Opening lines of the next Inspector Stark novel
As I continue to produce Part 1 of Coronavirus 2020 Vision - The Road To Freedom Day, for Audible, I have also been working on the plot for my next book which now has the working title 'Death By Decree. I am almost in a position to begin the writing proper but I am letting it 'bake' for a few days.
I thought those who follow my blog might be interested in the revised opening lines of book 6 of The Inspector Stark series of crime novels.
Those who have read my books will recognise the style of the opening pages before we get into the nitty gritty.
DEATH BY DECREE
Have you ever stopped to consider the transient nature of your life? Do you think that nothing will ever change? That it will always be like this? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I’m afraid it won’t. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe it is not.
Watch any crowd of shoppers in a market square on a busy Saturday afternoon, they are all in different stages of their lives. All fitting neatly into one category or another; gay, straight, in between. Happy, sad, distracted, carefree. Can you see it in their faces? The way they walk perhaps. A saunter, a shuffle, a half-run, hunched shoulders, a limp, a swagger, taking tentative steps. All indicators of their current situation.
Look at that crowd of people filling the city square, scurrying along, each with their own cross to bear: Six are engaged. Twenty are married, twelve are divorced. Two have cancer, six have a cold. Ten have depression and four are criminals. One is a Bishop and three are queens. Three are flush, two are bust, one is a busted flush. Eight are younger, ten are old, and one has a secret never to be told. But one of them…one of them, is going to die very soon. Is it you?
You think you are exempt, don’t you? Day-to-day this never crosses your mind. How things can change in an instant. You think your lovely happy time is a forever thing. That the status quo will remain forever. Wrong. Turn another corner and maybe. But not today, today is a catalyst; the planets are aligned, and it is time for a change. You’ve had it too good for too long.
Today you will happen to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and boom, your life; your precious fucking life and your dreams and aspirations too, they’re gone, my friend. All gone.
It’s not just you, it’s your loved ones too, everyone in your orbit. You are going to drag them into your hell as well. Imagine that. Imagine being the cause of such horror to your loved ones. To your little child, even. Terror, misery, pain, and death merely by association.
Other people, far less benevolent than you; unscrupulous people, are going to single you out. It’s not fair, it’s not just, nor is it deserved and that, y friend, is the stinger. You will be stuck with it, though. There will be no way out. Stuck like a rat in a trap.
The people you are about to encounter don’t give a frog’s fat ass about you. They are evil. They don’t think like you. They have no moral compass, no shame, and no regret. They find this shit funny. And you are now in their web, running through treacle and shouting for help in a school for the deaf. They will kill you, no doubt, but that’s not enough. You need to suffer first, you need to be made an example of, and they know what it takes to destroy you. They have done this before.
On such a summers day in the spring of 1987, fate had Jane Cooper in its crosshairs as she walked across The Old Market Square in the centre of Nottingham. She could never have dreamt what was about to happen, and how her life was about to change over the simplest of misunderstandings. That in the next hour a chain of events would focus the most dangerous members of society on to her and her family. That before nightfall these bastards would be plotting ways to hurt her, thinking of different ways to make an example of her; to get to her through her family. To frighten her. Intimidate her, and eventually kill her. Who would have thought when this day dawned, that this group of despicable individuals would be sitting around devising ways of killing Jane Cooper?
She had never hurt anyone, she was a kind, loving person, but, sad-to-say, her death was now inevitable. No one was coming. No one was going to save the day. No one could stop someone so intent to kill and with the powerful resources to do so. If you wronged them, or they merely thought you had; that would suffice. They had the power to make the judgement. They could decide your fate. It was death by decree.