Kitty Hawk And The Icelandic Intrique (Kitty Hawk 3) By Iain Reading [Book Review – Mystery Month]

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Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3) by Iain Reading | Mystery | Young Adult | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author’s publicist.

Summary:

Following in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart, Kitty Hawk sets off on an epic flight around the world and arrives in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik where she finds herself immersed in a beautiful alien world of volcanoes, Vikings, elves and trolls. Before she knows it Kitty is plunged head first into an amazing adventure that sweeps her across a rugged landscape where humans and nature exist side-by-side in an uneasy truce and magical realms seem to lie just out of sight beneath the surface.

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is the dazzling third installment of the Flying Detective Agency series featuring Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenaged seaplane pilot with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into – and out of – all kinds of precarious situations.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

Like the other Kitty Hawk books, I enjoy the art style of the cover. I especially love that there’s a little bit of everything from the novel on the cover. It really gives you a sense of the story and it’s well done.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the first two Kitty Hawk books so I had a feeling I’d enjoy this one as well.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Kitty, continuing her Amelia Earhart journey, arrives in Iceland. Staying with a friend of a friend, she learns a lot about Iceland’s food, customs, and even legends as she comes across elves, trolls, as well as a very real volcano.

The plot is similar to the previous Kitty Hawk books. Kitty arrives at a new place and comes across some sort of crime or mystery and noses her way into the business. All the while she learns geography and history of the area educating the readers along the way.

This one had more intense moments and the pace was faster at some points, which I enjoyed.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

Kitty is still a fun character to follow. I’ll admit, there are times I feel like she’s older than she’s supposed to be and other times it feels like she’s younger than she’s supposed to be.

The Icelandic family Kitty stayed with were nice. I feel like I didn’t see them as much as I wanted to. The ending was great with them but I didn’t get as much a chance to really get to know them.

Then there was Finn. Despite the questions about his character (I won’t say due to spoilers), I would love to see more of him even though I know that won’t happen.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is written in Kitty’s POV. It has a great flow and the pace is good. As I said earlier, there were more tense moments in this one which was great.

It’s easy to read and while it’s a decent length, it’s a quick read. It’s one of those books you just keep going before you realize you’ve spent your whole day reading.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a great installment to the Kitty Hawk series. If you enjoy a little mystery as well as history and geography, give this series a try.

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“We’re used to living with the different whims of nature. Maybe that’s why we feel so much more connected to the Earth.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (Kitty Hawk 3)

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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How To Use Red Herrings To Your Advantage [Mystery Month]

Red herrings are fake clues that are left around – either by accident or on purpose – to through an investigator off the trail when solving a crime.

They’re a lot of fun to throw into your mystery novel to throw the readers off track as well. Or maybe they know the truth and they can get frustrated with the investigator when they get thrown off. Either way, they’re fun to write and can sometimes be used to keep the readers on their toes and turning the pages.

How to use red herrings to your advantage | Mystery Writing | Creative Writing | Crime | Thriller | Suspense | RachelPoli.com

What Can Red Herrings Be?

Anything that’s a noun can be a red herring – a people, place, or thing.

Sometimes criminals can leave an object as a “clue” such as a fake weapon. Or, they can murder someone in their home and move the body elsewhere making it seem like it took place somewhere else. That also allows them to sometimes change how the death occurred as well.

Red herrings can also be a person as the culprit can try to frame someone or they may have been a person at the wrong place in the wrong time.

Real Red Herrings and Fake Red Herrings

Of course, I just explained that red herrings are “fake” clues that drop throughout the story. So, how can you have a real one? What I mean is you can have a fake-fake clue or a real-fake clue. In other words, by accident or on purpose.

Real Red Herrings

A real red herring can be a fake clue left on purpose. This can typically be done by the culprit to throw the investigators off their trail. They might move the body after they’ve killed the victim to make it seem like the crime scene was a different spot. They may frame a different person for the crime. Some criminals are crafty, others are not.

Fake Red Herrings

This is an accidental red herring. A clue might be brought in due to lack of judgement or poor deducing skills on an investigator. They might think something about the crime scene is off when, in fact, it’s nothing at all.

How Can You Use This To Your Advantage?

This allows the culprit a little more time to get away. Do we want that? No. But does it add great tension? Yes. Although, it is okay to let the bad guy get away once in a while. Unfortunately, that happens in real life and it’ll really make your readers think.

Using real red herrings is a great way to throw your readers off along with the investigator in the story. It’ll make them think. The same goes for the fake red herrings, though depending on what kind of information you give to your readers, they may know the truth and will yelling at the book wishing the characters could hear them.

Red herrings add a little extra to the story. It really gets the tension high when the protagonist chases after a clue only for it to turn out to be nothing. It wasn’t their time and time is important – especially when you’re looking for a missing persons, for example.

Why Are Fake Clues Called Red Herrings?

I have no idea. If anyone knows the answer to that, please let me know. I’m curious.

Do you use red herrings often? How do you usually go about it? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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A List Of Mystery Resources [Mystery Month]

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I’ve gone through many books and websites researching the craft of mystery writing and also just research for mysteries and crime in general. Here are some of my favorites.

A list of mystery resource books | Mystery writing | Creative writing | writing craft | RachelPoli.com

Books

1. Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron
2. The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck
3. Now Write! Mysteries by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson
4. Police Procedure & Investigation by Lee Lofland
5. Book of Poisons by Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon
6. Forensics by D.P. Lyle

Websites

1. Writing World – They have a great mystery section.
2. Writer’s Digest – A well known site that has articles about writing mysteries and thrillers.
3. Mystery Cozy – Not really updated anymore, but a great place to find other resources.

What are some of your favorite resources? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Writing The Mystery Short Story [Mystery Month]

Writing a mystery is hard, but writing a mystery short story is even harder. Mysteries can take a lot out of you – between the crime taking place, the long investigation process, and so on. It easier to pack that into a longer novel than it is to jam into a short story.

Still, it’s a pretty good feat if you’re able to jam all that information into a short story.

But how do you make sure you don’t leave out any important information? How do you make sure you don’t make the story go too fast?

Writing the Mystery Short Story | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Mystery Writing | RachelPoli.com

Every story is written in the same general way. The exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and finally the resolution. Writing a short story is no different than that, it’s just condensed.

