irony when real blood mixes with red dye.

However, she started lossing me at the next scene. Debba (the girl on the cover) reveals her secret to James. Him being a borderline stranger I couldn't fathom why she would be so open. By the cliff hanger she's lost me entirely because I didn't it buy entirely and because I can think of an Oscam's Rasor alternative. On the other hand, my skeptical 'that's it?' was a halfbreed with a disappointed 'that's it?'. I would have read the second chapter if there was one.

A second problem I have is Debba's character, though depending on events in the main book it might not be a problem at all. Based on the ending I feel she is solely here to give James a kick in the pants and trigger the main work's plot. On TVtropes we call that "Disposable Woman" and it annoys us, but if the main book reveals this is not the case than I applaud Miss. Rae for making me think that trope was in effect before I realized that might not be the case.

Nothing is resolved. The conflict is only starting at the end. I HAVE read short stories that worked like this so I suppose it can stand alone in 'X-files' kind of way. This work being an 'appetizer' for "The Last Degree", though, I feel it would work better as a prologue than a prequel. I read it in about half an hour (it took me longer to write this review) and only costs 0.99 cents so if you want something 'short and sweet' you should buy it.

Click here for the next review request: Nimpentoad

Click here for the previous review request: Talented

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