Author Topic: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery  (Read 8630 times)

Offline JohnPansini

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"Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« on: September 03, 2015, 05:00:04 PM »
This novel, L. BUTTERFLY, is in the rewrite stage. It is a precursor to MIRROR, MIRROR... , WF that some of have commented on, only in the sense that some of its characters have migrated into MIRROR. The genre is totally different.

When the rewrite is finished, I intend to pitch it to agents. About five years ago, I had an agent who tried to sell it. It wasn't her fault it didn't sell, it was mine. Now I'm a much better writer.

Any thoughts and comments will be greatly appreciated. Also, I don't know exactly what to call this thing - I thinks it's the best work I've ever done - so any ideas on that will be a big help.

Thank you in advance, JP

Chapter 1: Hope Floats

On a Friday afternoon in early February, the Reverend Lawrence Schmetterling, Pastor Larry to his flock back in Colorado Springs, sat reclined in a first-class seat. The plane was in route to New York, the city of his birth some thirty-two years ago, and the city he had not seen in ten years.

Prepare the fatted calf, Dad, the prodigal has returned.

Larry took another sip of club soda and smiled. He felt truly blessed, chosen by the Lord Himself to spread the Good News.

Savoring the tiny bubbles in his soda, he held the glass aside and let an admiring gaze wander down his blue Canali herringbone wool suit to the brand new, highly polished black Bottega Veneta York Leather Brogues on his feet. Although the other first-class passengers were dressed casually, in the pastor’s line of work presentation trumped comfort. While the suit had cost $2,000 and the shoes $900, Larry chose to accessorize with a solid white Ike Behar dress shirt and blueberry satin silk tie.

Beneath it all, his plain white cotton underwear was fresh and clean. Pastor Larry wondered if he was reminding himself that as layer after layer was peeled back, underneath it all he was still a simple man. Regardless, all apparel hung on his five-foot, ten-inch frame rather nicely.

Because of the expensive suit he wore and the mode by which he traveled, a pesky quote from Luke pried his mind open, jumped in, and landed hard.

Luke 9:3: He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic.”

Jesus may have had a strict carry-on policy for His disciples, but a lot had changed since the days of sandals and sack-cloths, and travel by ass. In today’s world, image was everything. To preach the Good News, one had to appear to be blessed by the Lord Himself. That meant looking prosperous, successful, and confident; therefore, Pastor Larry felt no obligation to observe ancient restrictions, dealing with Homeland Security was punishment enough.

Of course, he would have been perfectly happy back in coach, but the network had insisted otherwise. Didn’t this show how much they wanted him on their team?

He glanced out the window. The big jet soared at 30,000 feet through magnificent, clear blue skies. He hadn’t felt a single bump due to turbulence as the plane glided as effortlessly as an eagle carried aloft on thermals. Wasn’t this proof positive that this trip was a sanctified, holy mission?

Larry finished his club soda. For the first time in a long time he felt free, free from the burden of other peoples’ great expectations. Where he was going there would be no eyes to scrutinize his every move. As a human being born into sin, Larry recognized that he was flawed. While his congregation back home might expect him to walk on the water, the best he could hope for was to float along like everyone else.

The church he’d founded was in Colorado Springs, in El Paso County. City and county were in one of the reddest, or as Larry liked to think, one of the reddest-necked, counties in the country. Yet like a mustard seed planted in fertile soil did a mighty ministry – his ministry – sprout. From the humble beginnings of a tiny fundamentalist church in America’s outback to the media capital of the world, wasn’t this had one of God’s great miracles?

Pastor Larry clasped his hands together and laid them on his belly, closed his eyes, and thought back, remembering how it all began four years ago.


The Lord who Pastor Larry worshipped was born above a stable. The humble origins of His Holy Tabernacle took place in a small office above a bar on Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs.