So, how do you go about trying to condense it all?

1. Find the problem
2. Access the problem
3. Figure it out
4. Conclusion

Start with the problem

Throw your characters into the action right away. Have them start at the crime scene already and throw in a little background if need be. It adds tension to the story right away and cuts out a little time. Sometimes you don’t need to show how your characters came across the problem. They can explain it throughout the story if they have to, but that information doesn’t always need to be known.

Access the problem

This can go hand in hand with the first and third points I listed above. Accessing the problem can be done during the discovery of the problem and also during the investigation. Things have a way of falling into place.

Figure it out

This is obviously easier said than done and, in a short story, this may be your longest part.

Drop the clues carefully and allow your protagonist – or whoever is investigating – to deduce with logic in an attempt to figure things out in a timely manner for the plot, but faster for the word count of the story.

Conclusion

This would be the big reveal. The investigator explains the problem, how it came to be, and why. Someone is arrested or accused.

See? Easy-peasy. I mean, not really… but then again, I can’t exactly go about telling you how to write your own short story. Still, this is a good start.

How do you go about writing a mystery short story? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Meet Roger Peppercorn, Author [Interview]

Roger Peppercorn | Author Interview | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Things about myself? Well I’m not sure where to begin. I really don’t like talking about myself  *cough* but if I must pontificate about myself at length I will marshal on. It’s funny because as a writer you are of two minds the narcissist and the demur. I say this laughingly because if you give me a mic and an audience of at least one it’s like flipping a switch.  I like to tell stories and make people laugh. It’s what I am best at. I obviously can’t speak for other writers but I would be willing to bet they too are victims of their own hubris. I was raised as a child during the economic downturn that gripped the Western slope of Colorado.

As a child I often spent a lot of time daydreaming. The stories and events that lived in mind were fantastical in nature. As I grew older I often times would watch others and create elaborate fantasies. I wasn’t really all that popular but I did pretty well of fitting in. I wasn’t the class clown or a real show off but I did a good job of framing heroes and villains in stories.

In my mine tween years I started to craft the ability to tell stories. Particularly during English for book reports. But it wasn’t until I took a writing class at a local community college where I really started to write. I don’t recall how many words or pages you were required to crank out daily but I know it felt like a lot. It’s also where I really started to work out scenes and play around with dialogue.

I’ve said this before but the line between good and bad is not always clearly black hat or white hat. It’s this conflict I’ve always been drawn too. To me stories about crime are far more interesting when the actions and words of the characters slide in and out of good and bad behavior. The procedural stuff is a means to bring the story to conclusion but friction between people is what makes a scene really pop on the page.

When I started this book a long time ago it started with the scene in Pea Green Hall. The main thrust of how it is written today holds true to how I saw it in my mind before I wrote it and how it “wrote” are different.

 How long have you been writing for?

Really long and not very long at all. I’ve had a couple of different ideas for stories and have attempted to write them but for a lot of reasons they just never reached the end. That’s the really long side but the short side is about five years. Like I was just saying this novel started with a scene and from there I started to build a story around it. The difference for me is I always had started a story from the start and had tried to walk it through to the end. One seems like a better way than the other but hey, this one scene is how this book got written and published.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Honestly the motivation is to get the words and images out of my head. I lived with the first book for about two years in my head and dreams before I set down to write it. Most of the stuff I produce that I really like comes out of living with it for a while. Turning it over and over. Wash, rinse and repeat. This book came about because I just wanted to get it out of my head and on the page to read.

I really got serious about writing when I started my blog. I know, I know everyone has one and some of them are really not good at all I leave them up for better or worse because it’s a way for me to gauge how I am progressing and maturing in the words and how they fit together.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

Because I’m not wealthy my typical day is just like everyone else’s. Get up and go to work come home, hang with the kids and wife. But when it comes to writing I generally write in evenings after the kids have went to bed. My day job takes me on the road so I spend a lot of time in hotels, airports and behind the wheel. The airports and windshield time is where I do a good portion of scene layouts and dialogue.

On nights or weekends when I write there are a few things that for me are a must. First the room temp has to be around seventy five or eighty. I don’t like cool wind blowing on me when I write so no air-conditioning. I don’t like my arms sticking to the top of a desk so a lot of time I have a blanket or a towel to keep me from sticking to the desk.

Like now I am sitting in a recliner with pillows stacked around me to prop up my arms and my laptop is on top of another one. The only thing missing is some type of drink. Mostly I like coffee when I write but booze works pretty good as well.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I got an email in late fall of 2016. What I remember most is the grin and the satisfaction of all the hard work and slaving over the words, grammar, spelling and formatting had finally paid off. The compliment I got from Leesa at Wallace Publishing was something I will not ever forget.

But as to your question as to what I did. First I showed my wife the letter and then we both toasted the good news and after that had a really nice evening. The details of which I will leave to your imagination. It was a really good day.

What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?

The editing process takes a while to get through especially as an unpublished writer. Wallace did a great job with the particulars of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

I really did feel for them because when I was in high school grammar and English weren’t high on my list of things to succeed at. My girlfriend at the time used to do most of the English work for me which is exactly what it sounds like.

Overall it took about thirteen months and I think we went through two major edits, one minor and one really superficial final edit. But other than grammar and some rewording of some sentences there was only one paragraph we cut. So what you read today is very close to what went to the publisher.

The thing I liked the most was I was in control and had final say on what went to print. I learned a lot and am still learning a lot about the process of writing and self-promotion.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Why yes I am. Right now I am working on some research and supporting characters for the follow up novel which is titled The Sometimes Long Road Home. It takes place about 18 months after On the Devils Side of Heaven.

Walt is a cop in Fruita and a fulltime single father which he’s never had to be. Not to mention sobriety and just being a responsible adult. For a guy like that it’s a lot to take on suddenly. Ronald is still whereabouts unknown but when he shows up he too is a different character. Jessica is still reeling from her dramatic experience and all in all life in Fruita is a lot different now for everyone. So you get to see how all of this plays out.

Oh and there is a murder or two and some dinosaurs so that makes it interesting.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

That’s funny.

