Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CFBA this week: Try Dying, by James Scott Bell


On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if hie has to kill for the truth.

"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling."
~Library Review~


James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

The Book Link


Although this novel isn’t classified as a mystery, it still is one. Ty Buchanan goes through hell and high water to find out who murdered his fiancĂ©. One could call it a legal thriller because the main character is a lawyer—one who’s going to find answers, regardless of the consequences.

Bell is the master of plot, as anyone who has read Plot and Structure knows. The story line was great, bolstered by some nice side plots that were woven into the main one. I love it when everything seems multi-directional but then converges in an unexpected way at the end. The action moved a bit slowly for me, but that doesn’t mean the author is at fault, it just means the plot was a bit too character-driven for me—the slower plot is a side effect.

I experienced nothing earth-shattering or mind-blowing while reading, but the book held my attention regardless. When I see great writing, almost any plot can interest me enough for me to finish it and give it a thumbs up. Which I do.

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