‘Thick As Thieves’ Steals The scene
Just finished Peter Spiegelman’s THICK AS THIEVES, a 2011 caper novel. Really well done.
Spiegelman (author of BLACK MAPS and DEATHS LITTLE HELPERS, among others) uses an interesting schtick that I wouldn’t recommend to first-time novelists: He shifts from present-tense writing for most of the narrative, to past-tense for flashback sequences. And he often switches in the midst of chapters.
I sometimes get that question in the classes I teach. I often tell people they’re better off sticking to the common past-tense style throughout. It can be jarring for readers, which can jolt them out of the narrative. In short, it’s a good way for the readers to stop paying attention to your story, and start paying attention to your writing style.
It’s a high-wire act. But for the most part, Spiegelman makes it work in THICK AS THIEVES.