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wainscottbl
February 14th, 2017, 09:14 AM
From a while back. I like this, but not all of it. I think the voice is good, but it falls short at times, so tell me what you think.



The murder of Vera Montgomery was the first of the Four Corners Surgeon. That’s what the media named him. It happened the year I went to school to become a forensic morgue technician, so it peaked my interest. I was suspected of the crime, though by nobody other than Dr. Willard P. Smith, USMC, first division, Vietnam, Iraq Gulf War, Iraq Second Gulf War, retired, with full honors, etc., etc., meaning whatever the bastard could think to title himself with, so that everyone could be reminded of his service. That is, “we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Scott Webb? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.” Yes, yes we all know, we all know Doctor Willard P. Smith, U.S. Marine Corps first division, veteran of Nam, lion of the Persian Gulf, slayer of Arabs, protector of our freedoms, Purple Heart, healer of injured soldiers, et cetera, et cetera. I can’t handle the truth!

Dr. Smith and I never got along. We lived in the same Colorado town near the Four Corners, and to him, me and my friends were the local potheads. When marijuana was legalized in Colorado he was furious. He had been a big advocate against it. A doctor, he was so pious in his conservative views, that he was against even medical marijuana, despite the overwhelming evidence that it aided people suffering from things like seizures. How one trained in medicine could be so against medical marijuana I’m not even sure. I suppose it is like those scientists who claim a motionless earth is the center of the universe or that global warming does not exist. Religious beliefs especially can blind people to reality. That’s the main reason I am agnostic. Yet another reason for Dr. Smith to hate me. The other being, I banged his daughter. And not just a one night stand. It was a regular thing. There was nothing he could do to me other than give me a hard time in class.

So, in 2011 Vera Montgomery was murdered. She was a local beauty queen, smart and beautiful. She’d graduated with honors, top of her class, and was off to Yale. She was raped and mutilated, but the mutilation was with precision. Perhaps the most disturbing part of the mutilating was that the top of her head was cut off, with surgical precision, and most of her right temporal lobe removed. This was done pre-mortem. She was a known epileptic, her parents having been huge medical marijuana advocates. That her epilepsy was temporal lobe in nature, and that it was in her right temporal lobe, the one that had been removed was interesting.

The FBI, who took over the case, since her body was taken across the state line into Utah. They suspected someone with medical training. Dr. Smith was questioned, but quickly ruled out. Alibi and all of that. I was even questioned, mainly because the crazy bastard suggested I might be involved. He knew I was no idiot (at least in the intellectual sense), that I had an interest in forensics, particularly autopsies, and even that I was well read in the area. But, the FBI quickly dismissed that nonsense, seeing that I had no actual experience in medicine other than as a paramedic. So much for Dr. Smith’s delusions about marijuana users all being criminals or something.

Then the second girl turned up in New Mexico, then the third in Arizona. The first had her kidney removed and the second her heart. It turned out that first had a kidney condition and the second a heart condition, so the heat fell on all the local doctors. How could anyone know of these specific conditions related to the removed body parts except some doctor who had their records? And what was he doing with them? He surgically removed them before death. Was it some sort of thrill for him? Did he enjoy watching the third girl die there after heart was cut out? And what was he doing with them? Eating them like Hannibal Lecter? The rape as another interesting aspect, occurring both before death and after death. I followed the case closely.
My friends and I were actually riding dirt bikes and getting high in the desert when Vera Montgomery was found. We saw the crime scene from the distance and Dr. Smith was there. You could see him, the short little Napoleon of a man with that very complex. That may have been another reason he suspected me. The FBI considered it, but too many factors ruled me out. When we saw the crime scene from the bluff was when I told my friends I was moving to Utah.

“Why,” Mike said in his usual surfer boy accent—he was from SoCal and his voice would have sounded hokey, if it was not authentic. “You can’t smoke pot there.”

“I can still smoke it,” I said. “Just not legally.”

“That’s the point,” my right hand man, Robert said. He was like my Cassius, a bit moody sometimes, with a clever sleekness that you did not quite trust, but the best of friends you could have—loyal and willing to fight for you, staying with you even if he knew he was going to get his ass kicked.

“Well, I’ve decided to go to school in San Juan to be a forensic morgue technician. That crime scene down there reminds me of it.”

“That’s like what that nerd guy does on NCIS, right? Ducky’s assistant,” Robert asked.

“Yep.”

“Let’s go down there and check it out, man,” Mike suggested stupidly. He sounded even stupider in his stupid accent.

“We’re not going to see anything. They’ll just run us off,” I told him.

“And maybe suspect us,” Robert suggested.

“Yeah, maybe. Anyway, there’s not any reason to go down there.”

“Why not? You’re going to be a autopsy technician. It’d be a good experience for you.” Again, the accent made his suggestion sound more idiotic.

