I would like your opinion on the beginning of my new e-novel. I would reveal the title, but I love it too much to share until it is released next month. This is a preview if you wish, the first five paragraphs of chapter one. Does it hook you into the story?
I have never killed anyone. I’m a writer for God’s sake. I have killed off fictional characters, but never a real person. But events beyond my control would change that.
If you have gone to work and discovered a dead man sitting in your chair, his head lying on your oak desk, blood pooling up with thick red droplets spilling slowly over the desk’s edge to splatter on the tile floor, his arms hanging limply towards the floor, one eye closed, the other vacantly staring at me, then you have an idea how my day started. I am not being insensitive. His day was worse than mine. But why was he at my desk? He was no stranger as I met him once, but at that time I knew little about him and when I discovered who he was, well, it was both a surprise and a mystery. Funny he never said anything about it when we met.
This was my second encounter with murder, having five years earlier solved the murder of film director William Desmond Taylor. I say solved as if I am a detective, but the truth of the matter, for I will only tell you the truth, is that the killer confessed to me, and did so at my office at then Famous Players-Lasky, now called Paramount, where I wrote scenarios and title cards for movies. I use the word ‘wrote’ in past tense, for I will no longer write title cards, but scenarios with dialogue. But that is my problem.
Anyway, only the killer of Taylor and I know the truth. Well, we two, along with the killer’s mother, possibly the sister and grandmother, maybe a policeman or two, assorted studio heads, and certainly the former District Attorney. As you can guess the case is solved only unofficially. Perhaps the case is still open, but I doubt if anyone is seriously trying to find the killer, and if so, they will never find him-or her. I have not even told my dear wife Eveleen, which I feel guilty about because she was with me at each stage of my so called investigation, though adventure is more like it. She is more adventurous than I am, and though I will not tell her this, she is also smarter. The killer swore me to silence and I honor my word, even to killers. I could have been a priest, except I am not Catholic, and not really religious, but people for some reason confide in me. Besides, the killer told me what happened, that it was an accident, and the explanation had the ring of truth. Eveleen, however, may not agree, and I want to put all that behind me; nothing to be gained now. For the record I am not convinced it was an accident.
But I am guessing you are more interested in the murder of Hans Bachmann. That is the man sitting in my chair; his head on my oak desk, blood flowing from a gaping slit across his throat. He had not been dead long.