Need for Objective Eyes: Prologue: Crime Novel

Prologue

Independence day, 2005

Maria touched the diamond pendant on her chest, adjusted the rear view mirror, and drove to the nearest 7-11. Not wanting to wake the children, she pulled the car far around to the left side of the store in the last parking space next to the dumpster. She would only be a few minutes, they would be fine. She rolled down the windows a crack and locked the doors. The store was having a slow night for a holiday, and there was no one at the gas pumps. When she rounded the corner, the clerk was standing at the front door smoking a cigarette. He opened the door for her, tossed his cigarette away, and came inside.

Maria quickly grabbed the items she needed and made her way to the counter. The clerk rang up her purchase and she left the store holding a big bag full of groceries, a gallon of milk, her purse on her shoulder, and her keys in her hand.

A car had pulled up alongside of the BMW. She made her way not noticing if the car was occupied or not. She stepped between the dumpster and the BMW, and began fumbling to get her key in the door. It was an old Beamer without remote access. She managed to get the door open. Then she heard a kind voice, “Here, let me help you with that.”

“Sure,” she said, half muttering some sort of expression of appreciation as she handed over the carton of milk and the bag. She didn’t notice the gloved hands or think of them as odd in Florida in July. She turned to her car, leaned in, and flung her purse onto the car seat. She started to turn back to retrieve the items from the kind stranger.

She heard the bag tear, the crash of the plastic container, and felt the cold milk hit her bare legs. Startled, she looked around to see the silver blade glinting in the dark of the night as it came up to her chest. Shadowed by the figure, she saw no face. First the pressure, then the sharp pain, someone had her by the right shoulder; the pressure again and again. Oh, the pain! She pushed away against the door; was trapped, and too weak to fight. She wanted to scream, but found herself voiceless. There was no time to think. It happened in a flash. There were too many shadows swirling in her mind. Wanting to fight, she felt her grip tighten on her keys, her nails digging into her flesh, but the pain in her chest was sudden, intense, like a fiery hot coal exploding in her heart. It was blinding, this pain. Crippled by it, her hands relaxed. She dropped the keys. The perpetrator held to her. The scent of sensuous cologne and her own blood filled her nostrils; hard and heavy breathing in her ear. There was heat from the breath on her face, warmth, wet and trickling, now gushing down her abdomen, onto her thighs, and then nothing.

********

2008

“It’s been pure hell. We’ve been the prime suspects for three years. It was a vulgar crime. The children lay sleeping in the back seat while the criminals abducted, murdered, then urinated on their prey, leaving her dead body on the front seat of the BMW in a pool of blood. Torn grocery bag, busted gallon of milk, loaf of bread, donuts, cereal boxes scattered between the dumpster and the car. It appeared that she had fought them off furiously. Upon the supposed safety of her vehicle, she had attempted to find refuge there in escape. The perpetrators of this crime were brutal, far more hostile in their display of enmity than I could have been. Though, there were tormenting times when I thought myself to have conjured them, to have called them up from deep sub consciousness. Eerie, it was, to see the photos of her sprawled there on the car seat looking so helplessly frail. She was stabbed seven times in the chest. Dreadlocks lay loosely in a right hand that was once so tightly clinched in fight that her own nails marked her palm. Her wedding ring was missing from the left hand. Her purse and cell phone were gone. The diamond pendant she wore around her neck had been taken. There was some talk among authorities that she had been sexually assaulted, as well, but it was such a difficult scene to imagine in the side parking lot of a 7-11 at near midnight. DNA from hair and urine samples taken at the scene matched, but did not match the semen sample, giving rise to the notion of at least two, or more, abductors. None of them were either one of us.”

Questions:

  1. Does it make you want to read more?
  2. Is it cohesive enough between the actual murder and the suspect’s recollection of the police report information.
  3. Did it leave you with questions?
  4. What do you feel you need to know now?
  5. It is 800 words.  Too long or too short?

