Like a Writer

Bizarre similes pour forth from a Dallas debut novelist’s fingers like wine from a bottomless bottle that is also missing its cork.

Though Publishers Weekly recently gave Dallas writer Jonathan Woods’s debut novel, A Death in Mexico (New Pulp Press, $15), a generally favorable review, it did note that the noirish thriller was “occasionally jolted by Woods’s evident addiction to inept similes.” In fact, “occasionally” is putting it lightly, as is “inept.” On nearly every page of A Death in Mexico there’s a turn of phrase—usually, a jackknife turn so sharp that an illegal immigrant driving a vegetable truck from farm to market would hit the brakes too late and send a few hundred bushels of tomatoes cascading to the ground, where they would shatter and explode, like a symphony of sixteenth notes written in blood on the musical staffs of the sidewalk—that will have you wondering if Woods is deadly serious or just pulling your leg.

Here are ten of the novel’s most outlandish similes, to help you decide for
yourself:

“A twinge of indigestion burrow[ed] through his interior maze like a parasite dressed in a ninja outfit.”

“Up ahead the blond bombshell suddenly darted like a skittish reef fish into a famous café.”

“Time hung suspended like a torn fingernail.”

“Julia’s kohl-heavy lashes fluttered at him like small black butterflies in jeopardy.”

“They stumbled backward through the crowd, their heads tucked close together like an investment banker imparting insider information to his acolyte.”

“Her piss splashed the pavement like a drinking fountain stuck in the on position.”

“. . . he eased himself sideways over the edge of the bed, hands roving across the cold tiles like a pair of predatory mongooses until they found the mechanical device and subdued it.”

“‘Lousy cigar,’ Felicia said, dropping the cheroot in the gutter where it smoldered like a politically incorrect thought.”

“Her eyes were glazed, exuding the drugged quality of a captive Indian princess atop an Aztec temple waiting for her heart to be ripped from her chest with an obsidian knife. Or the blank expression of someone going into
shock.”

“. . . the blond wig tumbled to the floor where it lay unmoving like an albino monkey that had suffered a fatal aneurism.”

Special Bonus Similes: The Breast of Jonathan Woods!

“ . . . thrusting her breasts forward like a pair of high strung beagle puppies.”

“Her breasts pressing against him seemed to have lives of their own, like naughty pink-nosed albino rabbits.”

“ . . . the dark circles of her nipples lay like pirate coins on white Caribbean sand.”

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