TEoD: Chapter Four: Yet More Fun House

I really can’t believe it’s Chapter Four and we’re still on Murphy’s initial In Media Res.

The Asians defeated, Murphy spots a sign:

Having fun yet?


How about a game of roulette?

Heh, I doubt it.  Murphy is probably of the RTC strain that thinks playing penny poker is a sin.

So this room contains one of those dangerous, old-school spinning wheels that threw people off it (basically, I think it’s a bigger, more deadly version of a roundabout).  At the center of the wheel is the next clue on an index card.

But he doesn’t just have to deal with a dangerous ride of yore.  Nope, Meth has invested in yet another on-call thug: this time, a six-foot-six, three hundred pound bodybuilder.

Murphy tries his new, patented trick of throwing his bag at the guy, but no go.  The guy knocks Murphy down, Murphy sweeps the leg…


…but the wrestler quickly gets the best of him.  Murphy tries to get to his precious bag, but the bag beats him to it, unleashing its contents one by one as the bag is whipped around by the roundabout (no, I don’t get the physics of that, either).  In fact, entirely by accident, Murphy’s hatchet flies from his bag and hits the wrestler in the leg.  Murph uses this to his advantage and gets the guy in a chokehold and, for good measure “put his foot on the hatchet and pushed it in deeper, as blood splattered everywhere.”

OUCH!  How Christian and loving of you, Mikey boy.

Finally, he gets his hand on the clue.  Here it is, in all its glory:

In the town
Of King Yamani
A Great Mystery
Has Been Solved
I Kings 8:9

Murphy frowned.  Who in the world is King Yamani?

Why are you asking me, Murphy?  You’re the archeologist and globe-trotter, remember?

(I don’t remember this plot point from the first time I read this book a few years ago.  So, from a quick Googling, I’m guessing Meth is referring to this guy, who is from Mecca and who played a big role in the 1973 oil embargo, which might make him of interest to Murphy.  Maybe?

The other side of the card continues the “clue”:

Ride Your Fears to the End

Man, hopefully this will bring us back to the first chapter, where Murphy flung himself off a roller coaster.  Because I am sick of this stupid, boring “fun house.”

Phillips decides Murphy hasn’t been gross enough yet, so he yanks the hatchet from the unconscious man’s leg.

The blood ran freely from the gaping wound and Murphy’s stomach turned.

And they say professional wrestling is fake.

That sensitive internal quip done, Murphy lovingly leads the man to bleed, and wanders off.

By the way, I’ll just point out that having part of your story take play at a creepy, abandoned amusement park is a cool idea.  Too bad it doesn’t work here.

But check out this or this:


Posted on April 18, 2017, in The Edge of Darkness. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. How about a game of American Roulette, Murphy? It’s like Russian Roulette, only you use an automatic.

    These books are really quite instructive for potential writers of thrillers. When a sequence doesn’t work, you can see why it doesn’t work, and so not do that yourself. This procedural stuff is fine in principle, but for example Murphy never comes over as being in any kind of danger, or the underdog – he’s the first to escalate to weapons here, and that’s hard to do right.

    • Technically it was God who saw that Mighty Murphy was in trouble and escalated to using weapons. Okay, Phillips doesn’t say so, but you know a coincidence that saves the hero must always be attributed to god.

  2. What, no reverse punches???

  3. So Murphy’s great fighting skill is to get lucky that he had a hatchet in his bag, and that it just happened to hit the wrestler in the leg and not hit the wall or Murphy himself. This would be funny if the authors had intended to write Murphy as a pathetic buffoon who survives deadly encounters by dumb luck, but no, they want us to think he’s this heroic man of action with great martial arts training.

  4. “And they say professional wrestling is fake.”

    Yeah, they do. So what does that have to do with anything going on here?

  5. I did some googling about Yamani, because the 1973 dude seems too recent for this.

    There was a “Yamani of Ashdod”, who was briefly king of Ashdod after a rebellion against the Assyrians, before the Assyrians took it back. Ashdod was a city of the Philistines and it’s now part of Israel.

    According to the Bible, The Ark of the Covenant was once captured and displayed in the Temple of Dagon there, do I’m guessing that’s the exciting scenery we’re headed to.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for April 21st, 2017 | The Slacktiverse

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