Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Prologue

The Winning Cover (so far)
I'm working on the second draft of my murder mystery novel.  Below is a short excerpt from the beginning of the book.


My road of regret is paved with many stones. Many. But I set the biggest one on a Friday. It was early in the morning, late in September. The air was crisp. The sky was bright. And my love sat at our kitchen table, for the last time.

I laid the clipped stack of cell phone bills on the laminate top. Liz looked up at me from her magazine, her auburn hair flowing onto her shoulders, afire with early morning sun that streamed through the window.

“What’s up?” she asked, reaching for her mug of coffee.

“Who is it you call every day and talk to for almost two hours?” I sat in my usual chair.

She didn’t answer. Set her steaming coffee back on the little round table.

I waited for her to fill the silence. The sound of our daughter, Elise, rustling in her bedroom, getting ready for school, seemed distant.

“You’re never here.” Almost a whisper.

“So you call your old boyfriend every day?”

“Well of course you already knew the answer to your question before you asked it, didn’t you, Detective?” A blaze kindled in her hazel eyes.

“Are you really going to your mother’s in Cincinnati this weekend? Or are you going to see him in Knoxville?” Either destination was easy and about the same distance from our apartment in Lexington. Just take I-75 North to Cincinnati or I-75 South to Knoxville.

Her nostrils flared. Her cheeks glowed. I didn’t ask whether it was because I was so wrong in my suspicions or because I was so right. I longed for happier times. Liz and I at the movies laughing, walking in the rain downtown while out to dinner, making love in a hotel, holding Elise for the first time, seeing her get on the bus for school. I longed, but I held firm.

“Maybe you should take Elise with you. I don’t think I’ll have time to stay home with her this weekend after all.”

“She’ll have to miss a day of school.”

“What’s one day in the grand scheme of things? She would love to see her granny.” Liz’s mother detested that word.

“Of course, you’re never home to talk to me so why should you be home for your daughter.”

Elise came padding into the kitchen, wearing a short sleeve pink shirt and a white and pink polka-dot skirt. She hadn’t put on her shoes yet. She headed straight to the cabinet of cereals and pulled out a box.

“Guess what.” I said, putting on my best smile. “You’re going with mom to see Nana.”

She stopped mid-stride on her way to the refrigerator, and looked at us, her big almond brown eyes going from one to the other and back.

“After school?”

“Nah, we’ve decided you don’t have to go to school today.”

Big grin, a couple of jumps.

Well played, I thought.

The thing is, I still don’t know where Liz originally planned to go that day.

Some mysteries are better left alone.


  1. Jeff I really liked what I read. You have capsured my attention I would really would like to read the whole book. Wishing you success with it. I'll buy it when you release it.. It does me proud to see a class mate in print.
    Mike Tinder WHS class of 1980