25 Flames (opening 700 words)

reiver33

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(1950's Los Angeles) - and the title should be '25 Frames'

Maisy Days lay on the floor of prop warehouse number 2, clutching a small semi-automatic, pistol. I figured it as a .22 or .25 calibre weapon, a real ‘purse piece’. She was dead. The entry wound and contact burns were clearly visible. There was no exit wound and very little blood.

I sighed. “Damn shame, damn shame.”

Maisy – real name Gertrude Klonstein – had been a silent-era actress who didn’t have a ‘voice’ when the talkies came around. She’d ended up as prop mistress for Smithee Pictures, by way of a few stag films made by Mel Gratz, now the studio 2nd unit director. Despite being over ten years my senior, we’d shared a pint of bourdon, and a bed, on more than one occasion. You could call it a natural affinity between backroom workers, I guess.

Me? I’m Harry Fain, listed on the payroll as a security guard, although you’ll never find me in uniform. I’m the studio ‘sweeper’; the man you call when an actor under contract gets caught with their pants down – sometimes literally. I have a talent for smoothing things over, calming frayed nerves, making sure ‘indiscretions’ don’t find their into the papers. It pays the bills.

So, Maisy. It looked like suicide and the obvious move was to call it in, let the cops handle this one. It would play out as a tragic end to a life of dashed hopes, with no blowback that I could foresee. The obvious move, right.

But…

Something just didn’t sit right, something I couldn’t put my finger on.

I’ll take a look then, shall I?

“Be my guest.”

My shadow slid round until it was pointing towards Maisy and lengthened, extending out over the wooden boards to cover her upper body.

Was she left or right-handed?

I thought a moment. “Right. Although she played tennis with her left.”

There is no serial number on this weapon, and I do not mean that one has been removed.

“Probably a prop gun. Mild steel, no rifling, good enough for a low-charge blank. It would take a real bullet if you don’t mind the lack of accuracy and risk of it blowing up in your hand.”

My shadow slid down under her lower body and edged up under her skirt for a few moments.

Her undergarments are misaligned, inexpertly applied.

Its damn difficult to dress an unresponsive body, as I knew to my cost. When ‘Gentleman’ Jim Jameson, matinée darling, blew his brains out following a swish club bust, I’d staged the scene as a tragic accident while cleaning his revolver. Changing his silk lingerie for regular shorts and vest had been the proverbial pain in the ass.

So, Maisy.

I heard a side door open and close, footsteps approaching. Time enough to shake out a smoke and light up. My shadow shrank back and slid around to the correct orientation, given the light source.

“Jesus, Harry. She’s dead?” Toby Watts, assistant floor manager.

“Sure looks that way.”

“You called it in?”

“No, just found her myself.”

“Right, I’ll do it. You stay here, keep anyone else away from the body.” There was an eager edge to his voice he couldn’t hide.

As soon as Toby had scuttled off towards the warehouse office, I stepped forward to the body and knelt down. Using a ‘kerchief I wiped the pistol clean of prints and gently eased it back under her hand. I was back in position and on my second cigarette by the time Toby returned.

“They’re on their way. Said not to touch anything, the usual.” He wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead. “Never seen a dead body before.”
“Well, you get used to it. Okay, you wait by the main door, I’ll hang around here in case anyone enters by the loading bay.”

He flashed me a half-smile of gratitude and beat a hasty retreat.

Why did you disturb the evidence?

“Maybe it will make the cops mount an investigation, so I don’t have to. If this was an inside job then the killer has home-field advantage, in spades.” I shrugged. “Sometimes all you can do is muddy the waters and see what comes to the surface.”

sh*t floats, as they say.

“No lie, my man. No lie.”
 
