Brief Blip About The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

I've flown through the first twenty pages of The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson's first novel.

His graphic depictions right out of the gate of what it's like to be in an end-over-end car crash off a cliff -- to survive it, resting upside down in your crushed car, immobilized, as flames crisp your scalp -- are stunning. His precision in detailing the medical differences between first, second, and third degree burns (and "4th degree" burns, which theoretically can enter a person's bones) are first rate.

Here's how Davidson describes what it would be like being trapped in a burning car:

"And hold it there {he means hold your hands there on the electric coils of a fully heated stove burner.} Hold it there as the element scorches Dante's nine rings right into your palm, allowing you to grasp Hell in your hand forever....I have another task for you: lean down, turn your head to one side, and slap your cheek on the same element. I'll let you choose which side of your face....The convenient thing is that your ear is right there to capture the snap, crackle, and pop of your flesh.

"Now you may have some idea of what it was like for me to be pinned inside that car, unable to escape the flames, conscious enough to catalog the experience until I went into shock."

A writer who can sear images like that into your brain, so that they burn there forever, is rare.