Sneak preview – The Lonely Dead (a w-i-p)

Posted: April 2, 2009 in Crime, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

Detective Nick Fardoulys stared at the pretty feet; the immaculate toenails painted a light metallic brown.

His baby sister would have been able to identify the colour immediately from her once-unlimited palette of words. She had always insisted that only old farts like him wore brown; young pains-in-the-arse like her, apparently wore cappucino or pewter, mocha, chocolate and cream. Like life was a colour-coordinated coffee break.

The pretty feet wore oversize Haviana thongs and were hanging over the footrest of an old-style armchair. It reminded Nick of the Jason Recliner they’d given Pop, years ago, at his fiftieth birthday party at the Greek Club. The photo still sat on his desk: Pop stretched out in his best crimpilene trousers, a mustard shirt and yellow tie, grinning like a happy Labrador surrounded by his wife, four kids and a room full of rellies. Back when he still had four kids, a happy bark and nights skittered by for all of them in the unconscious pleasures of sleep.

But this was no Jason Recliner. It was an old lady’s chair, wilting under a weight of flowers in a faded chintz fabric that no self-respecting Jason would wear in a fit. It didn’t suit the owner of the metallic toenails either.

She was the full coordinated coffee break, right down to the funky nerd glasses and spiky hair full of product. She was built like a refrigerator with a well-stacked freezer that someone had tried to defrost with a knife. It was still jammed in there, the black handle jutting out from the swirling layers of a frothy silk blouse.

Fardoulys’s chest tightened as the familiar anger welled up.

The surprisingly delicate feet didn’t belong here. In haviana thongs. On a floral recliner, on a murdered woman. They should be strapped into frivolous sandals that drew the eye away from the too-thick waist, the too-careful grooming. They should be lining up for a weekly pedicure. Or kissing up to a pair of $600 Sioux shoes on some big-bellied barrister under the sedate white linen skirt of a table for two in a swanky restaurant like Alchemy or Montrachet.

Nick noted the absence of any conventional rings amongst the jangle of jewellery on the dead woman’s hands and made his vow to one more member of the lonely dead: I’m here for you. I’ll find whoever did this so that you can rest in peace.

He needed to believe that he had never broken that promise; that the short list of names headed by his own baby sister was merely waiting patiently for him to deliver.

copyright Christine Bongers 2009

[Editor’s note: Henry Hoey Hobson is here to stay, but The Lonely Dead is barking its head off to be let back off the chain. ]

  1. Lynne Green says:


    I like the character building, very smooth.

  2. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Lynne, it’s getting there. One scene at a time. 🙂

  3. Bronwyn Hope says:

    You are a clever thing, Chris. Yesterday I realised that it takes your first novel to work out the kind of writer you are. You my friend, are really rather brilliant.

  4. chrisbongers says:

    That’s not what the manuscript appraisal said on my first draft of my first novel. I must be improving. What a relief. 🙂

  5. Great hook Chris. Love the mention of the title, which gives you one of those wonderful ‘aha’ moments. I’m glad to hear the big dog will be let off his chain once more!

  6. james roy says:

    Oo, nice. I particularly like the defrosted refrigerator simile.

  7. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Katherine. Hope to see you at MG Bauer’s launch next week.

    And James, I enjoyed sticking that bit in too 😉
    Nice to have another Woolshed Press author drop by.

  8. A superbly written piece from your novel.

    Tantalising enough for us to want to read more.

    Excellent choice.

  9. chrisbongers says:

    Karen, you are too kind 🙂

  10. I love mystery thrillers and yours is lining up there too, Chris. Great introduction to your main character and excellent sensory writing of the crime scene. I want to read more … NOW! Keep going, please. 🙂

  11. chrisbongers says:

    I’m on it, Sheryl. See you Tuesday. 🙂

  12. Karen B says:

    Oh lovin it! Keep it coming.

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