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BT Jones

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Intriguing. I like the voices, the scene-setting and the authenticity. I can hear the accents. But I have to admit I am totally lost as to who he's talking to. Himself? His shadow? I didn't get the shadow movement thing.
I think the info dump at the beginning could maybe have been spread out a little bit more between the subsequent lines. That aside, it was well done. Noir isn't a genre for me, though, unless it's noir with a twist. If this is, then I probably haven't worked out the twist yet.
 

Narcissus

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Oh, I like this. The lead in to a classic mystery.

I assume the narrator is talking to himself. Didn't quite get why he's wiping prints off the gun. Guess it was his own prints he wanted to get rid of. That's why he told the other guy he'd stay and guard the body.

Remember Brandon Lee, the actor?? He died in a similar manner, shot with a prop gun.

Looking forward to continuation of the story.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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(1950's Los Angeles) - and the title should be '25 Frames'

Maisy Days lay on the floor of prop warehouse number 2, clutching a small semi-automatic, pistol. I figured it as a .22 or .25 (Couldn't find many 0.25 guns other than air pistols or automatics, plus with the 25 frames this will jar IMO. Why not be positive and say what it is after all presumably this is a seasoned detective) calibre weapon, a real ‘purse piece’. She was dead. The entry wound and contact burns were clearly visible. There was no exit wound and very little blood.

I sighed. “Damn shame, damn shame.”

Maisy – real name Gertrude Klonstein (why confuse with two names and if you do why not Gerty or something connectable) – had been a silent-era actress who didn’t have a ‘voice’ when the talkies came around. She’d ended up as prop mistress for Smithee Pictures, by way of a few stag films made by Mel Gratz, now the studio 2nd unit director. Despite being over ten years my senior, we’d shared a pint of bourdon, and a bed, on more than one occasion. You could call it a natural affinity between backroom workers, I guess. (too much name dropping and info IMO. These are all good investigatable things to use later in the story)

Me? I’m Harry Fain, listed on the payroll as a security guard, although you’ll never find me in uniform. I’m the studio ‘sweeper’; the man you call when an actor under contract gets caught with their pants down – sometimes literally. I have a talent for smoothing things over, calming frayed nerves, making sure ‘indiscretions’ don’t find their into the papers. It pays the bills. (cliche)

So, Maisy. It looked like suicide and the obvious move was to call it in, let the cops handle this one. It would play out as a tragic end to a life of dashed hopes, with no blowback that I could foresee. The obvious move, right.

But…

Something just didn’t sit right, something I couldn’t put my finger on.

I’ll take a look then, shall I? (Who he?)

“Be my guest.” (who he?)

My shadow slid round until it was pointing towards Maisy and lengthened, extending out over the wooden boards to cover her upper body.

Was she left or right-handed? (confusing - if you're trying to imply he's talking to himself then say so if it's meant to be someone else then identify them)

I thought a moment. “Right. Although she played tennis with her left.” (Is this really thinking out loud?)

There is no serial number on this weapon, and I do not mean that one has been removed. (has he disturbed the scene by picking up the gun)

“Probably a prop gun. Mild steel, no rifling, good enough for a low-charge blank. It would take a real bullet if you don’t mind the lack of accuracy and risk of it blowing up in your hand.”

My shadow slid down under her lower body and edged up under her skirt for a few moments. (now I know it really is his shadow see below, I'm having trouble with the shadow's existence in such a dark environment. Could she be missing the skirt maybe - Also reason for doubting the suicide.)

Her undergarments are misaligned, inexpertly applied.

Its damn difficult to dress an unresponsive body, as I knew to my cost. When ‘Gentleman’ Jim Jameson, matinée darling, blew his brains out following a swish club bust, I’d staged the scene as a tragic accident while cleaning his revolver. Changing his silk lingerie for regular shorts and vest had been the proverbial pain in the ass. (It good , but why would he bother the bust was already public else why the suicide)

So, Maisy.

I heard a side door open and close, footsteps approaching. Time enough to shake out a smoke and light up. My shadow shrank back and slid around to the correct orientation, given the light source. (now I'm really confused - It needs some explanation. I like the concept of the shadow being his partner - quite good and novel, but you're missing the impact of saying out loud IMO)

“Jesus, Harry. She’s dead?” Toby Watts, assistant floor manager.

