Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #10

TITLE: Bloodlines
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

I left Kooper’s Tavern and made my way across the street. The usual trappings were already in place--yellow tape, flashing lights, scattered personnel. The only thing missing was the sickly sweet smell of spilt blood. The call I’d received indicated I’d find a burned body at the center of this crime scene. But even one burned beyond recognition would’ve contained enough blood for my senses to register. That I couldn’t meant one of two things--my senses were off, or there was no blood to be detected. Neither option was good.

I navigated past the police barricade, looking for a familiar face. Closer to the water, I saw one. At the entrance to Broadway Pier stood uniformed street officer Darnel Mells, every bit of his six-foot four frame on edge.

When I reached him, he handed me the clipboard he was carrying.

“Logbooks are for official police investigations.” I added my name, and then looked up at Mells. “So tell me, why am I signing this?”

“I called, you didn’t pick up.”

“Dammit, Mells.”

“Someone called 911. By the time I arrived, it was too late to move the body.” He glanced behind him. “Not that there’s much left to move.”

“Our kind at play?”

“You’re the expert on vamps gone wild.”

The end of the pier was cordoned off with a stretch of grey, fraying rope. As M.E. on the scene, anything on the other side of that rope was my domain. I lifted it up, stepped under it, and got to work.


  1. I love your attention to detail and the voice of these characters. Great setup!

  2. I agree with what Melody had to say, but would also like to add:

    I think it's great you don't tell us your MC is a vampire (or something like a vampire), but instead provide us with tells so we can figure it out. I almost want to tell you to think about removing the "expert on vamps gone wild" line because I don't think you need it. Or perhaps consider changing it to something a little more nebulous because I got the sense (and I may be wrong) that vampires aren't known to the general public in this reality. If so, it might even make more sense for Mells not to say "vamps."

    Anyway, I think this is a really great start - how could a murder scene not be! - and I would definitely read on!

    P.S. One tiny little note: I'm a huge fan of alliteration. Perhaps TOO huge a fan. So while I can definitely appreciate a line like: "...miSSing waS the Sickly Sweet Smell of Split blood," I think it might be a tad TOO alliterative. You may want to consider cutting one or two of those S sounds.

  3. The first line is generic - someone's leaving a bar. So? But the second is very interesting. I suggest you either come up with an inner thought with a hook for the first line, or combine the first with the second. The dialog raised more questions than it answered for me.

    Otherwise, the setting of a crime scene is a very good place to start the story. I'd read on.

  4. I do love a book that starts at a crime scene. That said, Lexa's right--the first line is a little generic. But the second line wouldn't work as an opener either. I'm thinking something very descriptive, terse, evocative.

    It occurs to me I don't yet know what time of day it is. Unless I missed something. But with your MC walking out of a bar, I don't know why, I pictured daytime. But nighttime is probably what you were going for?

    Reading it one last time, I want the prose to be a little bit moodier, creepier. But overall very good and sucked me in right away.

  5. I like the idea of a vampire coming to clean up a crime scene before the cops get there but agree with the above comments. Tweak your opening and make it more noir. I'd leave out the "vamps" line too. Good job!

  6. Thank you for the feedback and suggestions, everyone! I'll work more on the noir tone and the opening line.

    Scene is at night...I can work with the water at night imagery to get that point across. thanks!

  7. I like this! The UF-noir voice comes through clearly and I like the dialogue.

    I'm not sure the first sentence is quite working -- I'd rather start with the murder scene and leave out the movement. And I should warn you that UF is a hard genre right now, so I might be skeptical of this without a query that made it sound like it really stood out. But I'd read a little more to see where it went.