I wish I was an established writer with the income to go along with it. But I still have one of those “day jobs”. In fact it’s the same job I’ve had for almost twenty years. I work in telecommunications. I travel a good deal which is fodder for the books and occasional blog.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Honestly it’s how much effort marketing and promoting takes. As chic as the title of indie author is you are not the recipient of a larger agency who promote these for you. It takes a long time to build an audience and readership. In the end its worth it because it’s yours for better or worse and no one is a better guardian and promoter than you are.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

I have always liked a good adventure and thriller. Books that on its face require you to buy into these worlds where things happen that you know are not believable in reality. Especially in the digital world of today.

James Lee Burke is my all-time favorite author I’ve read just about everything he has written. His world and characters are visceral.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You have to love the process of storytelling first and foremost. Write the stories you want to read and write for your enjoyment and freedom of movement of the mind and expression. Unless you have the magic ticket to literary freedom and success be prepared for a very long road to getting published. Building an audience and a following takes time, energy and some money on your part. But there are a lot of support on social media that can help. Lastly don’t expect anyone in the “bookstore” business to really help out a lot. You are your own best advocate for your work and your brand

Sometimes stories or scenes just don’t write and when it happens take some time for reflection maybe hit the backspace key a few times and either start again or better yet look for those off beat paths that are adjacent to the one you are working on. But never let it stop the story.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to write. The written word is everlasting and the core of all the arts. Plays, movies and songs don’t exist without words. My fifth grade teacher gave me probably the best advice I still use today. Never use the same word to start a sentence in the same paragraph and take care not to use the word “that” too often.

Other than that no one should tell you how to tell your stories. But when a reader takes the time to give you feedback remove the ego and listen. It will only make you better.

About Roger Peppercorn

Roger Peppercorn has suffered for the better part of his life from wanderlust and this need to see the other side of the horizon has taken him to all parts of the world. The people and backdrop of his travels have served as the inspiration behind his characters and storytelling. As a child, his mother taught him to read and write. His father’s collection of Louis Lamour novels provoked the fantastical images in his mind and the romance of the written word. In the seventh grade, his history teacher brought the characters of a bygone era alive. From that point on, Roger began to hone his skills in storytelling. After high school, Roger took a course in creative writing that was taught by a long haired hippy in a Hawaiian shirt. Roger’s grandmother used to tell tales of traveling across the plains in a covered wagon, the woes of having a son sent off to war, and the larger-than-life man she met at Pea Green Hall who later became her husband. His first two novels “On The Devils Side of Heaven” and “The Sometimes Long Road Home” take place on the western slopes of Colorado, in the sleepy town of Fruita, where he grew up. They center on the strained relationships and sorted histories of three characters – Walt, Ronald and Jessica, and violence that erupts around them. Roger is married and is a father of four beautiful children. He currently calls South Dakota his home.

Connect With Roger Peppercorn

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 On The Devil's Side of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn | Author Interview | Crime Thriller | RachelPoli.comCheck Out On The Devil’s Side of Heaven

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Short Story Sunday 213: Number One Suspect [Part 3 – Mystery Month]

Short Story: "Number One Suspect" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | Mystery | RachelPoli.com
DID YOU READ PART ONE AND PART TWO?

            George held open the door for Lilah as soon as they made it Prevalli’s Restaurant. Lilah walked in first and then stepped to the side to let George walk in front of her. She figured now would be a good time to let him handle all the talking.

“Hello, how are you?” the hostess greeted them right away.

“I’m doing well, how are you?” George replied with a polite smile.

“Great,” she said a little too enthusiastically in Lilah’s opinion. She picked up two menus and looked back up at George. “Table for two? Would you like a booth?”

“No, thank you. We’re not here to eat.” George declined. “Is your manager around?”

The hostess paused for a moment before she finally nodded her head. Her voice shaking she said, “Oh, sure. Let me… Just let me go get him.”

“Please don’t worry,” George squinted at her name tag, “Maria. We’re only here to ask some follow up questions about Jayden Bell.”

Maria let out a small sigh of relief. “Oh, right… Sure, I’ll page him right away.”

“Thank you,” George dipped his head in thanks and then stepped back to give him some space. Lilah followed closely behind.

“So,” she whispered to him, “What exactly is your plan?”

“I want to know what he thinks about Jayden’s death. I want to know whether or not he believes Steven is the killer.” George said simply.

Lilah shook her head. “Why do we care about what he thinks, though? Anyone who would be involved with this case, the money going missing as well as the murder, would be Jayden herself, Steven, and the bank.”

“Lilah, did you ever have a job before you came to me?” George asked.

“I worked at the bookstore part time at my college. Does that count?” she replied.

George nodded. “Now, tell me, did you ever talk behind another employee’s back when they weren’t on duty? Or did you talk about your boss to your co-workers? Maybe you complained about a couple of customers?”

“Of course,” Lilah shrugged. “Doesn’t everyone?”

“And through that gossip, you get close to your co-workers, right? You get to know each other a little better, especially about what’s going on in your life.”

Lilah groaned. “Can you just tell me straight up what you’re trying to say instead of going around the bush?”

“It’s beating around the bush,”

“Whatever,”

“Anyway,” George cleared his throat, “If something stressful is going on in your personal, most people go to work and talk about it. Their co-workers don’t know anything about them outside of work. They’re not friends or relatives with the people you know outside of work. Before I became a police officer I used to talk about the happenings in my family all the time; the good and the bad. Then when I became an officer, I only talked about other things. Everyone knew Barney and my other siblings because we’re all in the same field. I can’t gossip about them at work because it would get back to them. Do you see what I’m trying to say?”

Lilah nodded with a bored sigh. “Yes. It was very long-winded, but yes. I get it. So you think Jayden’s co-workers might know more of what happened because she might have talked about it at work?”

“Exactly,” George nodded.

“Well, that’s stupid.”

George raised an eyebrow looking down at her. “Now what?”

“If Jayden was stealing money from her own bank account, from her own husband, why would she boast about it at work?” Lilah asked.

George chuckled. “Because she didn’t think she would ever get caught… Also, she didn’t think she’d get killed for it. You have to always be careful who you say things to, Lilah. Remember that.”

“You’re being cryptic again…” Lilah said through gritted teeth.

George ignored her and smiled at someone else. Lilah turned her head to see a tall man in a fancy suit walking towards them. His shoulders were so broad she thought they were going to rip right through his suit jacket.