“Sure looks that way.”

“You called it in?”

“No, just found her myself.”

“Right, I’ll do it. You stay here, keep anyone else away from the body.” There was an eager edge to his voice he couldn’t hide.

As soon as Toby had scuttled off towards the warehouse office, I stepped forward to the body and knelt down. Using a ‘kerchief I wiped the pistol clean of prints and gently eased it back under her hand. I was back in position and on my second cigarette by the time Toby returned.

“They’re on their way. Said not to touch anything, the usual.” He wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead. “Never seen a dead body before.”
“Well, you get used to it. Okay, you wait by the main door, I’ll hang around here in case anyone enters by the loading bay.”

He flashed me a half-smile of gratitude and beat a hasty retreat.

Why did you disturb the evidence?

“Maybe it will make the cops mount an investigation, so I don’t have to. If this was an inside job then the killer has home-field advantage, in spades.” I shrugged. “Sometimes all you can do is muddy the waters and see what comes to the surface.”

sh*t floats, as they say.

“No lie, my man. No lie.”

OK. I think I've got it now. Excellent idea - assuming the shadow is sentient (if that isn't the idea - I'll take it :))

You have - Oh it's you - bugger, just noticed who this is by. I'm now assuming all my assumptions are correct.

This has all the makings of your fantastic imagination.

I was surprised because I found so many picky bits, but none the less I like this. I like this a lot.

I do still think you need to reveal the true relationship earlier on. The line

"My shadow..."

doesn't quite do it IMO. I assumed it was his oppo, or deputy, or work experience student - if you get my drift.

Something like my shadow "disconnected" but disconnected isn't the right word.

Hope I helped

Tein
 
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Joshua Jones

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I like it. It has a very noir, period feel to it with a supernatural aspect in the sentient shadow. I liked the more overt references to the period (like the change over from silent movies to movies with audio) and the subtle ones (like the reference to the .25 caliber, which was primarily used between 1905-1945). This tells me this is set somewhere in the 20s, which matches the noir feel perfectly.

That said, I wasn't crazy about paragraph 4. It comes across to me as a bit of an info dump regarding the character, and I feel like this information could have been spread out into the narrative a bit more. You have him identified as Harry when Toby enters, so announcing his name wasn't necessary. His position as a security officer could be noted when the police arrive and dismiss him as a "rent-a-cop" or some such, and his actual role as a "sweeper" could be discussed when he talks to his boss about the matter. If you go that way, you may want to include an identifier after “Sure looks that way.” so we know it's the protagonist speaking. That said, monologuing does happen in noir, so it really isn't the end of the world if you keep this section. I just thing it would be a touch stronger if the information were more broken up.

There are a couple of nit-picky other points where the narrative could be tightened up a bit, but overall I thought this was a solid bit of writing. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you post more!
 

reiver33

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My thanks for the interest and feedback. In rereading this I found the opening a bit ‘info dumpy’ so posted it here for other opinions - I’m suffering from the usual ‘narrative blindness’ when a piece becomes overly familiar. Cheers!
 

TomUK

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(1950's Los Angeles) - and the title should be '25 Frames'

Maisy Days lay on the floor of prop warehouse number 2, clutching a small semi-automatic, pistol. I figured it as a .22 or .25 calibre weapon, a real ‘purse piece’. She was dead. The entry wound and contact burns were clearly visible. There was no exit wound and very little blood.

I sighed. “Damn shame, damn shame.”

Maisy – real name Gertrude Klonstein – had been a silent-era actress who didn’t have a ‘voice’ when the talkies came around. She’d ended up as prop mistress for Smithee Pictures, by way of a few stag films made by Mel Gratz, now the studio 2nd unit director. Despite being over ten years my senior, we’d shared a pint of bourdon, and a bed, on more than one occasion. You could call it a natural affinity between backroom workers, I guess.

