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Abishai100
August 1st, 2016, 03:23 AM
David Combs was a Los Angeles homicide detective working in the department for about two years. He was an Irish-American and graduate of the University of California (Irvine) with a degree in Criminal Justice. David liked his job, and he was still single, and he purchased a modest but nice apartment in Los Angeles on his $70K/year salary. David did not have a partner in the homicide department, but an older detective, an African-American (also a graduate of University of California) named Earl Fisk, sometimes worked on cases with David. David answered only to the executive in his department, Commissioner Jacobs who liked David's work ethic and shrewdness and calmness. Jacobs found David to be pensive but not anxious and thought he possessed all the qualities necessary to work the homicide beat in L.A. It was the year 2001, and David had already arrested two serial killers --- a home-invader named Stan and a trio of car-jacking shootists.

Earl walked up to David's office one morning and dropped a file right in front of him. David picked up the file and started reading it, and Earl warned him this was a case no one in the department wanted. The case involved an unidentified series of murders involving African-American prostitutes in Los Angeles. There were already five murders in all (all strangulations); the first was a 20 year-old black prostitute working on Figueroa named Alice who seemed average, attractive, healthy, and without any conspicuous criminal ties; the others were likewise seemingly random and connected only by their racial background. David told Earl he wanted the case, and Earl requested to serve as his special consultant, and David conceded. David hated working with others, but he respected Earl's kindness and 'old-guy' wisdom. Commissioner Jacobs had David and Earl assigned to the case, and the two hit the streets.

David first investigated the scene and circumstances surrounding the killing of Alice, the 20 year-old black prostitute who worked consistently on Figueroa Avenue. Alice was popular with other street-walkers in the area and was generally considered to be an affable 'employee' to her supposed pimp, a white-hat wearing Chinese fellow named Rio. Rio had no leads for David, but he was angry that Alice and another one of his black hookers was killed in the span of one year. David assured him with sarcasm that if Alice and this other 'black hooker' were killed by the same person, Rio would be the first to be notified. David then investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of the other three black prostitutes, who all worked in L.A. He scrolled over his notes over and over again and found absolutely no pattern. The only thing connecting them were that they were all African-American, and there were no other prostitute killings in L.A. besides these five ethnically-directed murders.

Earl told David his theory. Earl believed that the only reason the five African-American L.A. prostitutes were targeted and killed (by the same serial killer) was that they were all black. Earl told David that this patterned serial killer seemed to want to deliver home the message that street corruption and cultural sin in Los Angeles was definitely racially-oriented. Earl suggested that the killer was perhaps a strong Caucasian male, in his 30s, who probably had ties to L.A.'s Neo-Nazi groups. David liked this theory very much and began interrogating Neo-Nazi leaders and Neo-Nazi nightclubs and bars in L.A. for the next two months. After a handful of inquiries, David's investigation led him to an on-and-off Neo-Nazi 30ish male named Jim Daniels who seemed to keep to himself and apparently showed up at random Neo-Nazi meetings in L.A. just to sit and listen. David told Earl he believed Jim was the serial killer responsible for the five black prostitute murders. Earl agreed and gave David his 'blessing' to pursue Jim, whom David and Earl nicknamed "Jim Crow."

David began work undercover and attended Neo-Nazi meetings in sunglasses and a beard, always carrying a beer and a cigar. He would also prowl the Neo-Nazi bar scene in the same get-up. Finally, David ran into Jim at a bar one night and introduced himself as a motorcycle dealer. He befriended Jim and showed him a series of fabricated motorcycle photos and suggested they go to a Neo-Nazi meeting together, and Jim agreed. David found Jim to be gruntish, reserved, muscular, and pensive (but harbouring some unnamed rage). One night, David and Jim were walking home from another bar which served a mostly Neo-Nazi clientele, and David started talking to Jim about the black prostitute killings (the strangulations). Jim started calling the killer the new Boston Strangler and hinted to David that he found his deed to be ironically "...prophetic, since immigration (and multi-culturalism) was destroying America."

Earl and David met with Commissioner Jacobs after they were convinced that Jim Daniels was indeed the black prostitute killer "Jim Crow." David told Jacobs he believed that the fifth murder was the last and that Daniels had successfully completed his opus of racially-oriented killings and that there was something significant about the number five. Jacobs issued the arrest warrant and congratulated David and Earl, and Earl headed out to arrest Jim. David suspected that since there were five murders in all, Jim would do something outlandish on the streets of 5th and San Vincente Boulevard, perhaps to signify his success, before committing suicide (most likely through a pistol-shot in the head in front of passerby).

