Words I want to use - First edition

Have you ever been reading and come across a word you either didn't know or hadn't heard for a while? Or when the author uses the perfect word to describe a scenario? Each Wednesday, I will be providing the top 5 'Words I want to use' as found in the material I read during the previous week. Some of these words may become your new favourites as well. Click for more information.

Suzy Sharp Eyes

11/30/20223 min read

Feature format:

Each week, I will provide 5 Words I want to use as found in the material I encountered during the previous week. Each word will be accompanied by:

  • Definition: the definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

  • Location: the publication reference and page on which the word was used

  • Why this word? my reason for choosing the word

I hope you will enjoy this feature. I welcome your comments and feedback!

Today's Words I want to use come from one of my favourite authors Jonathan Kellerman. For those not familiar with this best-selling author, Kellerman is known for writing psychological thrillers centred around his lead character retired child psychologist and author Alex Delaware. Jonathan Kellerman is a psychologist and has written many other fiction and non-fiction books as well. Kellerman's wife Faye Kellerman is a renowned mystery writer. Their son, Jesse, has continued with the family writing career as a published playwright and novelist.

Last week, I found a book I hadn't read, co-authored by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman. While Alex Delaware does appear in this book, the lead character, Clay Edison, is a deputy with the coroner's office. The Kellermans use the same detailed, descriptive, slow-building style to draw the reader in. At first, I found this style frustrating, wondering how certain pieces of information could ever be important to a plot. Gradually, everything ties together until the final mystery is revealed. Fascinating!

Here are the top 5 Words I want to use as found in Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman's book from 2017, Crime Scene.

1. switcheroo (noun)

Definition: a startling variation, a reversal

Location: found on page 51. Deputy Edison-also the narrator of this novel- couldn't come up with a legitimate excuse to phone a client he had a romantic interest in, so he contacts a different person, stating "The old switcheroo".

Why this word? This word brought to mind an image of my father watching an episode of the western series Matlock. We had been discussing the plot and at the end of the episode my dad-in his best British accent- says "Aha, the old switcheroo!" Memories.

2. fusty (adjective)

Definition: British: - impaired by age or dampness - mouldy

Location: found on page 102. Deputy Edison is helping Tatiana (the Deputy coroner's romantic interest and daughter of a recently deceased client) clear boxes out of her father's basement. The author uses the following description for the basement "...stepping down into a long, fusty space that stank of rotting wood."

Why this word? I had not heard or seen the word fusty before, but I love the imagery it creates. A definite nose crinkler!

3. berserk (noun)

Definition: one whose actions are recklessly defiant

Location: found on page 115. The deputy coroner is recounting an occasion where his brother, Luke. took issue with the way his sibling blew through books, reading the last page first. The narrator states "What I won't forget is Luke's reaction: he went berserk, ripping the book out of my hands and winging it over the rear fence into the neighbour's yard; getting up in my face and screaming about cheating."

Why this word? Again, it is the imagery the word berserk evokes to which I'm drawn. Wild and out of control.

4. euphemistically (adverb)

Definition: the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant

Location: found on page 233. Deputy Edison is referencing a report from a scientific study "... referred to the murder euphemistically as 'the events of October 31, 1993'."

Why this word? I don't remember seeing the word euphemistically in a document before, though, it could be that this instance stands out because it is the perfect word used by the author, in the perfect context at the perfect time.

5. plasticky (adjective)

Definition: NB: while not specifically stated as a variation of the word plastic in the M-W dictionary, the term does relate to the texture and manufactured nature of a plastic item

Location: found on page 373. As Deputy Edison is leaving his boss's office, he becomes acutely aware of the almost mechanical, cold surroundings. "It all looked plasticky, deformed."

Why this word? I love the way the term plasticky in this context creates the perfect image of a fake, rigid space.

And there you have it, the first edition of my weekly feature Words I want to use. I hope you enjoyed it and will join for a new set of 5 words from this week's material.