A Study In Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle
I'm in the middle of The Apprentice, by Tess Gerritsen. It's the second novel in the Detective Rizzoli series, which was, loosely, the inspiration for the television show Rizzoli and Isles, a police procedural which is very careful to break no new ground. Not that the show (or the book) is bad, exactly. But it's like every other procedural on television (or in the 'summer reading' aisle, in the book's case). The only suspense on the show is wondering if Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander are going to confess their undying love for each other. I predict that happens in season 3.
Here are some excerpts from a detective novel I'd like to see. I believe it would sell exactly one copy. However, any publicist who wants to throw their money away, contact me and I'll write more.
"You look glum, chief. What's up?" Detective John Smith asked.
Chief Joe Green did not reach for a cigarette. After all, he had never smoked, and smoking had been outlawed in police headquarters 15 years ago. He did, however, take a sip of coffee before answering the detective's question. It was delicious; it only took a couple of minutes to brew a fresh pot, so the staff regularly put up new batches throughout the day.
"You're not going to like this John. The FBI called. They want in on your latest case. In fact, there's an agent coming here right now. Should be here any minute. I'm sorry, but it's-- "
John was grinning as he interrupted. "What are you talking about? That's great! The FBI has hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on fancy investigative equipment. It will make our job so much easier."
At that point, a man walked in. He wasn't wearing sunglasses, because it was an overcast day. He was wearing a black suit, which looked good, but not perfectly tailored. John would have guessed it came off the rack at Macy's or somewhere similar.
"Chief Green? Detective Smith? I'm agent David Stone."
"It's a pleasure to see you," John said, shaking his hand.
"Same here," said Stone. "I love it when I get to work with local police departments. We have all this fancy equipment, but it's so useful to have someone who knows the neighborhoods and what local people might be of interest. I think that by working together we'll have a great chance to capture this criminal."
The killer watched the television intently. Soon he would see what the world was thinking of him. Soon he would affirm how much fear he had struck into the hearts of Detroit.
"Good evening. Welcome to the 10 o'clock news. I'm Grace Casper, filling in for Johann Miles, who is on vacation. Our top story tonight is--"
He licked his lips. What nickname had they come up with for him. Did they base it on the fact he sliced all his victims into seven equal portions. The Unlucky Seven Slayer. That had a ring to it. Or perhaps the toys from his childhood he left at the scenes would create his moniker. The Action Figure Killer. Maybe the coroner had found the orchid stems he left lodged in each victim's trachea, in memory of the greenhouse his mother had kept. The Floral Menace?
"-- the continuing tension in the Middle East. We go now to Sarah Tellington in Washington D.C., where..."
How could this be? Weren't two deaths, both committed on Wednesdays three weeks apart, not enough to be the lead story? Of course, what was happening in Iran was pretty frightening. Maybe he would be next.
"... thank you, Sarah. We have to take a commercial break, but next we look at a story closer to home --"
Yes! This was what he had been waiting for.
"-- how one high school is helping students get ahead."
No! Perhaps he would be on later. But he had to be at work tomorrow. He pressed the 'record' button on his DVR, and went to bed. It was better that way. He hated Sam's Sports Spotlight and would be able to fast forward through it tomorrow. Sam was so insincere. Always pretending the Tigers could pull through this year.
The crime lab was always brightly lit. John Smith had wondered about that, after watching CSI, but Lucy Dorchester, the chief coroner, had explained it to him one day. "If I'm looking over a body for subtle signs like a needle puncture, I want as much illumination as possible," she had told him. John had always respected Dr. Dorchester, for both her intelligence and her charming sense of humor. But that was as far as it went. They were, after all, both happily married. Besides, it would be a gross breach of departmental regulations to let the relationship go any further. The idea that a man and woman couldn't have a relationship without it turning into a sexual one had always struck him as bizarre.
Of course, he wasn't with her anyway, because he hadn't come here for autopsy results. He was with forensic detective Anna-Lucia Proppiata, reviewing the evidence from the last crime scene.
"If there were any weird chemicals in the blood, it will be a few days before we know," she said. "To test for this you need the solution to sit for 48 hours."
"I understand," Smith said. "And I know this isn't the only thing the lab's working on. This serial killer may be my main case, but I've got several other things I'm working on myself." Anna nodded, grateful he wasn't trying to demand the impossible.
Smith continued, "How about that oil-like substance we found?"
Anna smiled. "We have identified it as motor oil."
"Great," said the Detective. "It's a sort used by only one car company, right? It will tell us that the suspect drives a custom-built 1994 Jaguar?"
She shook her head. "Sorry. It's the sort sold in every hardware store, convenience store and mega-mart around the country. He could be driving anything. Heck, he could have used it for a lawnmower or boat. It really tells us nothing. Sometimes clues are just a red herring."
He got the impression the police weren't taking him seriously enough. It was time to get personal. He would stalk the detective investigating his case just like Jeffrey Dahmer had stalked... actually, he didn't know the name of the detective who had arrested him. But he would torture his pursuer's dreams the same way that Ted Bundy had tortured... how had Bundy been caught again?
Well, neither of them had the advantage of Google. Ignoring the search engine's slogan of "Don't Be Evil," he typed in "Detectives in Detroit," ready to locate his nemesis and slowly drive him insane.
Now showing results 1-10 of 998,000.
Well, he'd have to narrow it down. Maybe Google was giving him results for private eyes. Maybe if he tried "Detroit Police Detectives" instead... results 1-10 of 7,194,000.
Over seven million hits? How was that possible. No way he was searching for all those. Oh well, he'd just keep killing like he always did.
It was getting late and he had work tomorrow. He really should start planning his killings earlier in the evening, but who had the time? Bed soon, but first the auction sites. Maybe someone was selling a cool toy,
Dr. Barcus Emptor stared out his maximum security prison cell, barely even blinking. The prisoners in the cell across the hallway avoided his gaze, scared of the cleverest serial killer Michigan had even known. He listened to the inane chatter of the security guards in the hallway.
"I'm telling you, we want to keep at least two people on patrol in this corridor at all times. We've got Doctor Emptor here! He's as bad as Hannibal Lector."
"You're kidding me. You've never heard of Hannibal Lector? From Red Dragon? Silence of the Lambs?"
"What are those? Plays? Radio dramas?"
"They're -- look. Forget it. Let me try another example. Ever see Con Air. He's like Steve Buscemi's character."
"Steve Buscemi? The guy on that Boardwalk show? He's been in other things?"
"Ugh. Okay. Ever watched CSI? Remember the Doll House killer?"
"CSI? Is that the one which shows Masterpiece Theater?"
"No! That's PBS... Gah. Look, the dude is cell 5 is an evil psychopath who's already killed 3 guards who let themselves get distracted when they were dealing with him. Don't -- I repeat, do not -- let your guard down near him."
"Oh. All right."
For the millionth time, Dr. Barcus wondered how, exactly, he had been captured.