David staked out the streets every Saturday night for a month, suspecting that Jim would make a 'scene' that night since it was busiest then. Sure enough, one Saturday night, Jim showed up wearing a large cowboy hat and carrying megaphone which he used to shout to the passerby, "I killed five black prostitutes for Abraham Lincoln himself!" before pulling out a small pistol and holding it up to his head. Onlookers started screaming, and David got out his car and told Jim he was under arrest. David told Jim to calm down and assured him he would receive a fair trial and disclosed that he was the bearded man Jim befriended a the Neo-Nazi bar. When Jim heard this and knew it to be true, he said to David, "Betrayed by a fellow Caucasian...the fate of this discarded prophet" before shooting himself. The case was soon closed as leads and clues did indeed reveal Jim Daniels to be the black prostitute serial killer "Jim Crow," and David and Earl reported to Commissioner Jacobs that this was the 'Racial Boston Strangler Case.' Jacobs told them that L.A. was becoming a laboratory for vigilantes.



:tyrannosaurus:

Boston Strangler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Strangler)



15045

GVictoria
August 31st, 2016, 01:48 PM
It was... kinda nice, though it felt detached to me. And it was more of telling. And also, why would David suspect Jim to be the killer if he had only watched him at first in the meetings? He couldn't just suspect him from just observations. It might be more appropriate to put his reasons there.

The thing about Jim saying he killed the 5 black women for Abraham Lincoln. Is it common knowledge that Lincoln was for slavery of black people? (Did I even get that fact right?) If it isn't, then maybe you should make him wonder about it, since a lot of people may not get what you meant.

And the last sentence. Just because they already arrested 4 serial killers in that year, doesn't mean it's "becoming a laboratory for vigilantes," since 3 of those people were a group.

Oh, and:

David had already arrested two serial killers --- a home-invader named Stan and a trio of car-jacking shootists.
Technically, they're not 2, there's 4 of them. And it's shooters.

Terry D
August 31st, 2016, 05:13 PM
You have something here (an idea), but there is no way 'in' to the story. No way to connect with the characters, or care about the plot, because you are simply relating events (telling) not giving the reader any insight, or any real Point-of-View to connect with. This reads like a summary of a story written for a book report, not like a the story itself. Pick up one of your favorite books and compare the writing with this piece and I think you'll see a dramatic difference. Narration is only one tool in the writer's toolkit. Practice with the others: dialogue, metaphor, simile, description, imagery, etc. Stories need to develop, not be dumped out onto the table in one big mass. Take your time. Expand and develop each paragraph above. Give your readers time to get to know your characters, don't tell us everything about them, show us.

Grub-r
October 12th, 2016, 04:27 PM
I have to say this was very hard to read. I was bored before the first paragraph was over, which is a shame because I think the idea that you have is a great one. It has the potential to be truly interesting.

Like the other's who have posted suggested, you're suffering from "telling not showing". There's no emotion, no connection to the facts you provide and the characters in your story.

What you are mostly lacking here is dialogue. The second paragraph is a perfect place for dialogue. have Earl and David talk to one another. It's a great way for your readers to relate to your characters.

patskywriter
October 13th, 2016, 01:25 AM
While reading this, I was assuming that you were running some ideas by us. I didn't realize that this was actually a story. Also, I found it strange that officers would make a reference to the Boston Strangler. I would think that they'd refer to the more recent, but still sensational, case of Richard Ramirez. (I find the references to the Boston Strangler and the name “Jim Crow” to be a bit too easy, even cheap.)

Bard_Daniel
October 13th, 2016, 03:13 AM
I agree with Terry D's and patskywriter's points. You need to bring out the heart of the story. Right now it reads like a retelling in almost a stagnant tone. It can be better than that. Breathe life into it. Make it sing.

Thanks for the read and keep on writing!

rider1046
January 19th, 2017, 04:33 PM
Too much detail becomes boring. Needs some dialogue.

wainscottbl
February 14th, 2017, 10:00 AM
I'm a rebel and a traditionalist. I hate "show don't tell". I love to be the lofty narrator. But, there is a reason for the phrase. New writers usually write like this:


David Combs was a Los Angeles homicide detective working in the department for about two years. He was an Irish-American and graduate of the University of California (Irvine) with a degree in Criminal Justice. David liked his job, and he was still single, and he purchased a modest but nice apartment in Los Angeles on his $70K/year salary. David did not have a partner in the homicide department, but an older detective, an African-American (also a graduate of University of California) named Earl Fisk, sometimes worked on cases with David. David answered only to the executive in his department, Commissioner Jacobs who liked David's work ethic and shrewdness and calmness. Jacobs found David to be pensive but not anxious and thought he possessed all the qualities necessary to work the homicide beat in L.A. It was the year 2001, and David had already arrested two serial killers --- a home-invader named Stan and a trio of car-jacking shootists.

You tell us one thing right after the other, without any emotion or substance.I think the problem is telling us TOO much, like his degree and his salary.

Basically, you're doing what the rule "show don't tell" was thought up one day by some creative writing teacher: Telling us one thing after another. You have to show. Convey his feelings. Tell the story through his actions and his feelings, because I have a hard time reading this. But, the case interests me. I just need feeling and movement.