Friday, December 2, 2011

#7 Mystery: Death by High Heels

TITLE: Death by High Heels
GENRE: Mystery

Private Investigator Kimberly Murphy is caught standing over a dead body, again, only this time it isn’t her fault. With her name at the top of the suspect list, Kim searches for the killer. Too bad her efforts lead to dead ends and even more dead bodies. To clear her name, Kim will have to catch a clever killer while evading a hot homicide detective determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind.

Cops hate it when you vomit all over their crime scene – a mistake I had no desire to repeat. Then again, the fact that I’d just trampled all over this scene was probably a whole new mistake I should have avoided. I stared at the corpse and fought the urge to hurl. If only I hadn’t answered the door, I’d be eating dinner instead of standing in my neighbor’s apartment looking at a dead guy.

I’ve seen plenty of weird crap but this had to be the weirdest. The guy was just sitting there in the chair. Looking at him you would think he was asleep - if not for all the blood and his guts spilled onto his lap. I tore my eyes from him and asked my ditzy neighbor the question I most wanted the answer to.

“What the hell did you hit him with?”

Lindsay dropped the strand of blond hair she’d been twirling and glanced down at floor. “My shoe.”

“Damn it, Lindsay, you can’t kill someone with a shoe!”

“Hello, they’re Via Spiga.”

“Ugh.” I glared at her. There was no way in hell she had done this kind of damage with a shoe. If she had, women would soon be saying goodbye to their much-beloved accessory. Men-even NRA members- would insist on an instant ban of the deadly yet sexy weapon.

I set my hands on my hips. “Any idea how he got this giant hole in his stomach?”

15 comments:

Bron said...

I've read this before and you've improved it greatly since then. I liked your voice in the first version I read, but my recollection was there was a lot of dialogue back and forth with not much grounding. It's something I'm trying to fix in my own writing so I sympathise. I like that you've taken a few paragraphs to set it up so we have a better idea of where the scene is taking place, and there's now some action interspersed with the dialogue. Good job, and good luck with the auction.

Anonymous said...

This is really funny, on so many levels. I want to know more about this neighbor, is she a dominatrix? Her nonchalance does perhaps strain credibility just a tad, though.

geewiz said...

There are so many great lines in both the logline and the opening. I also recognize the progress this story has made and applaud the effort. Good job on the rewrites.

Keep pushing and good luck.

Escape Artist said...

Hey, well done for getting up there! It's nice to see a few that posted for critiques on my site gained a spot!
Well done and good luck! I'll be watching! : )

K. Cooper said...

Oh, love the voice here. This is sassy and to the point, with enough details to ground me in the situation and make me want more. My only question is if you could play up the nausea thing a bit more, only so that we can really feel we're in the MC's head the whole time. (I don't mean describing her puke, I mean the stomach twisting sensation). I mean, the man has his guts in his lap, so I'd expect her dialogue and actions to be a bit more...visceral, rather than nonchalant. If you do it right, this will still be sassy but your character will be a bit more realistic. Like, for example, having her walk away from the bloody dead guy, hand on her stomach, reaching out to lean on a wall because she's dizzy from the smell (there'd be a smell) as she says What the hell did you hit him with?

Durango Writer said...

I, too, love the sassy nature of this gal. And, she provides a lot of opportunity for those great one-liners.

The logline is very strong. However, the first line tripped me up:
"only this time it isn’t her fault."
Were the other times her fault?

Or do you mean, "only this time it wasn't her choice."

Or, "only this time, she's the prime suspect."

A possible rewrite could be:
Private Investigator Kimberly Murphy is caught standing over a dead body, again -- except this time she's the prime suspect. Too bad her efforts to find the killer and clear her name lead to dead ends and even more dead bodies. All the while, she must evade a hot homicide detective determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind.

Jamie Grey said...

This is a lot of fun! I love the logline and the dialogue in your opening is fantastic. I agree with some of the other commenters that she comes across as a little too flippant for standing over a body with guts in his lap. Maybe grounding that a little more in internal thoughts or the nausea would help with that.

Overall though I love this! Good luck!

Gabrielle Harbowy said...

Very cute. "...and not the pink, fuzzy kind" in the logline instantly tells us what kind of character and story we can expect, and the opening doesn't disappoint.

I think the prose could use a little polish. Every line needs to be as tight and snappy as possible to sustain the sassy tone. "the question I most wanted the answer to" could become the "million dollar question" or the "question of the hour" or "the obvious." Also at the bottom, "Men-even NRA members-" feels a little clumsy to me. The same idea could be conveyed in a tighter, punchier way.

You're off to a great start, though!

R.C. Lewis said...

I also got a little question-mark in my head with the start of the logline, making me think, "So it's been her 'fault' all the other times, but that never led to putting her on the suspect list before?" It's a minor thing, and easily remedied, I'm sure.

Great voice throughout this. Kind of feels like mystery-meets-chick-lit ... a little.

It seems like even a ditzy neighbor (maybe *especially* a ditzy neighbor) would be freaking out a lot more. I can buy that the MC has seen a few corpses in her time and can deal, even if she still gets the physiological puke reflex. But the neighbor just twirling her hair, not even a note of her hands shaking? That felt odd.

Like I said, though, great voice and jumps right into things. Good luck! :)

Nancy Bilyeau said...

Love the voice and the playfulness, both in the logline and the opening excerpt. It's very female and yet is's hardboiled too, with talk of vomit and images of intestines.

Love this line: “Hello, they’re Via Spiga.”


A few quibbles: Do you "stand over" a dead body in a chair? I can't imagine how a neighbor summoned to the apartment would be suspected of murdering a guy she doesn't know. Also I'm not getting a spatial sense of these apartments. Is this a complex and she was down the hall? Where in America? Luxury condos or rat-traps? Consider weaving in a sense of place.

Kelly said...

I really like this excerpt. The voice is great and I immediately like Kim. This is very nitpicky, but the second sentence seems a little wordy to me. It doesn't flow quite as well as the rest of the excerpt.

Also, I agree that I would like to see her need to vomit woven throughout more of the page. When I first read "Ugh." I imagined her trying not to gag.

I definitely want to know what happens next. Great job and good luck with the auction!

Ailsa said...

Ooh, I really like the voice in this one :)

I'm interested in how this time the body she's standing over isn't her fault - if she's caused a dead body before, why wasn't she arrested for it? Those are things that I expect would be answered in the next few paragraphs.
I also want to find out how she goes from talking to a neighbour who's killed someone, to being accused of that murder.

I don't really have any criticisms for the writing, I just would like to read on, and hopefully my questions would be answered in the next few paragraphs, or at least the first chapter.

Good luck with the auction!

writerdude said...

Infectous voice. Ditto the crits re: standing over the body in the chair.

Would love to read more and see if this story delivers.

Good luck in the auction.

Kay said...

Great, humorous voice.

I cracked up over the first line, "Cops hate it when you vomit all over their crime scene ..." Super opening line.

I, too, got tripped up with "this time" it not being her fault. I'm assuming the other times it wasn't her fault either.

It flows well and I'd read on. Good luck with the auction.

Josh Getzler said...

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