That's the first sentence of Stave 1 in A Christmas Carol. What? Is he no longer dead? Was he not dead at the time of the story? Or should Dickens have written: “Marley is dead: to begin with”?
It's my son's fault. He gave me a book to read, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, in which the author played with the present tense. I say played because he wasn't consistent in its use. I wish he had been. It's the reason I read the book.
Since I mentioned it, allow me to give you a brief synopsis and we'll count this as a book review.
From this you should understand why I was loathe to read it. Still, I hoped for the redemption of a character or two and pressed on to the last page intrigued by the present verb tense at those points when the author chose to use it.
I was intrigued enough to rip apart the novel I am working on currently and try the experiment for myself. However, unlike my mentor, Mr. McCarthy, I'm applying it universally, from page one to the last page. In a word, I'm pleased with the result thus far. Hopefully, so will you.
I've published an Excerpt from The Accidental Spy on my website so that you may judge for yourself. Please let me know what you think.