14 thoughts on “Need for Objective Eyes: Prologue: Crime Novel

  1. My personal feeling is that the POV of the victim doesn’t work for me. I’ve never liked those kinds of scenes, they feel false. Unless it’s going to be a ghost story, the first bit is unconnected to the rest of the novel–we won’t ever revisit that POV.

    I think a stronger prologue would concentrate on the experiences of the suspect entirely. That’s a story that isn’t told as often, and I think it’s every bit as strong. I’d like that expanded, starting with the night that she goes out and doesn’t come home,

    Then the police finding the body and the children, dealing with how the children are damaged by the experience, and then his reactions to the police treating him as the suspect rather than the victim, how it was handled in the press, his fight to find out what the police know, his frustration at knowing the killers are at large and the police are bothering him rather than looking for them.

    Finally, the waiting and the slow realization that the police have given up and aren’t even looking anymore.

    The details of the attack can be revealed in bits and pieces as he gets more info from the police, and we’ll start out sympathetic to him.

    • Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your point of view.

      I didn’t really want a long prologue. Part of the necessity for one is that the crime scene has been staged. I had a really long prologue explaining the last three years, but cut that. It seemed too much exposition and not enough action. Having more in the actual story about the involvement of the children is significant, but does it belong in the prologue?

      If I alter this brief prologue with too much info about the suspects, I risk divulging too much information. The suspect hires the detective/P.I., but he really has no sympathy at this point.

      I know the POV of the murdered won’t be revisited. It is this gruesome reality that I am attempting to display in having a third person omniscient POV of the victim only in the prologue. She dies with secrets only she is privy to.

  2. I don’t think you want a prologue to be too long. It may be the right length, but I wouldn’t try to add to it.

    I like that it starts out quickly, though I’m not in this target audience. The 2008 paragraph has me confused; this might be something you want to address. The 2005 section was good for me, but again I haven’t read this genre for several years.

    Good luck with your book. 🙂

    • I have one reader who loves the 2005 and another online whom it doesn’t work for. So you might be the tie breaker. I know that I don’t want it long. Going into what was written in 2008 might just be something best reserved for the interior of the book.

  3. I took the time to slowly read this and look at both parts, the 2005 part left me with lots of questions and did make me want to read more. With the 2008 part I wanted to know more about the suspects, why were they the prime suspects? perhaps a little hint or clue to lead the reader on. Why they’ve been suspects for 3 years with no decisions made. How their lives have been pure hell. Perhaps some more emotion about from the narrator of the 2008 piece. I had less questions about the second part.
    Hope this is of use.

    • I sincerely appreciate your time and attention. Great comments! The 2005 part seems to serve its purpose. That is to entice the reader to want to read more. The 2008 part seems to be a bit disconnected and confusing. I think I might be getting ahead of myself to have this in the prologue. The suspects are the husband of the victim and his gay partner/Personal Assistant. All of that comes out later in the book, and I think having this dialog in the prologue without introducing the Private Investigator first is too great of a challenge. I am leaning toward cutting the 2008 part out for now, and having a very brief dialog to show the murder just once. Showing the murder, since it is essentially a cold case, serves the purpose of having the reader become psychologically connected to her and the pain she suffered, which are necessary to the plot. The 2008 part can be integrated into dialog between the P.I. and the P.A. later, when they are introduced. Thank you so much for the feedback.

    • Also Rosie, I am looking for beta readers for when I have my first draft. I am only 10,000 words into the first draft, so it will be a while. I know that you know books, and know them well as a reader. Would you be interested in being a beta reader for the first draft?

    • I got that a lot. The murder through the murder victim’s eyes seems to work well. I dropped the second part. It was a cut out of a previous attempt at this WIP. I scraped it because I didn’t like the POV. It was the murder victim’s personal assistant relating the murder scene as he knew of it. It just didn’t fit. I want the prologue to be really short and intriguing. To keep that in, I would have had to explain too much and it would have been too long had I attempted to do so. Thanks for the input. I have been up writing all night and I am well along now. The murder is a cold case that my P.I. gets called in to try to solve when the cops seem to have given up. I’ll be writing the chapter where the murder scene gets explained today. I am having so much fun with this 🙂

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