“I’m Noah Lang, the manager here. How can I help you?” the man said as he approached. He stuck out his hand towards George and he shook it.

“George Florence, private investigator.” He said and then pointed to Lilah. “This is my assistant, Lilah Williams.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Noah smiled at Lilah as he shook her hand. She smiled politely back, but Noah had turned his attention back to George before she could say anything to him.

“Private investigator, huh?” he said stroking his chin. “Is everything okay?”

“We just came here to ask a few questions pertaining to Jayden Bell’s death. Is it okay if we speak in a more private place?” George asked.

“Of course,” Noah agreed willingly.

He led them down through the entire restaurant. Lilah was impressed at how crowded it was, even though it was only lunchtime. The lights were dim, the tables and chairs were in great shape, and even the carpet underneath her feet was fancy. It looked so plush she had to do everything in her power to not bend down to stroke it with her hands. Or, better yet, take off her shoes and pretend she was at the beach.

She had never been in this restaurant before. Mostly because it was a little too fancy for her taste and it was also really expensive. Still, as they walked by the kitchen, Lilah got a whiff of a steak and her mouth began to water.

“Here we are. This is my office. Please feel free to make yourself at home.” Noah opened the door and allowed George and Lilah to enter first.

Lilah followed George in and the two of them took a seat on the other side of Noah’s desk.

“So,” Noah began as he sat down, “If you don’t mind my asking, why is there a private investigator involved with this case? The police had already come to question me about Jayden’s death and I’ve heard that they already caught the killer.”

“Well, that’s why we’re here. Steven Bell, the suspect and Jayden’s husband, hired us to help him out.” George stated.

Lilah cautiously turned her head to look at George. She didn’t want to be too obvious that she had no idea what he was talking about. As far as she knew, Steven never hired them.

Then again, this must have been one of those “rules” George was talking about earlier that they were allowed to break.

Noah snorted as he leaned back in his chair and made himself more comfortable. “Well, good luck to you on that one. I’m pretty sure that’s a loss cause.”

“What makes you say that?” George asked.

Lilah turned her attention to Noah surprised. She took out her notebook from her bag and clicked open her pen ready to jot down anything and everything this man said.

Noah shrugged his shoulders. “Jayden was going to divorce Steven and he wasn’t happy about it. I’m pretty sure he killed her because if he couldn’t have her, no one could. It’s happened before.”

Lilah wrote the word “divorce” in capital letters. Divorce had never come up in the case before. Whether Barney knew about it or not, Lilah wasn’t sure.

“Was Jayden afraid of him? Is that why she talked about her divorce?” George asked.

Noah glanced up at the ceiling thinking of an answer. “I wouldn’t say she was afraid of him. She seemed more annoyed with him than anything else.”

“Why did she want to divorce him?”

“She…” Noah sighed. “Well, I don’t know if I should be saying anything at all.”

“Please. Every piece of information helps.” Lilah said.

Noah groaned. “Jayden was cheating on Steven with someone else. She was feeling guilty about it and wanted to divorce him.”

“Do you know the man who she was having an affair with?” George asked.

Noah shrugged. “She never mentioned his name.”

“Excuse me,” Maria knocked on the door and poked her head in. “I’m really sorry to interrupt, but we have some unsatisfied customers. They’re not very happy and demand to speak with you.”

“I’m coming,” Noah stood up from his chair and buttoned his jacket. He rolled his eyes at George. “Time to go put a smile… Please excuse me, I’ll be right back.”

“Of course, take your time.” George replied.

Noah left the office and Maria smiled apologetically to them. “I tried to hold them off, I knew he was busy talking to the police. I’m sorry.”

“He’s at work right now. We understand.” George said giving her a reassuming smile.

Maria nodded and ducked out of the office closing the door behind her.

Lilah jumped out of her seat and walked around to the other side of the desk.

“What are you doing?” George demanded.

“I’m snooping.”

“You can’t snoop!”

“Well, it’s not snooping… It’s peeking.”

“What…?”

Lilah groaned. “While Noah was explaining something to you, I noticed this slip of paper here.” She pointed to a small notepad on the side of his desk.

“Don’t touch that,” George warned.

“I’m not,” Lilah said sternly. “But there’s a number on it.” She started copying the number down in her own notebook.

“What kind of number?” George craned his neck to see.

Lilah ran around the other side of the desk and sat back down in her seat closing her notebook. She stuffed it back inside her bag and whispered, “A bank account number.”

As if on cue, Noah opened the door to his office. “I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Someone’s steak was a little dry and they have to involve me instead of just sending it back to the cook. You know, we put steak sauce on the table for a reason. No cook is perfect and neither are the cows.”

At the same time, George and Lilah stood from their chairs.

“Some people are just rude, what can you do?” Lilah chuckled.

“Well, thank you for chatting with us, Noah. If we have any follow up questions, we’ll be sure to get in touch.” George extended his hand for a goodbye shake.

Noah took it and looked at George suspiciously. “Oh? That’s it?”

“That’s it,”

“Okay, well… have a nice rest of your day.”

George returned the gesture and, after letting Lilah walk in front of him, the two exited the restaurant.

Words: 1,733

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven By Roger Peppercorn [Book Review – Mystery Month]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

On the Devil's Side of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn | Crime Thriller | Mystery | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital review copy from the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

With the drop of a judge’s gavel, Walt Walker has finally lost everything. The badge and gun he used to carry and the moral certainty of right and wrong, good and evil that used to keep him grounded. Now Walt, sans gun, gets his badges from an Army Navy store. He spends his days in South Florida, working for a boutique insurance firm as their investigator. He spends his nights in dive bars, trying to forget the mess he has made of his life.

Ronald Jacobs always preferred the title Human Resource Manger to Hitman. But now that he’s retired, he can concentrate on living in the shadows as a respectable gentlemen farmer. Far from the reach and pull of his past life.

Their transgressions are behind them but a chance encounter and a failed assassination attempt sets the two of them on a collision course of violence and retribution. Hunted by contract killers, the law, and corporate bag men, they are pursued across the unforgiving adobes and the sweeping vistas of the Mesa Valley in Western Colorado.

