Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

Posts Tagged ‘Australian crime’

Still writing!

Posted by Andrew Girle on January 6, 2013

My apologies – I have not posted on here since my dismal failure at Not-No-Wri-Mo.
BUT
I was stuck at the car dealership on Wednesday, waiting for the diagnosis of a ‘funny squeak’ in my 6 month old car, so I used the five hours to stamp out 1200 words in the Fireballs’n’45’s storyline.

And came up with an idea for a t-shirt… line drawing of a fedora pulled low over a canine muzzle, with the caption “Pitt, Detective. When it’s time to see a dog about a man.”

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Editing is boring

Posted by Andrew Girle on July 23, 2012

I have my novel, No Working Title, open with my editor’s notes side by side with my manuscript.

I’m up to chapter 6 out of 22.

And here I am, on wordpress. Cause, meet effect.

Before you throw rocks at me, I’m fully aware that the work NEEDS to be edited, and every comment so far has moved the story to a better place. But MAN!

WHINE!

DON’T WANNA!

*stampy feet*

*deep breath* Now that is off my chest, it is back to the editing.

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Site tidy up

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 9, 2011

I have begun a rewrite of No Working Title and so have removed it from view on here. I have also deleted some other pdf material, so if you go to click through and find a dead link, please notify me and I will do my best to sort things out.

 

Happy writing!

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A heist story

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 29, 2010

An interesting subgenre of crime is the heist story – think of the Wyatt novels, or The Italian Job (particularly the original one with Michael Caine). In a fit of avoiding that damn butterfly, I tried my hand at a flash fiction heist story… and here it is

A is for alarm…

Which frankly, can be a problem for sensitive ears when they go off. Particularly if that happens to be just as you are opening someone else’s door. A jewellery shop door, to be precise.

B is for burglary…

The technical term for breaking and entering. And will someone do something about that damn alarm?

C is for cop cars…

Which no doubt are spinning their wheels and gunning their engines in their haste to come here and look at me breaking and entering and setting off alarms.

D is for diamonds…

Which were supposed to be on the other side of this door. The door with the alarm. The door which I was told did not have an alarm.

E is for exit…

Stage right. Feet, do your thing!

F is for truck…

Actually, for a word that sounds like truck but I’m already in enough trouble and kids might read this.

G is for guard…

And also for his best friend, German Shepherd…

Which have *ahem* trucking big teeth.

H is for ‘how the hell did I get into this?’

Actually I don’t need to ask. Freddy the Fence gave me the tip on this place, and promised ten grand in small used notes if I got the satchel of sparklers.

I is for idiot…

That would be me. Next time I do my own homework on a job and don’t trust someone with the name ‘Freddy’. Particularly when it comes to alarm schematics.

J is for jump…

Right over this perimeter fence. Lucky I’m still in shape, and that damn dog can’t climb fences.

K is for kick…

Just like that security guard just did. Kicked a panel clean out of the fence and let his dog through.

L is for lungs…

They’re burning. I might be in shape but sprinting and jumping fences while being chased by a dog the size of a bus is not my idea of a good time. It isn’t, really. Stop looking at me like that!

M is for my BUTT…

The dog just bit me on my BUTT! I think I just lost the pocket off the back of my jeans! It’s funny, my lungs don’t hurt anymore, and I think I just broke the sound barrier.

N is for Nissan…

Which is my car. Conveniently parked in the shadows just here. Keyless entry is a wonderful invention, and now I am safe inside, and rover the butt-biting pocket shredding *ahem* trucker is futilely barking at my window.

O is for… well, it is IN ‘donut’

Which is what I did when I dropped the clutch and shoved the pedal not just to the metal but clean through the firewall. A murky grey cloud of tire smoke was all the guard saw of my car, and even if he did somehow get the number plate, it didn’t matter – I borrowed it off a council bus.

P is for pain…

I think my butt might be bleeding on my car seat covers. My wife will not be happy about that.

Q is for quiet…

Quietly drive away. Don’t attract attention, don’t do anything silly. Cops only pay attention to people doing silly things, especially when they are on the way to break and enters. Break and enters with alarms. Alarms that I didn’t get told about.

R is for revenge…

Freddy and I are going to have a little chat. Actually, there won’t be much conversation, not a lot of need for talking. He’s going to get the message, one way or another.

S is for setup…

I was set up.  I was meant to trigger the alarm. I was meant to draw off the guard and his dog. While I am ducking and weaving all over town, someone else is probably inside that place right now, lifting the satchel of sparklers. Which means that S is also for sucker…

T is for tables…

Which I am going to turn. Driving carefully I return to the scene of the crime. That is what criminals do isn’t it? And look at that – running out the door that I went to all the trouble of opening, is a little ferret faced guy, holding a satchel. A satchel full of my diamonds, undoubtedly.

U is for eunuch…

Oh I know, don’t pick on me. Eunuch starts with an ‘e’. But ferret face here probably doesn’t know that, and the knife I am holding between his legs kinda has all his attention anyway. The satchel comes off his shoulder easily, just like I expected it was not very heavy. A few hundred grand in diamonds doesn’t weigh much.

