Mark Reads ‘Terrier’: Part 23

In the twenty-third and penultimate part of Terrier, the Shadow Snake is found. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Terrier.

Wow. I feel weird! And it’s because this journey was so long and so stressful and holy shit. They did it. THEY DID IT. And it’s over, not entirely, of course, and I’m just FULL OF EMOTIONS.

Pierce creates an air of tension through the use of the weather and the growing unease and violence in the streets of the Lower City. The heat of the day is what opens Beka’s journal that Monday, as if the gods are aware of what’s about to happen and what has already happened. News of the discovery of the seventeen bodies in the basement of two of Crookshank’s properties has already spread, so Beka is interrupted from writing when she’s called for riot duty. Like I said in the video, I didn’t comment on the quiet crowd in the last part of this book, and now I see what it’s led to. It’s a scary thing for Beka, though! Having to deal with the chaos of a riot is a daunting task. As she puts it:

Anyone of the Lower City knows that sound and fears it. Folk caught up in a riot aren’t our cousins and sisters, our brothers and uncles. They are part of a big animal with many arms claws, armed with stones and sticks.

I think I would have liked to see just a bit more empathy on the part of the Dogs, though, even if it was a brief admission. Riots are scary! I know, as I was unfortunately part of the MacArthur Park May Day rallies in 2007 in Los Angeles. (Here’s a link to a Wiki on it, but it should come with a few warnings. It describes police brutality, and it is a goddamn lie that the LAPD told us to leave before shooting at us. That didn’t happen, and if it did, it was so poorly communicated that none of us heard it. Also, I’m actually one of the 50 people mentioned who filed a complaint with the LAPD, and surprise! Nothing came of it.) There’s no acknowledgment that some of these people are rioting because of yet another example of how they’re oppressed and taken advantage. Still, I understood that these group of people were perhaps angry at more than just the news of the bodies or at Crookshank’s involvement. Later on, the four of them come across looters who are taking advantage of the unrest to rob from people, and I was happy that distinction was made.

Anyway, I’m jumping ahead of myself. So, keeping in mind that the weather is scorching, part of the Lower City is rioting, the Dogs just closed a huge case, and now, pigeons are still swarming Beka, begging her to solve the Shadow Snake case, it was clear that Rosto’s arrival was big news. And really, the way that Pierce builds the atmosphere surrounding the story is why the whole things feels so surreal. Of course, Rosto’s information is the cherry on top because it’s the clue they needed: He knows where Yates Noll is hiding, and it’s entirely possible that Herun Lofts is being held there, too.

So it’s not lost on me that as the five of them (Ersken and Pounce included) head to the Sheepmire, thunder breaks out. (And then Garth Brooks’ “Thunder Rolls” plays dramatically in the background.) This whole confrontation is the one thing we’ve been waiting for the whole book, and in it, we discover the truth: That the suspicion they held of Yates Noll was correct. It’s relieving in one sense, but it’s laced with a sadness. I don’t feel bad that Yates is dead, but I’m sad for the victims he’s left in his wake who will never get to look him in the eye, who will live the rest of their lives without much closure at all. Which isn’t to suggest that justice comes from this sort of confrontation. I’m sure many of the Shadow Snake’s victims will never experience closure. But when he plunged that dagger into his throat, he took the easy way out. He’d never have to pay for his crimes. Of course, Goodwin points out that he saved the city a ton of money and he would have died anyway. Plus, they stopped him. And that’s what matters: He cannot kidnap, kill, and exploit ever again.

Not everything is resolved by this. They never found Yates’ stash, and I hardly think he gave away or sold everything he stole, you know? As they trudge back to their kennel, the rain fails, a symbolic gesture of cleansing that reminded me of the bathhouse scene in the last section. You could even say the hail that fell after this was a sign of the gods’ distaste. (All conjecture, obviously, but I love the use of weather as a visual metaphor.) But the worst part about this?

Someone is going to have to tell Mistress Noll that her son is dead and that he was the Shadow Snake.

I am relieved that this horror is ending, but I can’t say I’m eager for this conversation. It’s sad. And it still remains to be seen how much Mistress Noll knew about what her son did. Regardless of the outcome, it’s a terrible thing that Beka has to do. She has to tell a mother that her son is gone forever. Gods, I’m almost done with this book, but it’s clearly done with me.

The original text contains use of the words “mad” and “idiot.”

Part 1

Part 2

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
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– Inspired by last year’s impromptu park event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all the currently-planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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