Survival means putting their past in front of them and their differences aside, because in this world the only thing that matters is to cast not others on the devil’s side of heaven, lest you be cast in with them.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I like the cover, it’s simple and a pretty picture of a forest. One look at it and for reason I can tell what the genre of the book is.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

This was an instant read for me mostly due to the genre. I enjoy crime and thrillers and this was a little different from what I usually read.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

The plot isn’t a bad one as two old friends – who also happen to be brother-in-laws meet up once more to foil some bad guys’ plans. The plot itself was fairly well executed and certainly fit for a thriller. There was plenty of action involved and it moved pretty quickly.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t get into any of the characters. Walt, the protagonist, was a bit of a cliche – he lost his job, got divorced and lost his kids, and he sits in bars all night trying to drink away his problems. It kind of got old pretty fast.

Ronald wasn’t too bad of a character. However, he’s a retired hit-man but I couldn’t picture him ever being a hit-man other than the fact he was good with guns.

Even the group of bad guys. They acted tough, high-and-mighty, and swore a lot, but it seemed like it was all for the sake of them being the “bad guys.” There was no depth to it.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

I had a hard time reading the book due to the writing style. The POV switched between the characters. It was third-person omniscient, which is fine, but Walt’s parts were in first-person. So, sometimes I was reading the story along with Walt and other times I was with Ronald or an assassin with a third-party unknown narrator. I wasn’t sure which one to believe and it just made the story confusing, especially trying to piece the parts together.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This wasn’t a bad book, but it was hard for me to get into. I would have liked to see more consistent storytelling with more in-depth characters. It was hard for me to keep track of, though with the fast-pace action and high crime, you may want to give this one a try.

On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn gets…
Book Review Rating System | 2 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com2 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“He was a killer of all killers and he feared no man. But if his wife was mad, he came a-calling just as pronto as any lovesick dog.” –Roger Peppercorn, On the Devil’s Side of Heaven

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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The Best Way To Plan A Crime In Your Mystery Novel [Mystery Month]

I’ve written this post a couple times now. Every time I do, it’s always so popular so I like to rewrite it each year for Mystery Month.

Keeping track of a crime when writing a mystery novel can be hard. There’s a lot to remember – clues and evidence, witnesses and suspects, the overall timeline, and more.

The best way to figure it all out and keep track of it is to answer some important, but fairly simple questions.

The best way to plan a crime for your mystery novel | Mystery | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Who

The who can be a number of people. Ask yourself, Who is the…

  • Victim
  • Culprit
  • Accomplice(s)
  • Witness(es)
  • Suspect(s)
  • Detectives, officers, assistants, anyone solving the crime
  • Friends and family of the victim
  • Friends and family of the culprit
  • Person who discovered the crime

What

The what is the general term for the crime and anything else going on. Some things may not be known right away, but they’ll come to light eventually.

  • What happened? (What is the crime – murder, robbery, etc.)
  • What are the key items? (murder weapon, evidence, etc.)
  • What was the motive?
  • What happened before the crime occurred?
  • What happened after the crime occurred?

Where

Location is everything and sometimes it’s not where it seems.

  • Where does the story take place?
  • Where does the crime take place?
  • Where was the crime found? (Sometimes, bodies are moved to trick investigators into thinking the murder happened in a different place.)
  • Where were the clues and evidence hidden?
  • Where was the culprit hiding?
  • Where were the witnesses when the crime occurred?
  • Where was the victim when the crime occurred? (If a robbery, where did they go?)

When

Timing is everything. When it comes to a solving a crime, figuring out the timeline of events is important.

  • When did the crime occur?
  • When was the crime discovered?
  • When did the authorities arrive at the scene? When were they called?
  • When do the investigators find the clues? Piece together the evidence?
  • When does the culprit get caught? When does the crime wrap up?

Why

The motive is the driving force behind the crime. If there’s no motive, then you pretty much have a flop of a crime.

  • Why did the culprit commit the crime?
  • Why did the culprit choose their victim?
  • Why is the investigator the best one to solve the case?
  • Why does the investigator agree to solve the case in the first place?
  • Why does the crime take so long – or short – to solve?

How

How everything is constructed makes it believable and aids the timeline. It answers last minute questions that anyone may have in and out of the story.

  • How long was the investigation?
  • How did the culprit plan it out? How did they commit it?
  • How was the culprit caught? (Or get away?)
  • How did other characters react to the crime?
  • How did the investigator figure it all out?

A lot of the questions are similar to each other or pretty much mean the exact same thing, but I always find it helpful to comb through it all multiple times and make sure you’re consistent with yourself.

How do you plan the crimes in your mystery novels? What are some other questions you’d ask? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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12 Ways To Kill Off Your Fictional Characters [Mystery Month]

I never thought I’d write a post like this, but… Here we are.

12 ways to kill off your fictional characters | Mystery | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

There are so many ways for people to die. There are four main categories that I personally put them into.

  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Accidental
  • Natural

I’m only going to list 12 ways you can kill off your fictional characters, but there are many variations of these 12 ways. Not to mention there’s a lot more than these 12 ways.

(I’ll be honest, I was aiming for a longer list, but some of the research I did for this made my stomach turn, so use your imagination, people.)

1. Gun

This is probably the most common, but also the loudest. You can shoot to wound or shoot to kill. It all depends on where your character aims (or how well they aim). This can be used in murders, suicide, or even accidental.

2. Knife

Similar to a gun, you can stab to wound or stab to kill. It’s not exactly as loud as a gunshot, but it’s pretty messy. This would work well for murder, maybe suicide and accidental too.

3. Poison

Silent but deadly – for the most part. Poison can be administered in a number of ways. It can be ingested or administered with a needle and more. Poisons can come from just about anything too – drugs, household items and smells, plants and food… it’s kind of crazy, actually. Depending on the poison too, it might have an immediate effect or the victim might get sick first. Sometimes it could take days, weeks, or months for it to kill too.

4. Overdose

This can go along with poison, but drugs are a problem and can be used in a suicide or it came be an accidental overdose.

5. Hanging

Murder, suicide, execution. I guess it could be accidental too depending on the situation… I mean, it happened in Disney’s Tarzan.

6. Suffocation

I don’t think I need to explain suffocating someone. I don’t know if this has ever been used in suicides, but murders definitely and accidental as well.