Me? I’m Harry Fain, listed on the payroll as a security guard, although you’ll never find me in uniform. I’m the studio ‘sweeper’; the man you call when an actor under contract gets caught with their pants down – sometimes literally. I have a talent for smoothing things over, calming frayed nerves, making sure ‘indiscretions’ don’t find their into the papers. It pays the bills.

So, Maisy. It looked like suicide and the obvious move was to call it in, let the cops handle this one. It would play out as a tragic end to a life of dashed hopes, with no blowback that I could foresee. The obvious move, right.

But…

Something just didn’t sit right, something I couldn’t put my finger on.

I’ll take a look then, shall I?

“Be my guest.”

My shadow slid round until it was pointing towards Maisy and lengthened, extending out over the wooden boards to cover her upper body.

Was she left or right-handed?

I thought a moment. “Right. Although she played tennis with her left.”

There is no serial number on this weapon, and I do not mean that one has been removed.

“Probably a prop gun. Mild steel, no rifling, good enough for a low-charge blank. It would take a real bullet if you don’t mind the lack of accuracy and risk of it blowing up in your hand.”

My shadow slid down under her lower body and edged up under her skirt for a few moments.

Her undergarments are misaligned, inexpertly applied.

Its damn difficult to dress an unresponsive body, as I knew to my cost. When ‘Gentleman’ Jim Jameson, matinée darling, blew his brains out following a swish club bust, I’d staged the scene as a tragic accident while cleaning his revolver. Changing his silk lingerie for regular shorts and vest had been the proverbial pain in the ass.

So, Maisy.

I heard a side door open and close, footsteps approaching. Time enough to shake out a smoke and light up. My shadow shrank back and slid around to the correct orientation, given the light source.

“Jesus, Harry. She’s dead?” Toby Watts, assistant floor manager.

“Sure looks that way.”

“You called it in?”

“No, just found her myself.”

“Right, I’ll do it. You stay here, keep anyone else away from the body.” There was an eager edge to his voice he couldn’t hide.

As soon as Toby had scuttled off towards the warehouse office, I stepped forward to the body and knelt down. Using a ‘kerchief I wiped the pistol clean of prints and gently eased it back under her hand. I was back in position and on my second cigarette by the time Toby returned.

“They’re on their way. Said not to touch anything, the usual.” He wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead. “Never seen a dead body before.”
“Well, you get used to it. Okay, you wait by the main door, I’ll hang around here in case anyone enters by the loading bay.”

He flashed me a half-smile of gratitude and beat a hasty retreat.

Why did you disturb the evidence?

“Maybe it will make the cops mount an investigation, so I don’t have to. If this was an inside job then the killer has home-field advantage, in spades.” I shrugged. “Sometimes all you can do is muddy the waters and see what comes to the surface.”

sh*t floats, as they say.

“No lie, my man. No lie.”

Firstly and most importantly, I wanted to keep reading. The shock value in the first paragraph - ‘she was dead’ - really works. I thought Maisy Days was going to be a lead character, then bam, turns out she’s dead. I like the Sam Spade vibe.

I was a little confused about the dialogue - with the shadow? It seems to come in too quick, and it threw me off. I don’t know if that‘s a good thing or not, but it feels like it would work better if it was either just a slight hint of something odd or alternatively if the shadow is given a bit of a shape as a character, to create a more visceral sense of what’s going on there to hook me in more.
 

reiver33

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I've reworked the opening to be less informative, and included a wee bit more to show how it develops.



Maisy Days lay on the floor of prop warehouse number 2, clutching a small semi-automatic pistol. I figured it as a .22 or .25 calibre weapon, a real ‘purse piece’. She was dead. The entry wound and contact burns under her chin were clearly visible. There was no exit wound and very little blood.

I sighed. “Damn shame, damn shame.”