V is for victory…

Vae Victus, dude.

W is for wave…

I wave goodbye to ferret face. I’m not using all my fingers.

 X is for X-ray…

Which is how you prove the diamonds are real.

Y is for yell…

When I realise that they are fakes.

Z is for Zzzzzz

What I should have been doing all night instead of trying to make crime pay.

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Genre mashup

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 18, 2010

I can’t draw to save myself. I have subsequently discovered the sketch conversion capability in photoshop and similar programs, which is pretty handy as it means I can turn a digital photo into a ‘sketch’.

How is this relevant to writing, I hear you ask?

Well, if I want to drop little illustrations into my stories, now I can. Likewise, if I want to do a trailer but use my own imagery rather than risking copyright infringement, now I can.

Last but not least, I have an idea for a short story (yes, that bloody butterfly has fluttered past again) that may just need to mash up crime genre, graphic novel and haiku.

*sigh* someone pass me the bug spray will they?

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Some randym thoughts

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 13, 2010

Up until now Vampires (vampyres, blood sucking broody types etc etc) seem to have been the flavour of the month (well, last decade or more actually!). From a writing point of view, that tells me they are poison to try and copy or write as a genre, because there is just SO MUCH out there. And then I wandered over to one of my subscriptions here and find that Fallen Angels are the next big thing.

 

Except… what is the difference between a Vampire and a Fallen Angel? Biblically, not much. In YA – apparently fallen angels are good guys who did something wrong and lost their wings (like a grounded pilot?). But Vampires in the recent years were all ‘bad guys trying to repent’ which approaching the same moody angst thing from the other side.

 

So what does that revelation mean to me? My next detective character is not going to be a vampire. Or a skeleton. Might be a werewolf (because of all the lame jokes I can write in).

/stream of consciousness off.

 

Be good!

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Does a continuing character need a continuing nemesis?

Posted by Andrew Girle on September 28, 2010

Holmes had Moriarty. Kay Scarpetta had Temple Gault. All through crime fiction our favourite continuing characters have continuing nemeses.

But do they have to have them? Cannot our gumshoes walk the mean streets and face enough danger without acquiring some kind of fantastic super-enemy? Characters should be human, and humans don’t acquire enduring enemies – cartoon heroes do.

Or am I wrong?

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Story lines

Posted by Andrew Girle on September 22, 2010

I haven’t written in a few weeks, and my brain has started to swell with the fizz and pop with ideas trying to let themselves out. Character names that say everything about the character (a couple of private eyes with the names Felix Black and Sam Pennyquick…. just imagine them in a tense scene!) and one liners that just zing.

All these are going into my ideas file, because I currently have four separarate story lines on the juggle and I don’t want to be distracted by that damn butterfly again.

Ohhh look there it goes again…. quick, someone get my net.

Or maybe not.

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Some writers get blocked. I chase the pretty butterfly of indecision!

Posted by Andrew Girle on July 13, 2010

The third false start has occurred. ARGH!

After finishing my first manuscript, I sat straight down and begain a sequel. Then this great idea came along for a spy/crime genre novel in a fantasy setting. Oooohh better get some notes on that one, says clever-me, so off I wander down that forked path.

Then (of course) the world got in the way, the ideas seem to dry up so I went back to hammering out the crime-sequel – the ‘what happens next’ for the writer in No Working Title.

Then… you guessed it… along comes steampunk detective noir and I chased THAT elusive butterfly until I got it tohe 20K word count with chapter outlines written but now it just won’t come OUT!

So one bright sunny day while having a coffee with my long suffering wife at a bookshop (Riverbend Books, I blame them) I had another idea. A series of linked short stories.

Damn, that butterfly is back. Pass me the insecticide, somebody!

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A new detective story….

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 26, 2010

All good detective paperbacks start in the office, with flyspecks on the glass and cheap booze threatening to erode its way out of the bottle perched on the corner of the desk. Debt collectors final demand notices are used to soak up coffee stains, and the coffee cups that caused them are so desperately in need of cleaning that it would be easier to buy new ones.

Then the blonde walks in, and suddenly the prospect of financial salvation and maybe even an interesting story unfold like a tabloid in a strong breeze.

Which is of course why I am chained in this cellar, a trickle of what might be water but smells disgustingly like cat pee is running down my back, and as far as I can tell financial ruin is the least of my problems. Particularly as I can hear keys rattling in the lock.

The door swung open on hinges that squealed more than an angry possum, and a tall man with a bandaged hand came cautiously into the cellar. More interesting than the bandage was the heavy stick he was holding in his other hand. Any thoughts I had nursed of launching a surprise attack were dashed – I would have to be overwhelmingly lucky to stand a chance of winning, and he only had to be lucky once to hit me in the head with that lump of wood and it would be lights out. He walked down the narrow stairs, well away from the edge where the handrail had long ago disappeared. The door swung shut behind him of its own accord.

“C’mon you mongrel, it’s time for you to go for a little walk.” He didn’t look me in the eye as he spoke, and he grabbed the chain where it looped around my neck and twisted it tightly enough to make my eyes pop a little.

