Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pay It Forward - Thriller Writing Tips

I haven't seen the new Kevin Bacon thriller Death Sentence yet, but reading about it led me to an item I thought I'd share - Brian Garfield's Ten Rules for Suspense Fiction. Word up is they helped John Grisham with The Firm, so they can't hurt.

The new movie is based--loosely, I think--on Garfield's sequel to Death Wish, the novel and not the movie, and when I discovered that I bounced around Garfield links and found the thriller tips.

Unseen wonders
I can't tell you if the movie is any good, but once upon a time I liked the book. I found it in paperback on a variety store's rack. I'd read Death Wish because I couldn't see the movie. There was a time when I was too young for things.

I'd also read interviews in which Garfield expressed his dismay over Charles Bronson's portrayal as a hero in the film adaptation of Death Wish.

"Fill your hand," Bronson as Paul Kersey née Benjamin utters in the brutal final action set piece of the film, harkening back to a host of Western gunfighters.

Based upon
As I read, I discovered Death Sentence was Garfield's answer to his concern. Asides even featured characters voicing some of the same things he said about vigilantism in newspaper interviews.

Sentence focuses on Paul Benjamin's move to Chicago where he continues his vigilante ways until his notoriety spawns another vigilante more vicious than he.

He ultimately has to track down and face the other shooter and come to terms with his life and his losses.

It's far better than the inexplicably brutal Death Wish II, and worth a look if you enjoy a thoughtful page turner.

Other Garfield works I've enjoyed include Hopscotch inexplicably adapted for film by Garfield himself as a comedy; Recoil and if you can find back issues of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine look for his spy stories featuring cold war operative Charlie. Those are a load of fun.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I enjoyed the original "Death Wish" movie. Never read the book but I'll look for it. The new Kevin Bacon film looks decent. I see there's another vigilante movie out too, with Jodie Foster. Must be something in the air.

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