Maisy – real name Gertrude Klonstein – had been a silent-era actress who didn’t have a ‘voice’ when the talkies came around. She’d ended up as prop mistress for Smithee Pictures, part of the background crew, just like me. Despite being over ten years my senior, we’d shared a pint of bourdon, and a bed, on more than one occasion. You could call it a natural affinity between the invisible, I guess.

Well, it looked like suicide and the obvious move was to call it in, let the cops handle this one. It would play out as a tragic end to a life of dashed hopes, with no blowback that I could foresee. The obvious move, right.

But…

Something just didn’t sit right, something I couldn’t put my finger on. I stepped forward until my shadow lay across the gun in her right hand. That gave me pause, as she played tennis with her left, but I remembered how, ah, dexterous she could be with either hand, and let it slide

There is no serial number on this weapon, nor any indication one has been removed.

“Probably a prop gun. Mild steel, no rifling, good enough for a low-charge blank. It would take a real bullet if you don’t mind the lack of accuracy and risk of it blowing up in your hand.”

I half-turned, sending my shadow along her lower body. It hesitated over the exposed stocking top and garter, then edged up under her skirt for a few moments.

Her undergarments are misaligned, inexpertly applied.

Its damn difficult to dress an unresponsive body, as I knew to my cost. So, maybe not as straightforward as it appeared. I heard a side door open and close, footsteps approaching. Time enough to step back, shake out a smoke and light up.

“Jesus, Harry. She’s dead?” Toby Watts, assistant floor manager.

I shrugged. “Sure looks that way.”

“You called it in?”

“No, just found her myself.”

“Right, I’ll do that. You-”. He broke off with a start, as if suddenly seeing me there. “Look, Harry, ah, if this is a something, right, I was never here.”

That almost made me smile. I’m listed on the payroll as a security guard, although you’ll never find me in uniform. My actual role is the studio ‘sweeper’; the man you call when an actor under contract gets caught with their pants down – sometimes literally. I have a talent for smoothing things over, calming frayed nerves, making sure ‘indiscretions’ don’t find their into the papers. Toby worried he’d blundered in me staging a murder as suicide meant my reputation was even worse than I imagined. Which has its up-side.

I squared my shoulders. “Like I said, Toby, I just found her myself. Go call the cops.”

“I’m right on it.” There was an eager edge to his voice he couldn’t hide.

As soon as Toby had scuttled off towards the warehouse office, I returned to the body and knelt down. Using a ‘kerchief I wiped the pistol clean of prints and gently eased it back under Maisy’s cold fingers. I was back in position and on my second cigarette by the time Toby returned.

“They’re on their way, said not to touch anything. I told Mister Harvey, well, his secretary.” He wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead. “Never seen a dead body before.”

“Well, you get used to it. Okay, you wait by the main door, I’ll hang around here in case anyone enters by the loading bay.”

He flashed me a half-smile of gratitude and beat a hasty retreat.

Why did you disturb the evidence?

“Maybe it will make the cops mount an investigation, so I don’t have to. If this was an inside job then the killer has home-field advantage, in spades.” I shrugged. “Sometimes all you can do is muddy the waters and see what comes to the surface.”

sh*t floats, as they say.

“No lie, my man. No lie.”
#​
I sat on a fake Louis Quinze armchair until the LAPD showed up. The uniforms shooed me away from the body but I hung around near the door until Homicide put in an appearance - in the shape of two detectives.

The older man, Brown, was late middle-age with rheumy eyes and egg stains on his tie. He came over as someone with a great future behind him, now marking time until his pension. Brown took one look at the body, pronounced it suicide, and went back to the car. Didn’t even take out his damn notebook.

The other detective, Harvard, was around my age. Stocky, with an easy smile that didn’t extend to his eyes. He inspected the body for several minutes, taking notes, then walked over to where I was lounging against the wall. “Harry Fain? You found the body?”

