Pale

By Ally Vordan (Twine; IFDB; play here)

Pale starts with what was, for me, an off-putting technical note. Okay, I can choose to play from Tobias’s (whoever that is) point of view… and I can’t play from Klaudia’s (whoever that is)? Perhaps this is/was a work in progress.

Anyway.

You’re Tobias, the handyman around these parts. These parts, for you, is a small town in Germany, called Bree. Things are quiet; the people are a peaceable sort… until you find Stefan dead and don’t tell anyone. As you try and deflect suspicion, you can only mire yourself deeper into trouble.

The writing is a little dry, but I’m not sure how to explain this, because it’s not for lack of details. The author has made the effort to include things which would be part of the daily landscape for a person living in a small community, things like grouses and small jealousies. The writing feels like it lacks emotion, though. Tobias speaks rather formally, which comes across as being emotionally flat about what would usually be emotive subjects.

I also had a grouse with the pacing, somewhat. Pale started with a halfway-promising hook – that you, the PC, had been accused to murder – but, in one branch, built up the setup rather slowly, and in another, never gave any payoff. That made one branch feel very unbalanced. The other lacked the suspense that one might find in similar ‘suspicion in a small town’ storylines such as in Broadchurch or Jagten.

As a side note: unless I am mistaken, the author was a little careless in releasing this… did you really leave a blank passage there?

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