7. Drowning

I think this is more accidental than anything else, but it could be used for murder.

8. Starvation

This would take a while if you were trying to kill someone by cutting off their food, but I’m sure it’s doable.

9. Hit and Run or car crash

Usually, this is an accident, but it’s often used as a murder method in movies. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it used as a suicide method on the news in real life. This could be one of the easier ways to cover up a murder too.

10. Natural Disasters

Floods, fire, and the like are known for taking many lives. All of it is the work of mother nature, but fire, for example, can be used as a murder method. It’s called arson.

11. Illness

Sometimes our bodies turn against us or aren’t strong enough to fight off an illness and in turn, it kills us.

12. Old Age

It’s the circle of life.

This was the most uncomfortable post I’ve ever written. It’s also the most morbid. But there you go. 12 ways to kill your darlings.

Do you have a go-to way to kill your fictional characters? Let me know in the comments below and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Who Is Your Sleuth And Why Does He Matter? [Mystery Month]

Choosing a protagonist for your story – no matter what genre you’re writing – is so important. The protagonist is the one who drives the story forward, they’re the reason the story is happening, the reason your readers are still turning the pages.

My mystery novel is written in third-person limited and I had chosen the wrong character to follow causing me to have to do a huge rewrite. But guess what? The novel is so much better now. It really does make a difference.

Who is your sleuth and why does he matter? | Mystery Writing | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

How do you choose who should be your protagonist?

There are so many reasons to choose a protagonist. The character who has the most interesting backstory, the character who’s affected by the plot the most, and also, whichever character is begging to have their story told. (If a character is trying to write the story, let them. It’s just easier that way and you’ll avoid some temper tantrums from them and yourself.)

When it comes to writing a mystery though, there are some things to consider.

  • Which character is the most affected by the crime committed?
  • Which character has to solve the crime for whatever very good reason?
  • How the crime change the character’s life?

What role can your protagonist play in a mystery novel?

Your protagonist can do one of two things:

  • Solve the crime
  • Aid in solving the crime

When I say your protagonist can solve the crime, I mean you can have your protagonist be a number of sleuths.

  • Detective
  • Police Officer
  • Private Investigator
  • Lawyer

And a number of others. I’ve never seen it done before, but I think it’d be cool to have the protagonist be a coroner. My point is, it can be someone who is in the criminal justice or law enforcement field.

But it doesn’t have to be either.

Your protagonist can also aid the main crime solver but be the protagonist:

  • An assistant
  • A friend
  • The accused

There are a number of ways it could play out.

How I chose my protagonist

I have two main characters in my story. George, the P.I., and Lilah, his “assistant.” However, she wasn’t always his assistant. She comes waltzing in to hire him to solve a crime. Lilah’s not one to sit back and watch though. She aids him, much to George’s protests. The crime is personal to her and George needs the money. They both have motive and it becomes personal for the both of them.

I originally chose my protagonist to be George because I thought since he was the P.I. he had to be the focus. The very first draft I wrote, he was dumb. Lilah ended up figuring everything out and she was braver than he was too.

With the help of my critique group, they made me realize Lilah was trying to get her own voice heard. I rewrote it all with Lilah as the focus and it made a huge difference.

George’s personality changed for the better and so did Lilah’s for that matter.

Give your protagonist a reason to shine

Long story short…

  • Let their voice be heard if they want it to be – sometimes you don’t choose the protagonist. They tell you.
  • Give them a motive to solve the crime presented to them.
  • Don’t worry about their title – detective or assistant – as long as they’re important to the story and have stakes, they’ll make a good protagonist.
  • Make them likable and believable – I didn’t mention this because it’s obvious for any novel in any genre, but I felt I should say it anyway.

Choosing the right protagonist is important, but if it don’t get it right the first time, don’t worry. Your characters will yell at you and tell you how to fix it.

How do you go about choosing your protagonist? Have you ever had to do a rewrite because of it? Let me know in the comments below and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 212: Number One Suspect [Part 2 – Mystery Month]

Short Story: "Number One Suspect" (Part 2) | Flash Fiction | Mystery | RachelPoli.com

DID YOU READ PART ONE?

“How could we have helped arrest the wrong man?” Lilah said with a grunt. She pushed the front door of their building open before George could even get the key out of the lock. She walked down the hallway with her arms up in the air in disgust heading for George’s office.

“You know,” George said calmly, “we don’t know for sure that we’ve arrested the wrong man.” He pulled the key out, locked the door again, and then closed it listening for the click.

“Right, but we also don’t know for sure that he’s the right guy we arrested.” Lilah commented. She made it to the end of the hall and jiggled the doorknob to George’s office. She sighed turning around to face him. “Why do you always lock your office?”

“In case someone breaks in,” George said already with the key in hand.

Lilah raised an eyebrow watching him come down the hall. “You know, if someone breaks in through the front door, they’ll easily break into your office.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I’m gonna try it.” Lilah replied snarkily.

George chuckled. “I’d like to see that.”

He unlocked the office door and pushed it open. The door creaked as it slowly widened showcasing the dimly lit room. There was only one window in the room and it was right behind George’s desk. It gave him decent light as he worked during the day, but the rest of the room was in darkness unless the overhead light was turned on.

Lilah entered first as George stepped aside allowing her to go right in. She walked straight ahead across the room sitting down on one of the client’s chairs on the other side of his desk. George followed walking around his desk. He turned on his computer and then sat down.

“So, now what?” Lilah asked. She leaned back folding her arms and legs.

“Let’s go over our notes.” George replied without bothering to look up at her. As he waited for the computer to boot up, he maneuvered some papers around the surface of his desk making room for his keyboard and a notepad.

Lilah nodded watching George as he tidied up the surface of his desk. She didn’t have a lot of notes from the case though.

Steven Bell had come to George and Lilah for help. He was having problems with his wife; he had suspected her of stealing money out of their bank account. While he wasn’t sure what she was doing with the money, he didn’t think it could have been anyone else.

Steven had gone to the bank and they wouldn’t give him too much information. No other accounts were touched; it was just his, which lead Steven to believe even more that this wasn’t a random theft.

The longer George and Lilah investigated, the longer they tried to help Steven, nothing was really turning up. They had spoken to the bank with Steven and also to his wife. It wasn’t too much longer after that that Steven’s wife was murdered.