“Myself and Toby Watts. He called it in.”

“Uh-huh. Either of you move anything, touch the deceased?”

“Nope.”

He arched an eyebrow. “Not even to check for a pulse?”

I straightened up to stand square-on. “I’ve seen enough of the dead to know she was beyond help.” The left side of my face is badly scarred and I saw Harvard flinch, if only barely.

He looked me up-and-down. “Marines?”

I shook my head. “Kasserine Pass.”

He raised a left hand missing the pinkie and ring finger. “Anzio.”

“At least neither of us is headed to Korea.”

It wasn’t like there was some unspoken bond between us, but he nodded. “Think it was suicide? You know if she had any pressing reason to take her own life?”

“Nope. Some reason you’re treating this as suspicious?”

“Blood from the wound ran straight down. Not sideways, like you’d expect after she landed on the floor.”

“Someone gets shot like that, they don’t always drop straight away.”

His eyes narrowed. “Speaking from personal experience?”

“Speaking from personal experience.”

Harvard looked me straight in the eye. “I know who you are, Fain, your reputation”.

“It’s a shame how rumour can ruin a man.”

He closed his notebook. “You’ll have to come down to the Precinct and make a formal statement, but for now you can go. Don’t leave town, don’t discuss the circumstances with the press or anyone involved – I’m sure you know the drill.”

“I’m sure I do.” I tipped my hat. “Good day to you, detective.”
#​
Outside, on the lot, it was shaping up to be another open-furnace day. I wanted a soda and set off towards the cafeteria, although it was only postponing the inevitable summons from Lionel Harvey, head of studio.

The slap of leather-on-leather drew me up short.

“Suicide, Harry? You must be slipping. I’d have thought ‘accidental death’ would be more in your line.” The voice belonged to Greta Fontaine, currently starring in ‘Secrets of the Pharaohs Tomb’.

I turned to face, inclined my head. “Miss Fontaine.”

She was a tall brunette with a smile that could go from coy to cruel in a heartbeat. No mere ‘screamer’ either, she was playing the assistant archaeologist – kitted out in jodhpurs, high boots, open-necked shirt and ‘kerchief worn at the throat.

I gestured to her riding crop. “Have the camels finally arrived, or is that just down to personal preference?”

“You wish! Well, maybe not you, but that creep Gratz has me beating a servant girl in reel two.” Greta tapped her boot. “You know why she did it? Maisy?”

“Like I have a special insight?”

“Girl talk, Harry, girl talk. I know all about the two of you.” Her mouth shaded into smirk. “All the details.”

I smiled and shook my head. “Somehow I doubt that. She had to have a drink in her before getting up close and personal - but one of the few women to look me square in the face. You’re another.”

Greta lifted the tip of the riding crop to her right eye. “Don’t flatter yourself, Harry, I’m partially blind. If it gets too much I just turn my head slightly and that horror show you wear fades to a disagreeable blur.”

“You’re…” I frowned. “That eye-patch in Pirate Queen of the Barbary Coast? For real?”

“Tom Wilks backhanded me, in private, of course. His class ring scarred my iris.” Now it was her turn to frown. “I thought you knew. I thought that’s why…well, well, accidents do happen, after all.”

Behind you.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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There's less to pick at, but I preferred the previous "detached" relationship with the shadow and IMO the scarring detracts. I'm not sure about film studio's policy on such matters but would they want their "stars" upset by such things as a prop man handed them their props. Or more importantly would the stars stand for it. Beautiful people like to be surrounded by beautiful things - call me shallow.

A small problem that needs to be resolved IMO

She’d ended up as prop mistress for Smithee Pictures, part of the background crew, just like me.

I’m listed on the payroll as
a security guard, although you’ll never find me in uniform.

Hope I helped

Tein
 
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reiver33

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He’s not a prop man, just part of the ‘invisible’ who keep things running, doubly so as he doesn’t wear the uniform of a security guard. The scars add to his persuasive appeal, when acting as the studio ‘frightener’.
 