The space itself was threadbare: a desk and matching chair, two folding chairs always stored in the closet, a thrift store sofa against the wall to the immediate right of the entrance, an overhead light with an attached fan, and a cross along with a picture of a smiling Jesus hung on light brown paneled walls. The stale odor of beer, and for some unknown reason cat urine, permeated everything permeable. The office was so depressing that the founding members of the HHT spent as little time there as possible.

On this particular day, Pastor Larry, then age twenty-eight, and cofounders, twenty-six-year-old Karen Stone and thirty-one-year-old Curtis Frothe, had gathered to discuss a mission statement for their new church. As the only ordained minister among them, Larry led the discussion. He sat on the chair behind the $169 K-Mart desk. Curtis and Karen sat directly across from him on the sofa.

“We should reach out to those whose spiritual needs are not being met,” Larry began.
“I agree,” seconded Curtis. “Despite all the churches in town, I’ll bet there are still plenty of people who drift from congregation to congregation.”

“I’m not just talking about church folk, Curtis,” Larry said.

The smallness of Curtis’ mind shown on his face: a puzzled look that Karen happily sunk her fangs into. “He’s also talking about bikers, cowboys and gays, Curtis.”

“Bikers and cowboys I have no problem with – but gays!” Curtis looked as if he’d been asked to swallow a can of creepy crawlers along with the muck they slept in. “I’m sorry, Larry, but I’ll only accept gays and lesbians if they’re willing to repent and seek counseling.”

Karen snickered. “That’s mighty Christian of you, Mr. Frothe. There was a time – and not that long ago, either – when people like you weren’t welcome in certain churches.”

“It’s not the same, Karen. My race is not an abomination in the sight of–”

“To some people it is,” she shot back.

“… the Lord. Who, by the way, is not a blue-eyed, Wasp from Pittsburgh!”

“I know, Curtis! He was a hook-nosed Jew!”

These two had been casting stones at each other ever since they’d all struck out on their own; the three of them only recently left a local evangelical organization named Focus on God’s Grace (FoGG). Because Karen and Curtis were critical to the success of His Holy Tabernacle, Pastor Larry could not simply hurl them into the sea. CFO Curtis kept the church’s cash flowing smoothly and uninterrupted. And Karen, the first real girlfriend Larry ever had, kept his own life’s blood flowing smoothly and uninterrupted.

Larry finally declared, “Enough! All are welcome at His Holy Tabernacle regardless of race, social status or sexual orientation.”

“Then we may as well be Unitarians!” Curtis shouted. He threw up his hands, bounced off of the sofa, and began to pace the room.

“Please sit down, Curtis.” In soothing tones, Larry added, “This is the Lord’s feast. Our church is here to offer people His bounty. That makes us the wait staff. It’s not our place to say who can and cannot have a seat at His table.”

Karen nodded. “I like that. Let’s use it in our pitch.”

That argument had knocked the halo on Mr. Frothe’s self-righteous head askew. Larry’s ongoing impression of Curtis’ spirituality was that it hung from the man’s chest like a bright, shiny cross. But the gold on that cross was thinly plated; it did not run deep.

From Curtis a begrudging, “I still have problems with it, but I’ll pray that the Lord will open my heart.”

Larry smiled. “That’s all we ask, Curtis.”

Unexpectedly, it was Karen who threw the next rock. “Maybe Curtis has a point. While people like us – progressives like you and I, Larry – have no problem with gays and lesbians, others might not be so forgiving. If we adopt a policy that’s too open, we might turn some people away.” Then Karen reminded everyone that the rightwing, intolerant types also happened to be the people most generous with their tithes. “We need them if our church is going to survive.”

“No, no, absolutely not!” Larry said, pounding the desk. “I’ll never have a church like that.”

“Ok, ok. It was merely a suggestion.”

Curtis aimed a snarky look at her. “Don’t worry about her. She knows it’s you who bring in the sheaves, Larry.”

“I thought it was sheep?” said Karen. “What’s a sheave?”