“Man, you’re an idiot,” I said. “Let’s ride.”

We kicked our petals and rode back through the desert to Bluffington. I’d enrolled at San Juan College, a technical college in San Juan, Utah, where Dr. Smith taught. The fact that he would be my professor did not excite me. That short, pompous, burly little man with his shaved head and harsh, measuring look was the complete opposite of my careless, rebellious temperament.

bdcharles
February 15th, 2017, 10:37 AM
Hi,

No issues in the writing. Well, just a couple but by and large I couldn't really fault it. And I do like the voice. It reminds me very much of some of Stephen King's mid career era young protagonists - think the kids from It, or The Stand - which are 2 of my favourite SK books incidentally.

Just 1 or 2 things:

“Let’s go down there and check it out, man,” Mike suggested stupidly[<- maybe consider removing "stupidly" - evoke it through dialogue]. He sounded even stupider in his stupid accent.

it peaked [<- piqued] my interest

The murder of Vera Montgomery was the first of the Four Corners Surgeon
-> maybe ->
The murder of Vera Montgomery was the first to be committed by the Four Corners Surgeon

Narratively, to me, the stort really starts at this line:

"When we saw the crime scene from the bluff was when I told my friends I was moving to Utah."

which I think would be a really good opener. All that is before that is fine, good and well-written info - and useful for you, to knpow the story - but it has transpired "before" the time we are in now. The next thing for me is: what actually happens? What's this about? Girl is murdered, but we find out nothing after that other than this kid plans to go to Utah. Is there more?

qwertyman
February 15th, 2017, 11:14 AM
Hi,

Is this a book, an idea for a book, or a writing exercise?

If it's a book....whoa there! Too much too soon. Three murders already. It needs pacing. You're going to need these murders as plot points later on to develop motive, opportunity and suspects.

If it's an idea for a book, a sort of collecting area to store info which will be fed into a storyline, that's fine.

If it's a writing exercise, for the opening pages, it needs several adjustments to attract the reader. The first two paragraphs don't belong as openers. The situation between Dr Smith and the narrator should be shown/developed not told. Start with the third paragraph and establish the voice in the first couple of lines. Nothing too obvious...just a hint.

Not this - but with the 'voice' hint ingredient.

So, in 2011 Vera Montgomery a local beauty queen, smart and beautiful, who’d graduated with honors, top of her class, was off to Yale. But she never made it. She was raped and mutilated, by some nut with with a surgeon's tool bag.

Just my opinion, hope it helps.


We kicked our petals and rode back through the desert to Bluffington.

Nice image or good dope?

qwerty

The Fantastical
February 15th, 2017, 03:29 PM
All in all this is a good start to something. But if it is a short.. it lacks a solid ending. If an idea for a story, or a novella or a novel. You have a good idea, I love forensic detective type novels and this storyline has promise. Good luck!

Below are some thoughts and comments. :)




The murder of Vera Montgomery was the first of the Four Corners Surgeon. You need to add something to show that "Four Corners Surgeon is the name of the killer in the first line. Like how bdcharles suggested. That’s what the media named him. It happened the year I went to school to become a forensic morgue technician, so it peaked my interest. I was suspected of the crime, though by nobody other than Dr. Willard P. Smith, USMC, first division, Vietnam, Iraq Gulf War, Iraq Second Gulf War, retired, with full honors, etc., etc., meaning whatever the bastard could think to title himself with, so that everyone could be reminded of his service. That is, “we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Scott Webb? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.” Yes, yes we all know, we all know Doctor Willard P. Smith, U.S. Marine Corps first division, veteran of Nam, lion of the Persian Gulf, slayer of Arabs, protector of our freedoms, Purple Heart, healer of injured soldiers, et cetera, et cetera. I can’t handle the truth!
Phew! That a left me a little out of mental breath but also... it doesn't really say much about your main character other than he is rather prone to semi nonsensical rants, are we sure he isn't the killer? The point is that is slows the story down and lessens the maturity of the character. Start where your next paragraph begins.

Dr. Smith and I never got along. We lived in the same Colorado town near the Four Corners, and to him, me and my friends were the local potheads. When marijuana was legalized in Colorado he was furious. He had been a big advocate against it. A doctor, he was so pious in his conservative views, that he was against even medical marijuana, despite the overwhelming evidence that it aided people suffering from things like seizures. How one trained in medicine could be so against medical marijuana I’m not even sure. I suppose it is like those scientists who claim a motionless earth is the center of the universe or that global warming does not exist. Religious beliefs especially can blind people to reality. That’s the main reason I am agnostic. Yet another reason for Dr. Smith to hate me. The other being, I banged his daughter. And not just a one night stand. It was a regular thing. There was nothing he could do to me other than give me a hard time in class.

