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Review of The Egret by Ed Harkness

On Goodreads, Edward Harkness gives The Egret *****

 The Egret by Russell Hill 

It was amazing


In his novella, The Egret, science fiction writer turns to realistic—all too realistic—fiction. In this suspense tale, Hill writes in a lean, mean prose style that I associate with some of my favorite writers, including those household names of fame, Chandler and Hemingway. The Egret literally snatches the reader–me–like its first and central metaphor, the egret, described in the opening paragraph as patient, waiting in the shallows for just the right moment to snatch its minnow. By the end of the second chapter, I realized I was the happy minnow.

I also admire Hill’s use of a daring device–1st person POV, where it becomes ominously more and more clear the narrator, who has suffered what he believes is a terrible injustice, may not survive his obsession with revenge, that his elaborate plans to get even may end in ways he did not foresee.

I won’t give away too much here other than to say the 1st person device works as well in the film Sunset Boulevard, with its voice-over narrator spoken by a man floating lifelessly in a swimming pool. It also works in Randall Jarrell’s famous short poem, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” (“…when I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”). And it works in The Egret.

As an earlier reviewer said, The Egret is a “page turner.” That’s almost an understatement.