Larry sighed. “Shall we stay focused, people?” He paused a moment. With elbows resting on the desktop, he let his hands form a steeple level with the tip of his nose; he lowered his gaze. This was how Pastor Larry projected prayerful contemplation. Then he let loose a deep thought: “I want this added to our mission statement.” He took another dramatic pause, and then added, “Saint or sinner, our church will never turn anyone away from His Holy Tabernacle.”

Both of them agreed with the statement in point of fact, but Curtis suggested it needed to be expanded. And then it came to Pastor Larry like the Bong! of a cathedral’s bell. A conservative congregation he had once worked for in California addressed this very same issue.

“How about we say something like this: ‘God loves each and every one of us exactly as we are. But He also loves us too much to let stay us that way. Our church will always choose the lost over the saved.’ ”

“How about we lay some guilt on them,” Karen added. “We say, ‘If a saved person chooses to attend another church because we are prioritizing the lost, then we will be saddened, but we will not change our mission.’ ”

Curtis’ face contorted into something that resembled anger and puzzlement: “Why should we say something like that, Karen?”

“Because it allows people to hold on to their sense of superiority – everyone needs that.” Then she snickered, “Especially Christians.”

“No, Karen,” Larry said. “It shows leadership, commitment, and clear direction. We’ll also add that saved people should rejoice in serving the lost.”

“That’ll work.” Then she paused. A second thought now tugged on her mouth and worry lines creased her forehead. “How do we deal with gay marriage?”

Curtis threw up his hands and looked at Larry. “Where does she come up with this stuff?”

Pastor Larry reminded everyone that gay marriage was still illegal in Colorado. And even if it was legal, His Holy Tabernacle followed Scripture. There would be no ceremonies joining same sex couples in his church.

All proposals were adopted. As it turned out, the good people of their growing congregation were far more tolerant and eager to serve the lost than even Larry had imagined. Curtis gave credit to the Holy Spirit working in their hearts. Karen, speaking of the congregants, had to admit, “Maybe they’re not so bad after all.”

And Larry, while his mouth he offered up hosannas unto the Lord, his heart he happily sung praises unto itself.

My preaching turned those people around. Alleluia!


Larry opened his eyes when he heard the plane’s hydraulics whine. Beneath him, he felt landing gear bump into the locked position. Flight 189 was on its final approach into La Guardia Airport.

A hand touched his shoulder. A flight attendant stopped by to remind him, “Please put your seat in an upright position and fasten your seatbelt, sir.” Her expression cast him as one of those first-class idiots who ignored certain rules when it came to their own creature comforts.

Pastor Larry knew better: rules were there for good reason and must always be obeyed.

Shamed by flight attendant’s look and hurt by her assumption, he wanted to tell her, I didn’t pay for these tickets, ma’am, the network did. And I’m really not like these other people.

Instead, he offered up a small smile and apologized: “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the announcement. I must’ve dozed off.” He buckled himself in. “Please forgive me.”

Not fazed by his act of contrition, the flight attendant continued up the aisle, her head swiveling from side to side as she searched out other moneyed morons too stupid to follow simple instructions. Pastor Larry couldn’t help himself; his eyes followed her pretty shape until she finally passed through curtains that separated first and business classes.

The horrors she’ll find back there.

He grinned.

The plane continued to drop taking Larry’s floating guts along with it. Then his eardrums dammed up.

He glanced out the window just as the big jet roared into a cloudbank. The bright blue sky disappeared; in its place a gray mist rolled passed the window at high speed. It grew darker and darker, and more ominous. Pastor Larry had always put his faith in the Lord; as for Man, he knew human beings had severe limitations. Could the pilots see what was ahead of them or were they as blind as him? How good were their instruments? What lay in front of them? What below? Would he ever see the sun again? Silly thoughts, he knew, but it was as if the plane had entered a long tunnel with no end. When the big jet began to bounce like a flying carpet rippling in a stiff wind, he dug his fingernails into the armrests.

