RARA-AVIS: coincidence

From: Dick Lochte ( dlock@ix.netcom.com)
Date: 18 Feb 2000

All fiction is based on coincidence, especially crime fiction. A particular detective or cop hero getting involved in a particular murder case is a coincidence. The discovery of an important clue is a coincidence. In Michael Connelly's new "Void Moon," a thief who was arrested in the course of a Vegas casino-hotel room robbery, serves her prison term, gets out and winds up having to break into the same building. Couldn't be more of a coincidence, but Connelly bothers to lay the groundwork so that it's believable. It's the coincidences that come out of left field hat make you want to toss the book across the room. In one of Grisham's novels, a lawyer steals a document from his firm's top security area and makes a clean getaway . . . except that a drunk driver (whom we've never heard of before or will hear from again) hits his car. Huh? In "Absolute Power" a thief hides in a safe that just happens to have been built with a one-way mirror. Okay, the protagonist robs a house on precisely the night the president of the United States drops by to get involved in a murder. Maybe I can buy that. But a walk-in safe with a one-way mirror, presumably so that its owner can sit there and look out at his own bedroom? That's a tough one.

Dick Lochte

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