“We walked in on him standing over his dead wife’s body with a bloodied knife in his hands. He himself was covered in blood, his wife’s blood. We didn’t see it happen, but that right there is enough to make anyone believe he’s a murderer.” Lilah said. She gazed at the ground deep in thought as she spoke. “So, why do we both get the feeling that he’s innocent?”

“Because we know Steven,” George replied.

Lilah lifted her head and George was staring at her.

“We’ve gotten to know Steven pretty well over the past few weeks. We even went out to dinner that one time, remember? It started off as business, but they we ended up staying a little longer because we were actually having a good time.”

“Oh, yeah,” Lilah smiled remembering that night. Then she frowned. “His wife wasn’t there that night.”

George shook his head. “Steven said that she was working. That’s why we were able to go over and talk to him about it.”

“Still…” Lilah said tapping her chin. “Wasn’t she a teacher? We went over to their house around six and stayed until ten… Did she have a second job that we didn’t know about?”

George paused and narrowed his eyes. Then he picked up his notepad and started flipping backwards a few pages. “Are you kidding me…? Why didn’t we see this before?”

Lilah bit her lower lip. “Did we overlook something…?”

“I wrote that she worked as a hostess three nights a week at Prevalli’s Restaurant.” George said.

“Oh, that’s right. Didn’t we go there and talk to a few of her co-workers?” Lilah asked.

George put down his notepad shaking his head. “Not after she had died.”

“But Barney went there after she died. We didn’t really have to.” Lilah said.

“We should have.”

“Why?”

“Because now that means Barney knows more than we do.” George stood up from his chair and walked around to the other side of his desk. “We’re on the same side as the police station, but we’re on two different sides of the same coin.”

Lilah crinkled her face in confusion. “Huh…?” Still, she stood up and followed George out of his office. She jogged a little down the hallway to catch up with him as he was already opening the front door.

“Are we going to the restaurant now?” she asked.

“Yes, we should have been there a while. I have a few questions I would like to ask Steven’s wife’s boss.” George replied. He stood on the front porch, waiting for Lilah to pass by him. Once she did, he shut and locked the front door.

Lilah stood in the grass watching George. “What else could we possibly ask them? They already talked to Barney, why do you think they’re going to talk to us about it?”

“I don’t know, but we’ll figure something out.” George replied.

“Can’t we just ask Barney what they said?”

“If he wanted to share what he found out, he would have already told us. If we ask him now, he may share something just to make it seem like he cooperated with us. But he certainly wouldn’t tell us all of it.”

Lilah puffed out her cheeks in frustration. “That’s annoying… Barney is supposed to help us like we help him.”

George stepped onto the curb and walked down the sidewalk towards the main street where the taxis would drive by. “I agree, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The police station is the police station and we’re a private detective agency for a reason. We have less rules to follow.”

Lilah perked up. “We can break the law?”

“No,” George said sternly. “But remember that we don’t have a certain protocol to follow.” He winked at her.

Lilah smiled up at him, though she wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that.

Words: 1,155

READ PART THREE HERE!

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot 3) By Agatha Christie [Book Review – Mystery Month]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie | Mystery | Short Story | Classic | RachelPoli.com

I bought a paperback copy from Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond… then came the ‘suicide’ that was murder… the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat… a suspicious death in a locked gun-room… a million dollar bond robbery… the curse of a pharaoh’s tomb… a jewel robbery by the sea… the abduction of a Prime Minister… the disappearance of a banker… a phone call from a dying man… and, finally, the mystery of the missing will.

What links these fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The book cover is simple enough. I’ll admit, I think they could have done better since this is a collection of short stories. I’m not really sure where this fits in with the book, but I do like the art style.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I bought this book because I’ve been enjoying the Hercule Poirot series. This is the third book in the series and I’ll admit I was surprised when I started reading as I didn’t realize it was short stories at first. I thought it was a novel like the two books before it.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This book holds 14 short stories, all about Poirot and his partner, Hastings, solving them. Some of the cases were murder, others were robberies or missing persons. Each one was unique from the others.

I’ll admit some of the stories were hard to follow since they were so short. Each story was roughly about 15-20 pages and I felt as though some of them were too short for me to catch up with how fast Poirot figured everything out. I had to re-read some, but I enjoyed them all the same.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Agatha Christie writes in a different style than books typically are today (since this book was originally published in 1924). I’ll admit, it’s not something I’m used to, so there are a few lines I need to read over to comprehend them. I was never one to follow “old English” easily especially since French is thrown into the book as well.

For the most part, it was easy to follow. While I wasn’t expecting the short stories at first, it was nice to read instead of a full length novel.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a nice addition to the Hercule Poirot series. I wonder if there are other books in the series that hold short stories or if this was the black sheep of the series. Still, I enjoyed it and it was nice to read an Agatha Christie book again after so long.

Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot #3) by Agatha Christie gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“‘Poirot,’ I said. ‘Am I quite demented?’
‘No, mon ami, but you are, as always, in a mental fog.'” -Agatha Christie, Poirot Investigates

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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How To Research Properly For Your Mystery Novel [Mystery Month]

For me, the writing process is pretty straightforward and fairly simple. I outline, then I write. Then I edit and rewrite and so on and so forth.

During the outlining part of the process, that’s when I do the bulk of my research. When it comes to writing about mystery, there’s a lot of research to do.

How To Research Properly For Your Mystery Novel | Mystery Month | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Who is who

One thing I always look up is ranks of the people in law enforcement, what their job entails, what tools they use, and what day to day life is like for them while working.

For example, I’ll research a coroner and figure out where they typically work, what tools they use to examine bodies, the paperwork they draw up, what they do day in and day out, and more.

The same goes for a detective, police chief, forensic scientists, and more.

How to kill

Yes, we all have to research this. Whenever I Google how to kill someone I always add “in a mystery novel” in case my IP address gets flagged or something… if that’s a thing. It freaks me out either way.

Still, there are many kinds of guns and various bullets. What kind did your killer use? Was it at point-blank range? Where are the best spots on the body to shoot someone? What about the ballistic markings? It’s a lot to think about and a lot to learn.

Plus, there are so many ways to kill someone. How long does it take for someone to drown? What kinds of poisons can someone ingest and how long will it take it to work?