Flight 189 had left Colorado Springs in late morning; its sendoff was balmy weather not uncommon for a city that bragged it received 360 days of sunshine a year. But here in New York, when the aircraft finally passed below cloud cover and into a gloomy sky, raindrops pelted the window. Then Pastor Larry’s ears popped. Flight 189 had run smack into weather typical of the Big Apple in early February – something a native New Yorker like Larry should’ve expected. A sudden sense of foreboding held him tight in its jaws. His breathing labored, and he feared he might begin to hyperventilate. This was completely unexpected. He’d flown many times before, so where had this dread come from? Was this an omen from God or merely normal transitions to be expected from weather?

Larry had never felt comfortable during transitions, and the transition he now faced might be even more turbulent than a bumpy plane ride. When he boarded the flight, Pastor Larry had left a known world. He had never dreamed he would have so many blessings so early in life. Why had he decided to risk it all now?

Maybe I should’ve stayed in the Springs? Life was good, easy. What more can anyone ask of the Lord?

Then Pastor Larry’s faith countered with, The Lord has blessed you with special talents. To waste such gifts would a sin.

He offered up a silent prayer – Your will be done, not mine, Lord – and then his entire body relaxed.

The plane came in from the north, passed the bleak despair of upper Manhattan. Row after row of rundown tenements ran between crisscrossing ribbons of black asphalt. When Larry was growing up across the river in Queens Village, he’d been taught that good, decent folks with his pale shading should not go into these neighborhoods. They were frightening places where poverty, crime, and anger coated everything like layers of grime.

Pastor Larry no longer feared such places. He would happily spread the good news that “God loves you, too,” to anyone, anywhere, who had the good sense to listen.

In seconds the plane passed from some of the City’s most blighted neighborhoods into the airspace of gleaming glass and steel towers: Midtown Manhattan, New York’s concentration of wealth and power. Its canyons were populated by an uncaring, selfish mass of humanity that scurried about like worker bees storing the queen’s royal jelly.

Larry ground his teeth and a quote from Scripture jumped into his head: What you do for the least of your brothers you do for Me. Then a follow up thought popped out of his mouth: “Why don’t you turn around and look north once ‘n awhile? See your neighbors!”

Heads turned, and he suddenly became the main attraction in first-class.

These people probably think I’m another New York nut job. Then he looked down at his expensive clothes and grinned. Like you but not of you.

Passing the southern tip of Manhattan, the plane banked left passing over the borough of Queens, a place that held too many sad memories for Larry. Looking down at row after row of Archie Bunker style homes, he couldn’t help himself: he felt a deepening sense of superiority. The prodigal had returned but hardly in a humble mood. Pride beamed from him, casting its glorious light, as if he were a beacon. A sin, of course, but what the heck, only the Lord is perfect.

Pastor Larry laughed out loud. He knew there’d be no fatted calf prepared in his parent’s home. Macaroni and cheese, beans and franks, and tuna casseroles were high art as far as his mother’s culinary skills were concerned. Larry shook those unpleasant memories out of his head. Of course he’d visit his parents, and also his brother’s family; even a holy man anointed by the Lord had obligations. Although this trip to the Big Apple was business, he’d take his pleasure whenever and wherever he pleased. After so many years of denying himself, he’d earned it.


Larry stood at the carousel waiting for his pricey Longchamp cowhide leather luggage to roll into view. He wore a beige cashmere topcoat, his favorite. Although Larry had not chosen to fly first-class, his personal preference was to always appear first-class. He glanced at his Rolex: 3:24 p.m., plenty of time to pick up the Ford Taurus at the car rental. He’d specifically requested a black one, because black was a dignified color. He intended to drive from the airport in Queens to his hotel in one of those gleaming glass and steel towers in Midtown. He’d deliberately chosen – despite their protests – not to stay in his parent’s modest home. He’d wiped the dust of Queens Village off his Reeboks a long time ago.

