Book of Words: Intrusion by Mary McCluskey

Good writers choose their words carefully. This blog offers a different type of book review by combining it with vocabulary building. Included here are a few interesting words I found in Intrusion, a book released in July by British author Mary McCluskey. Some of the words McCluskey used were British and unfamiliar to me, so I included them in this blog.

Intrusion pits a woman who has hit rock bottom against a long-lost best friend with a hidden motive. Mary McCluskey deftly pulls the reader into the emotional turmoil of Kat Hamilton’s shattered life. The mourning mom struggles to support her husband’s efforts to maintain his standing in his law firm and fights to find meaning in her own life, but can barely get through each day. When she’s at her lowest, evil steps in to help push her over the edge. I found Intrusion to be an exciting psychological thriller that kept the tension high while ever increasing the stakes all the way to an end with a unexpected twist. McCluskey knows how to keep the reader guessing.

Cover pdf provided by Author Mary McCluskey

Cover pdf provided by Author Mary McCluskey

Words from Intrusion:

Cabochon: A gem polished but not faceted. <Origin> mid-16th century: from French, diminutive of caboche ‘head’. “Sara gave a small smile and looked down, twisting the cabochon emerald ring off her finger, then holding it for a few seconds, as if checking its weight, before replacing it.”

 Sepia: A reddish-brown color associated particularly with monochrome photographs of the 19th and early 20th centuries. <Special Usage> a brown pigment prepared from a black fluid secreted by cuttlefish, used in monochrome drawing and in watercolors. “These memories dropped softly, completely intact, into her mind. Sometimes, they were in strong, primary colors, occasionally in a kind of sepia, like old movies.”

Intransigent: Unwilling or refusing to change one’s views or to agree about something. “He is a lawyer. He has the nitpicky legal mind. I never dreamt he would be so intransigent.”

Janus: An ancient Italian deity, guardian of doorways and gates and protector of the state in time of war. He is usually represented with two faces, so that he looks both forward and backward. <Special Usage> two-faced; hypocritical; two-sided. “In profile, the two sides of her face could look quite different: one side so bare, the delicate bone structure clear and unobstructed, the other side hidden by a cascade of rich brown hair. A Janus face, Maggie had said once.”

 Sussed: (Chiefly British, informal) A verb meaning to realize, grasp. An abbreviation of suspect or suspicion. “Though Sister Judy may have sussed me.”

 Gobsmacked: (Chiefly British, informal) Utterly astonished; astounded. <Origin> 1980s: from GOB + SMACK, with reference to being shocked by a blow to the mouth, or to clapping a hand to one’s mouth in astonishment. “They’ll all be gobsmacked.”

Definitions are from The New Oxford American Dictionary through Kindle.

 

“The word is only a representation of the meaning; even at its best, writing almost always falls short of full meaning. Given that, why in God’s name would you want to make things worse by choosing a word which is only cousin to the one you really wanted to use?” ― Stephen King

What interesting words have you taken note of lately?

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A Tidbit From A Work in Progress

My mystery novel A Lovely County was published in January. I’m in the final stretch of writing the second in the series, tentatively titled A Lovely Murder. I’m anxious to write these last few chapters and read back through it. Over the next few months the hard part will be the editing, but I’m confident the pain will be eased with the help of my favorite editor Gil Miller, a dedicated and skilled member of the Oghma Creative Media staff.

Below is an excerpt tease from A Lovely Murder: 

“She shook her head and scanned the area around her. There was nothing but trees and brush between her and the lake. Whoever she chased had to be up the hill. Had to be trying to get out of the woods.

Running again, she tripped on something hard and fell face first to the ground. Her shirt snagged on a sapling as she went down. The cotton tee shirt yanked to the side. It ripped but held and helped to break her fall, or at least slow the momentum of the tumble.

She pulled the shirt loose from the tree, rolled over on her back, and fought to catch her breath.

Her heart pounded.

The siren grew louder, then stopped.

A turkey vulture circled in the window of sky in the canopy of leaves above her. The bird arced to one side, disappeared for a few seconds above the trees, and came back into view, its graceful flight similar to a ballerina with arms wide open gliding silently across a stage.

Silence. Only her own breathing.

“Who are you?” she screamed.

“Why?” she screamed louder.

“Oh my God, why?”

A lump caught in her throat, but she didn’t cry, wouldn’t cry. Tears would make it real, not a nightmare. It had to all be a nightmare.

Holding her breath, she listened.

Nothing for a minute.

She exhaled.

A car ignition started from somewhere up the hill. Then the sound of gravel spraying behind it as it sped away.

She lay still, watching the vulture.”

Book cover by Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

Book cover by Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

You can pick up A Lovely County on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lovely-County-Lori-Ericson-ebook/dp/B00S5I1ILY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435930767&sr=1-1&keywords=lori+ericson

Also, check out Gil Miller’s blog The Book of Writing at https://gilmiller.wordpress.com. He’s got a lot of good advice on the craft. I loved his recent post on Stephen King and how we can admire but not copy his work.

Thanks for stopping by!