Phyrebrat

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I haven't much to add. My initial thoughts were the same as TEIN's as I know your style and like it. Although I liked both versions, I'm disappointed you cut the thing about changing the lingerie for drawers etc. That might be a good call but I liked the depth it gave to this, as if he's seen it all (literally) and is so jaded. Works so well for this style.

This so hard boiled, I think all these asides and descriptive tells is right on brand for noir (qualifuing who the actress is, introducing names and jobs etc) and I love the idea of the shadow partner.

Really, I think you just write it all - there'd certainly be a market for this.

pH
 

reiver33

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The full chapter 1 is available in the writing group forum.
 

reiver33

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I had one of those flurries and wrote the first 3 chapters - around 8k words - before posting the opening on here, hence its somewhat of a raw read. It’s a bit ‘telegraphy’ in places.
 

Capricorn42

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Hi, I just wanted to make a few points:
This little exchange:

He looked me up-and-down. “Marines?”
I shook my head. “Kasserine Pass.”


Didn't work for me. Why assume Harry was ex-marines? And why would Harry correct him with the place of a battle rather than his actual unit?

I'm wondering if commissary would be a better choice of word than cafeteria, which sounds a bit too British?

You use the word "‘kerchief" which doesn't feel right (just my opinion). Maybe use scarf or bandanna?

I really liked the description of the sentient shadow in the first draft. Its sudden appearance was a shock, and rightly so. It would make a good scary film moment. And the whole idea of a shadow sidekick is very, very nice, not seen it before.
 

reiver33

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Given he was of age to have served in WW2, plus his injuries, and west coast location, the detectives initial assumption was the Pacific theatre, which would be navy or marines.

Kasserine Pass was a traumatic event in US military history, which would be instantly recognisable.

I’m using ‘kerchief as the short form of handkerchief.

My thanks for the feedback!
 

-K2-

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Perhaps regarding the Marine/Army issue, beyond just looking him up and down, have him also linger at the facial scar, wince or whatever. That would give you a reason to mention a battle vs. a branch of the military. It doesn't matter where you are from in the U.S., it has little bearing as to what branch you'll go into, even during a draft.

“No lie, my man. No lie.” doesn't fit the time period. Look up late 40s popular slang terms.

Commissary WOULD be appropriate for a movie studio as @Capricorn42 mentions.

Instead of 'a 'kerchief,' 'my 'kerchief'.

I'll take a longer look later. Overall, very nice ;)

K2
 

December88

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Just chiming in to say that I really, really dug this, which really is something because I usually find the dark/noir vibe only passably interesting. Only real suggestion I've got pertains to the detective bringing up the marines.

As @Capricorn42 mentioned, it threw me off a little. As someone not that well versed in military history my thought process was like this: 'hmm, so the detective assumes he's a marine because of the scar on his face. Yeah, that's fine, I guess, but does he go around assuming this of everyone with a scar across their face?'

When you explained this: 'Given he was of age to have served in WW2, plus his injuries, and west coast location, the detectives initial assumption was the Pacific theatre, which would be navy or marines.' it instantly made more sense and made me feel stupid because well... it's a detective's job to join the dots.

I like the detective and through their small interaction, feel as if he's going to be the guy helping Harry later on. I think giving Harry a line of thought where he acknowledges the detective's acumen at arriving at the conclusion that Harry is a marine (similar to the way you explained) would be a nice little touch.
 

Metaluna

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Chandler-esque with an extra dimension - very intriguing. Has me hooked. Small point, but there are a couple of cliches (someone with a great future behind him - marking time until his pension) which let the piece down. The relationship between the man and his shadow is intriguing - is it his subconscious, another being, what? How did it get there? Lots of questions to keep me reading.
 

reiver33

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The shadow 'origin story' is in chapter 3 I'm afraid. My thanks for the continued comments!
 

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