“How about you put that stick down and we’ll talk about it, one on one?” The threat came from deep down in my chest, and came out past my teeth as a feral snarl. “You were stupid enough to put your hand in my mouth last time, how about you let me have another chew at it.”

He just laughed and hauled on the chain harder, dragging me kicking and struggling impotently to the steps. Once there he was presented with a problem. The stairs were wide enough for just one of us to pass at a time, and certainly not when we were close together with his hand on the improvised collar. I watched the situation with interest, one wrong move on his part and I would seize on the chance to make my escape.

And it was a wrong move that he made. He quickly realised that he would not be able to get both of us up the stairs side by side, let alone through the door, so he pushed his butt backwards and used it to guide himself, dragging me along after him. At the top of the steps he used his butt to shove the door open. Fortunately for me, this meant he was bending forwards and off balance. I waited until he was just clearing the doorframe and about to pull me through, when I lunged away from him. The combination of my weight, his being off balance already and finally having the stick in his hand so he couldn’t grab the jamb meant that he fell. His head connected with the solid timber of the door with what was frankly a rather satisfying clonking sound, and then it repeated the noise three or four times as he slid down the steps. Finally he ended up sprawled full length on the floor. The chain fell from his limp fingers, and with a shake it fell from my neck too. Two big steps and I had gone past him and out into the hallway, into freedom.

Somewhere in this house was my partner. We had both been caught at the same time, and separated, I guess so we could not plot our escape. I looked up and down the hallway, and realised suddenly that I could smell the distinct odour of cat poop. It was wafting down the hall towards me, so I guess it must be coming from the room at the end. While it might seem like an odd time to be thinking about cat messings, you have to remember that we had been peeping in through a window when we had been caught, and standing in a garden bed to do so. And that garden bed had been, I remembered vividly, as full of cat poo as a litter tray in a cattery. If I followed my nose, there was a good chance that I would find my partner, and we could both get out of here.

The first room I looked into was interesting, very interesting, but held no sign of my partner, so reluctantly I moved on.

The door to the next room was not properly closed, allowing me to ease the door open a little further without making any noise, and peer around. Just as I had hoped, my partner was there. She was laying on the floor, her hands tied behind her back and her jumper pulled over her head. Oh, and a large clay-like deposit on the sole of her shoe was exuding the wonderful aroma of cat.

I crossed the short space of floor to her, and flipped the jumper off her head. My partners face split into a huge grin when she saw me.

“Oh boy am I glad to see you! Can you help untie me?”

I just nodded, and looked closely at the knots. They were not particularly expertly tied, and had been done using thick nylon cord. I only worried at them for a few moments before they suddenly fell apart. My partner rubbed her wrists then gave me a quick hug before working on the knots binding her ankles. These were released even faster than I had managed on her wrists, and she stood with a stretch and a groan.

“We really screwed up this one didn’t we? We’d better get out while we can, and call this investigation a bust. Come on, let’s get before any of them come back.”

I didn’t answer, but instead took her by the hand and led her to the room I had gone into before this one. This whole case was about missing cats, more than a dozen had gone in the surrounding streets over the last few weeks, and my partner had decided to investigate. I had protested – to say the least, I am not a cat-lover – but I had been over-ruled. This house had a ‘for sale’ sign out the front for longer than either of us could remember, but suddenly cars were coming and going from the place, and the sign still had not been taken down. What was in the room was going to blow this whole case wide open.

I shouldered the door open, revealing the full horror of what was inside.

Cages full of cats. Dozens of cats. Five, six seven to a cage. All of them different breeds, but all of them white. Did I mention that I was not a cat-lover? Well, some things are just wrong, regardless of personal feelings. I wouldn’t keep a flea in conditions like that!

My partner let out a long whistle, one that I knew indicated surprise and shock and disbelief. If we could get the police here, these cat-kidnappers would be caught in the act. We turned and ran.

That evening, we sat at the dinner table with an RSPCA inspector and my partners parents.

“That was clever thinking of the young lady here, to tell the police on triple zero that she had seen what she thought was a dead body on the floor through the window. Lucky she didn’t mention that the body was of a cat!” said the RSPCA inspector.

“But what were all the cats for? Were they going to sell them to a pet shop or something?” asked my partner.

“Sadly, no. These guys were licensed to provide cat skins to the fur trade, but they’re only supposed to catch feral cats out in the bush, cats that are destroying wildlife. Taking pets is against the law, and keeping them in those conditions is cruel and also breaking the law. Add to that the breaking and entering of that house, and tying you up when you found them out, or at least they THOUGHT that you had found them out, means they are going to be looking at a holiday at Her Majesties expense.”

“Well,” said my partners mother “it’s a good thing that she managed to work it out and escape.’

“Well, I did have some help” said my partner.

“Ah yes,” said the RSPCA inspector “Your intrepid partner in all of this.” He leaned over and scratched me behind the ear, and my tail started thumping on the floor. “He’s a really good dog, isn’t he?”

What? Why are you surprised? I TOLD you I didn’t like cats.

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