Twitter mystery: Executive Severance

With blogs, Twitter and SMS texting, the literary landscape has literally changed. You’ll see flash fiction blog posts, nano fiction in the form of tweets, and text dialogue including snappy witticisms such ‘WTF im bord LOL’. Author and media expert Robert K Blechman has been experimenting with the Twitter format, and the outcome of his work is Executive Severance – an entire crime book composed of 140-character tweets.

Anyone who’s tried having a sensible conversation on Twitter knows how challenging it can be, but what about writing a humorous murder mystery? The regular conventions of paragraphs and dialogue formatting have been put to one side as Blechman focuses on morsel after morsel of plot and humour. It’s a send-up of the mystery genre that seems to make for rich reading in places as main character Willum Mortimus Granger finds himself chopped in half. Some people have called it a ‘twitstery’.

While originally broadcast as tweets by the author the print version has the added bonus of illustrations by David Arshawsky. However given the book’s interesting digital origins, it’s odd that it’s not out on Kindle. Executive Severance launches on 28 March and below you can sample the first five lines of the book to see what you think:

Willum Mortimus Granger was beside himself. In fact when his body was found the top half was right next to the bottom.

Granger’s body was split in two. “Well, we can rule out suicide” said the coroner. “I rule out NOTHING!” I replied.

Self bisection was not at the top of my list of likely solutions. I hate ceding any ground when it comes to crime deduction.

“Maybe this was self inflicted. Then how do you explain the 3 1/2 other victims just like this I have at the morgue?”

So Granger wasn’t the only one cut down in his prime. “You said 3 1/2 victims. You have half a body?” “No. Siamese twins.”


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