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Literary Glance: Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb

October 4, 2017

Until recently, I thought that J.D. Robb was a male author.  I mean, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.  It was just an offhand assumption.  When I found out that J.D. Robb was a female author’s pseudonym, I wasn’t shocked or outraged.  I just thought it was a smart pen name.

First of all, Robb is a guy’s name.  And when I think of J.D., I think of Jack Daniels.  Almost every guy associates the initials J.D. with Jack Daniels.  If you’re a woman who absolutely has to come up with a pseudonym that sounds like a dude, use a whiskey and a guy’s first name.  That’s an important thing to know.

Secrets in Death is J.D. Robb’s latest mystery, and it’s okay so far.  After a few pages, I haven’t learned any secrets and there hasn’t been any death, but none of that is necessarily bad.  The only thing that has stood out so far is the word ass, and I don’t mean that in a pervertish kind of way.

In this opening scene, Lt. Eve Dallas (also a cool name) is entering a bar to meet a friend(?):

She stepped out of the noise and rush of downtown New York, into the fern –and-flower-decked noise of the trendy, overpriced drinking hole.

The bar itself, a dull and elegant silver, swept itself into an S curve along the facing wall.  Mirrored shelves filled with shiny bottles backed it.  On the top shelf exotic red flowers spilled out of the black-and-white checked pots.

Stools with black-and-white checked seats lined the front.  An ass filled every seat while other patrons crowded in, keeping the trio of bartenders busy.

I don’t know.  The word ass kind of seems out of place in this scene.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not offended by the word ass.  I’ve written about the word ass a couple times on my blog.  I even spell out ass completely.  I don’t replace the a in ass to make it look like @ss@sshole should be tinkered with a little bit, but ass is fine.

The thing is,  the sentence with the word ass could easily have been reworded to make it less awkward.

All the seats were taken while other patrons crowded in, keeping the trio of bartenders busy.

“All the seats were taken” implies that a human being is sitting in each seat, which in turn means that an ass was placed on every seat.

I don’t think I’ve used the phrase “an ass filled every seat.”  I’ve never walked into a crowded restaurant and thought/said “Those seat are filled with lots of asses.”

When offered a place to sit, I’ve never said, “I shall fill that seat with my ass.”

Maybe people talk like this and I just haven’t noticed.  I’m trying to be a writer, an observer of the human condition, and I can’t believe I’ve missed a linguistic trend like this.  As an aspiring author, I try to borrow the writing strategies of successful authors and try new things, so I’ll try using this expression in my own life.

When I continue to read Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb, my ass shall fill my recliner.

So far, Secrets in Death seems like an okay book.  Some of the phrasing seems awkward though.  I would mention it, but I don’t want to seem nit picky.

3 Comments
  1. I thought J.D. Robb was a guy too!

  2. Actually, if you look at a row of bar stools hoping to find an empty one, asses is the first thing you see.

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  1. Literary Glance: Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb — Dysfunctional Literacy – musnadjia423wordpress

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