How to investigate

Investigating a crime scene is a process. Gloves need to be worn, evidence needs to go into bags, the scene needs to be taped off, and things need to be out of place.

What’s the process like? Who goes to the crime scene? Who responds to the calls?

And so much more

There’s a lot more to look into, to think about, and to research. Of course, fiction is still fiction and while there should be a little bit of truth in there, you can take things with a grain of salt.

How do you research for your mystery novels? What sort of things do you look up? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Writing The Mystery Novel [Mystery Month]

Writing a novel isn’t an easy task to do. The difficulty level can vary depending on the genre you write as well. If you’re writing a romance, things may be pretty straightforward. They’re possibly set in our real world and can be true to life.

Meanwhile, if you’re writing fantasy you may have a lot of world building to do. You might have to create new races and cultures of people, new languages, and go through the motions of an adventure.

Of course, all of this depends on you, your writing style, and what you’re writing. There is no right way to write fantasy or romance or any genre – those are just examples.

Mystery, on the other hand, can be more or less the same. While there are many subgenres of mystery, most mysteries have a common denominator – someone committed a crime and someone else needs to solve it.

Writing the Mystery Novel | Mystery Month | Creative Writing | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

What should be included in your Mystery

Mystery novels may include:

  • A crime
  • An interrogation
  • An investigation
  • A trail of clues
  • A list of evidence
  • Suspects, witnesses, and victims (or friends and family of the victim)
  • Red herrings

Depending on the type of story you’re writing, some of those will be used, others will not. It depends on your protagonist as well. For example, you might throw in a rival for your protagonist as well.

The beginning, middle, and end

Going from point A to point B can be a pain. I never found beginning mysteries to be all that tough. There are a number of ways you can begin them.

  • The discovery of the victim
  • At the crime scene investigating already
  • Showing your protagonist wrapping up a previous case
  • Showing the crime itself
  • Having the victim, feeling threatened, seek out your protagonist for help

There are many other ways to begin the story too. Although, I would shy away from having your protagonist wake up… I hope I’m not alone when saying that’s been done one too many times.

The majority of the middle is trying to solve the crime itself.

  • The investigation
  • Interrogations/questioning witnesses
  • Discovering clues and piecing evidence together
  • Following leads and red herrings

Endings are, of course, pretty straightforward. The bad guy is caught (or maybe not – justice sometimes isn’t served) and it’s onto the next case.

While middles can sag pretty easily, I always found writing middles in mystery to be fun and the easiest. As long as you can keep track of your clues and evidence, the timeline, and all the who dun it information, you should be good to go.

Keep track of your crime and clues

In order for your protagonist and your readers to follow along with the crime and be able to figure it out, you need to have all the information at hand. Crimes are confusing, otherwise, it wouldn’t be a mystery, and they can take lots of twists and turns. Again, that’s why it’s important for you to understand everything about the crime and the characters it involves like the back of your hand.

To do this, keep extensive notes. Figure out the who, the why, the when, the how, the where. What sort of clues can be laid out for your protagonist? Criminals are careful, but the truth always has a way of finding the surface.

Leave a trail of clues at a nice pace. Don’t make them so obvious and don’t throw them at your protagonist all at once.

Heed your research

It’s called fiction for a reason, but crimes are solved in a certain way with certain rules in real life. Look up anything you’re unsure of and try to make the investigation as realistic as possible.

Unless your protagonist is the coroner, they will not be performing an autopsy.

Have you started yet?

Writing a mystery isn’t an easy task, but it can be a lot of fun. Good luck.

How do you go about writing a mystery novel? Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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12 Types of Mystery Genres [Mystery Month]

Each and every genre in the world has many different branches to it. There are so many subgenres when it comes to the mystery genre. It came sometimes be hard to pinpoint to which subgenre you’re reading or writing, especially if there are a couple different subgenres thrown into the mix.

Still, mystery can be perceived in many different ways when it comes to it being comical, hardcore, or real life-like.

12 Types of Mystery Subgenres | Mystery Writing | Mystery | Creative Writing | Mystery Month | RachelPoli.com

Caper

A caper mystery is a comical one. Whether it involves a bumbling detective or odd-duck witnesses, the story is funny and allows the reader to relax and have a laugh… despite the dead body lying in the corner.

Cozy

The cozy mystery is something that’s usually light in tone. Even though a murder is involved, it happens in a small town, isn’t describes as too gruesome, or the sleuth is an amateur.

Domestic

This was a new one to me. I’ve seen many books like this but never thought it was its own subgenre. A domestic mystery includes mysteries involving a cat or dog (or any animal, really) where they more or less aid their owner in solving the crime. These can also include book club settings, bakeries, and the like.

Hardboiled

Hardboiled is what it sounds like. It’s a hardcore mystery where violence and gruesome details are involved. The detective is a professional, often fighting his own inner demons.

Investigator

This type of mystery involves the sleuth being a private investigator, an amateur, a nosy neighbor, or someone of the kind. It’s centralized who if figuring out the crime.

Noir

Noir is a classic that’s dark and gritty, with private investigators equipped with their good old trench coat.

Procedural

Procedural mysteries are heavily-researched in how the crime was solved using autopsy reports, forensic science, and the like. It’s the real-life stuff thrown into a fictional crime.

Softboiled

Softboiled mysteries are more or less the same as Hardboiled except their lighter in tone and they ease up a little on the details.

Supernatural/Paranormal

This is pretty straightforward since it’s its own genre. A mystery with ghostly like elements and messages from the unknown. It adds a little more spook to the mystery and certainly allows things to get pretty twisted.

Suspense

In suspense, the tension is high but it’s at a slower pace. It keeps the readers on their toes always guessing and turning the pages. The protagonist, or detective, is usually the one being pursued and has some sort of problem themselves they need to deal with.

Thriller

Similar to suspense, except the action is ongoing, the pace is fast, and the tension and stakes are high. This may or may not have anything to do with the protagonist or detective themselves, but their usually racing the clock.

True Crime

This is exactly as it sounds, a genre familiar to everyone. True crime is non-fiction mysteries telling tales of real-life murders and investigations.

What’s your favorite subgenre in mystery? Are there are any other subgenres you know about? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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