I don't know if your aim was an unlikable character... but I am starting to hope that he IS the bad guy so that he can be arrested. If not... maybe a rewrite of the above paragraph to just make him a little more likable?

So, in 2011 Vera Montgomery was murdered. She was a local beauty queen, smart and beautiful. She’d graduated with honors, top of her class, and was off to Yale. She was raped and mutilated, but the mutilation was with precision. Perhaps the most disturbing part of the mutilating was that the top of her head was cut off, with surgical precision, and most of her right temporal lobe removed. This was done pre-mortem. She was a known epileptic, her parents having been huge medical marijuana advocates. Is this relevant? As I start is sense a... personal POV being pushed on the reader. One of the things that make me put down a book or stop reading a short faster than the Road Runner. If it isn't a personal POV or inportant to the story... leave it out. That her epilepsy was temporal lobe in nature, and that it was in her right temporal lobe, the one that had been removed was interesting.

The FBI, who took over the case, since her body was taken across the state line into Utah. They suspected someone with medical training. Dr. Smith was questioned, but quickly ruled out. Alibi and all of that. I was even questioned, mainly because the crazy bastard suggested I might be involved. He knew I was no idiot (at least in the intellectual sense), that I had an interest in forensics, particularly autopsies, and even that I was well read in the area. But, the FBI quickly dismissed that nonsense, seeing that I had no actual experience in medicine other than as a paramedic. This puts a better age on the character and I would say that you need to mature the voice of the character a lot. Right now he is sounding very young, arrogant, and very very immature. So much for Dr. Smith’s delusions about marijuana users all being criminals or something.

Again...

Then the second girl turned up in New Mexico, then the third in Arizona. The first had her kidney removed and the second her heart. It turned out that first had a kidney condition and the second a heart condition, so the heat fell on all the local doctors. How could anyone know of these specific conditions related to the removed body parts except some doctor who had their records? Just a little clumsy to read. And what was he doing with them? He surgically removed them before death. Was it some sort of thrill for him? Did he enjoy watching the third girl die there after heart was cut out? And what was he doing with them? Eating them like Hannibal Lecter? The rape as another interesting aspect, occurring both before death and after death. I followed the case closely. Yes but how was he doing this? The police always hold back some information from public record to lessen the chance of crazy people giving false confessions and so that when they catch the guy they know it is them. So... big plot something that you just need to put a line about in. Say something about his connection in the force, or a buddie in records or something.

My friends and I were actually riding dirt bikes and getting high in the desert when Vera Montgomery was found. We saw the crime scene from the distance and Dr. Smith was there. You could see him, the short little Napoleon of a man with that very complex. Again a little clumsy. That may have been another reason he suspected me. Because he was short? Doesn't make much sense and again brings your characters immaturity to the forfront of the story. The FBI considered it, but too many factors ruled me out. When we saw the crime scene from the bluff was when I told my friends I was moving to Utah.

“Why,” Mike said in his usual surfer boy accent—he was from SoCal and his voice would have sounded hokey, if it was not authentic. “You can’t smoke pot there.”

“I can still smoke it,” I said. “Just not legally.”

“That’s the point,” my right hand man, Robert said. He was like my Cassius, a bit moody sometimes, with a clever sleekness that you did not quite trust, but the best of friends you could have—loyal and willing to fight for you, staying with you even if he knew he was going to get his ass kicked.

“Well, I’ve decided to go to school in San Juan to be a forensic morgue technician. That crime scene down there reminds me of it.”

“That’s like what that nerd guy does on NCIS, right? Ducky’s assistant,” Robert asked.

“Yep.”

“Let’s go down there and check it out, man,” Mike suggested stupidly. He sounded even stupider in his stupid accent.

“We’re not going to see anything. They’ll just run us off,” I told him.

“And maybe suspect us,” Robert suggested.

“Yeah, maybe. Anyway, there’s not any reason to go down there.”

“Why not? You’re going to be a autopsy technician. It’d be a good experience for you.” Again, the accent made his suggestion sound more idiotic.

“Man, you’re an idiot,” I said. “Let’s ride.”

We kicked our petals and rode back through the desert to Bluffington. I’d enrolled at San Juan College, a technical college in San Juan, Utah, where Dr. Smith taught. The fact that he would be my professor did not excite me. That short, pompous, burly little man with his shaved head and harsh, measuring look was the complete opposite of my careless, rebellious temperament.

The dialogue needs work, at the moments the character do little to bestow confidence in the future of the planet or the Forensic Pathology of the future. :) You just need to mature the voice of this piece a little. The main character is a Medic... he would have seen some shit, he would have needed to make life and death decisions, a year or two as a medic would have matured him a lot more than you are portraying him to be.