Our final First Impression for this month comes from Jerri George. This is the first page of SEADUCED, a generational saga set in the 1950’s to 70’s in Cape Cod and Miami Beach. Jerri says it’s loosely based on her parents’ experiences – something I find rather alarming, considering the direction this scene takes!!!
‘Come on and rock…around…the clock tonight’, urged Bill Haley and his Comets, once the DJ finished extolling the song’s virtues as one of the hottest summer sounds of the mid-fifties. It was evening in Miami, but the mercury still registered above 80. The burgundy leather seats in the Packard were slick with perspiration and although there was a slight breeze, it was balmy. As they drove away from the ocean the humidity increased but no matter how unbearable the heat or enticing the melody on this night…one thing was certain…Cliff and Dahlia were taking Liz into the Everglades to end her miserable life!
Tonight, her involvement in their otherwise ordinary lives would end. Cliff had formulated the plan and Dutch, a nickname Cliff had called his wife since the day they met, was in full agreement. He had never meant for the situation to become this complicated but now…with letters coming to their house on a weekly basis, her showing up at the door unannounced, and threats she made about making their secret public…they had to make it stop!
Cliff drove with the car windows rolled all the way down hoping for any relief from the sweltering night. Always the sharp dresser, he was sorry he’d chosen to wear his favorite khaki slacks instead of shorts. His feet were sticky and swollen in saddle-brown leather loafers sans socks. The matching belt produced an uncomfortable tightness around his waist. Or was that simply his anxiety peaking? Liz was squeezed between them in the center of the sedan’s front seat. Her slim black skirt hiked up her thighs as she curled to find room for her heels. Her light turquoise blouse was buttoned loosely and fell open at the top edge showing her ample chest. She was clever to reveal just enough to appear welcoming. The clatter of her bangle bracelets annoyed Dutch to no end.
How appropriate, Dutch thought. That’s where the harlot would be most comfortable …between them, in the middle, destroying her life and their marriage!
This is a riveting way to start the novel! Are Cliff and Dutch are really going to kill Liz and dump her body in the Everglades? However, I’m not crazy about starting with the lyrics and a description of the DJ’s plug for the song, although it does firmly set the time frame for us. Maybe I’d like it better if you actually included the DJ’s banter, and if Cliff found the perkiness of both the song and the DJ a jarring contrast to their grim mission. (Liz, however, could sing along, blissfully unaware of her danger.)
I don’t think you need the first sentence of the second paragraph: Tonight, her involvement in their otherwise ordinary lives would end. That is obvious enough without saying it. I also wasn’t happy with this sentence: He had never meant for the situation to become this complicated but now…with letters coming to their house on a weekly basis, her showing up at the door unannounced, and threats she made about making their secret public…they had to make it stop! The phrases in the list are not grammatically parallel. One starts with a preposition, another with a gerund phrase, and the third with a noun. Restructuring the list with parallel constructions would make a smoother feel.
I love the description of Liz, but at the end of this paragraph be careful, because it switches from Cliff’s POV to Dutch’s. (You could say Cliff knew the clatter of the bracelets would annoy his wife.)
Well, I’m hooked by the situation – and I’m seriously wondering how Jerri’s parents are involved in this. Please tell me they’re not Cliff and Dutch?!?!
Jerri is currently looking for a critique partner, so if you found this page interesting and you’d like to read more, please contact her through her Facebook page. Also, be sure and stop by Mainewords to see Marcy’s critique as well.