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WE ARE DEATH & Pusillanimity

by Douglas Lindsay - 10:17 on 28 January 2018

The Long Midnight Publishing cover upgrade continues with WE ARE THE HANGED MAN and WE ARE DEATH. Market analysts predict that this will make absolutely no difference whatsoever to anything anywhere, but here you are. The words inside, as ever, remain the same. (Although it should be noted, when We Are Death was released, I did take the opportunity at the time to tweak Hanged Man, attempting to make DCI Jericho moderately more likeable. I’ve never polled to see if it worked.)

  

There’s a lovely 2* review just been put on Amazon for We Are Death.

26 January 2018

Ludicrous

A completely ludicrous, although reasonably well written, tale involving anti-agathic agents, apparitions and an alliance of aloof affluence. Jericho, as a character, lies somewhere between Morse and Scrooge in his blackly bilious demeanour and his readiness to engage with 'spirits', whilst other characters are wantonly stereotypical to the point of being utterly unbelievable. Perhaps my greatest irritation came from the use of the word puscillanimous twice in the book; very feeble-minded proof reading perhaps? Only to be read if DCI Jericho Book 1 leaves you wanting more, I did, but regret it and if there is to be third instalment I will ignore it.

I feel that’s more of a 1* review than a 2*, but they must have tagged on the extra star for being “reasonably well-written.”

Now, as a writer one really oughtn’t to take issue with negative reviews, especially one that’s fairly accurate. We Are Death is pretty ludicrous. However, we need to talk about the word pusillanimous, which I did use twice in the book, (although at least I spelled it correctly.)

In defence of the proof-reader, she objected to the use of pusillanimous the first time, never mind the second, on the basis that I’d obviously stumbled across it in a thesaurus. When I read that comment, sitting at my kitchen table in Tallinn, I said aloud, fuck off, you fucking proofreading fuck. (This is the kind of thing writers regularly say to unseen proofreaders and copy editors when sitting alone, alongside the more common, and grudging, fair point, I suppose.)

I learned the word pusillanimous in the late 70s from comic, songwriting genius Neil Innes, and this perfect Cole Porter-esque rhyme from the Rutles song “Another Day”:

You’re so pusillanimous, oh yeah.

Nature’s calling and I must go there…

I’ve been casually tossing around the word pusillanimous ever since. So, no Thesaurus, no stellar university education that I feel I need to show off, just a rudimentary knowledge of the finest mockumentary ever made.

Yes, The Rutles is better than Spinal Tap.

There ought to be a third Jericho novel, and it might even come this year, but it hasn’t been written yet, so that certainly stands in the way of its publication. All I have so far is the word pusillanimous, around which I intend to base the entire narrative.

In We Are Death, one of the characters expresses a dislike for crime novels, and a preference for dinosaur fiction. The plot also features mention of a lost valley in the Himalayas. I feel there’s enough foreshadowing there that readers are actively anticipating the third Jericho book will have dinosaurs. There are some at LMP, however, who disagree. Thanks to this new review, I was at least able to argue at the most recent board meeting that readers already think the series is ludicrous, what difference will a few velociraptors make?

Comment from Ben Ramage at 16:04 on 11 February 2018.
Had you really used pusillanimous with a c (which my spell checker won’t allow) the reviewer might have had a valid point (unless of course you managed to over-ride your spell checker for an appropriate plot driven reason which I shall now have to read the book to discover) but that apart, doesn’t everyone say pusillanimous at least twice in their life?

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