The Things We Do for Love

March 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads)

loveThe Things We Do for Love by K.J. Parker

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K.J. Parker is my newest must-read author. I’ve already mentioned how he drew me in with two innocuous-looking novellas that surprised me with their depth and plot, so I’ve started looking for more of his fiction. I’ve ordered a few of his novellas, and I found The Things We Do for Love online, so I didn’t waste time in tearing through it.

The story has the wry wit that’s evident in his other two novellas I’ve read, though here he seems to be making it the showcase of the story. It opens with a man confessing the murder of his wife, willing the judge and jury to hurry up with the trial so he can be hanged. Before they can pass judgment, his wife sashays into the courtroom, explains that it was all a mix-up, and takes her husband home. On the way back to their home, she tells him not to kill her again, to which he sighs and says, “Yes, dear.”

With a set-up like that, how can you resist it?

I didn’t find the story to be quite as good as either The Last Witness or The Devil You Know, namely because it lost most of its steam about halfway through the story. There, the focus shifts away from our narrator (the husband), and the momentum and voice is lost. Plus, the other two novellas highlight Parker’s skills at plotting, leaving nothing to chance or coincidence, and this one feels more like a light romp through the unusual relationship between the two characters. It still reads like a Parker story, but it wouldn’t be the story I’d recommend to hook someone else on the author.

I already have a lot more by this author on my list (Downfall of the Gods is next on my list of novellas, and The Two of Swords isn’t that much behind), so I’m not going to let this story put me off from reading the rest of his work. Based on my own reactions to his work, and the critics’ and fans’ praise for it, I expect to like it as much as I did the first two novellas I read.

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