This late in the afternoon, and too early for the evening’s rush hour to begin, Larry expected traffic to be light. Wrong! He’d forgotten that New York’s main arteries were like those of a sixty year-old heart patient: permanently clogged. Not at all like the flowing freeways of Colorado. So as his color-of-money green Taurus inched along the Van Wyck Expressway – He did not get the black one he had asked for, damn rental agency! – Pastor Larry hit the pre-set buttons looking for a Christian lite rock station. He snickered that he did not find any – no surprise there, car renters were such a heathen lot. His right finger began to hit the scan button. When a song of praise burst through the speakers, he smiled. Accompanied by the voice of Amy Grant, Larry crossed the 59th Street Bridge into Manhattan.

He parked the Ford in an underground garage several blocks from the hotel. He walked up the ramp and out onto 6th Avenue. At the top, he ran smack into a whirlpool of energy. Honking yellow cabs filled the avenue like flotsam, and the sidewalks carried a swift current of passers-by of every race and nationality. The rain that had stopped on the drive from the airport began again. With a garment bag draped over his left shoulder and wheeling a heavy suitcase behind him, Larry chuckled to himself: New York, a city in a hurry to get out of its own way.

Passing through throngs of New Yorkers huddled beneath their umbrellas and bundled up against the chill, Larry felt like a minnow being carried downstream. As the rain grew more intense, he squinted and covered his head with the garment bag.

In a rush to get to his hotel and out of this dreadful downpour, Larry spotted a blind man standing between two parked cars in the middle of the block. The poor guy looked miserable. Clearly one of the City’s street people, he wore a folded newspaper for a hat. Water cascaded off him like run-off from Pikes Peak. The man’s destination was the other side of 6th Avenue. No way would he get there without help, walking cane or not.

Ten years away from New York, but it took only minutes for Larry to go native again. His first impulse was to hurry on by like everyone else; let the blind fend for the blind. Then he hit a wall: his Christian faith stopped Pastor Larry dead in his tracks. He turned and approached the man. In a gentle tone so as not to startle him, he said, “Pardon me, sir. Would you like help crossing the street?”

“Nobody’s got time. Everybody’s in a damn hurry,” the man ranted. “Nobody gives a rat’s ass!”

“I’ll help you, sir.”

“Who the hell are you?”

“My name is Larry.”

“f**k you, Larry.”

Why did those who needed help the most turn their backs on him? “Sorry to bother you, sir.” Larry began to walk away, and then he had an attack of the same Scripture that had hit him in the plane: What you do for the least of your brethren you also do for Me.

Pastor Larry walked back to the man and reached into his wallet. He took out two twenties. “Here ya go, sir, forty dollars. Please use it for food. And there’s a traffic light about thirty feet, to the right of where you’re standing. It will be a lot easier to cross there.”

The man stuffed the money into his ratty jacket. “Thanks, pal. You ain’t from here, are ya?”

Larry managed a smile. “Used to be, a long, long time ago. God bless you, sir.”

“Same to you, pal.”

Larry chuckled.

Pal – looks like I’ve made a friend. Wish I had more time to set him on a righteous path. Please, Lord, let someone lead him to You. And safely across the street.

That someone be someone else, not Pastor Larry. He was too tired, too cold, too wet and too hungry to be bothered.


After letting New York’s chill dissolve off of him in a long, hot bath, Larry suddenly felt overwhelmed. He needed to eat dinner and sleep so he would be fresh for tomorrow’s meeting with the network. But first he had an obligation to those left behind in the Springs. He pressed the button on his cell phone that speed dialed His Holy Tabernacle’s number in its grand office now housed in the Antlers Double Tree Hotel. He left the following message:

“Karen, Curtis, I arrived safely. It’s raining here. Already I miss Colorado’s sunshine. Tomorrow I’ll meet with Paul. Sunday it’ll be church and later dinner at my parents’ home. Monday I’ll visit my brother and his family.” Larry paused; the rest of the week belonged to him. “Just realized, Tuesday is Fat Tuesday.”

Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the day when good Catholics everywhere let loose before giving up Twinkies for Lent.

“I think the ole Catholic in me might just Mardi Gras for a couple of days. Nothing excessive, of course.” He stifled a chuckle with his fist. “Take care, and may God bless both of you. Bye.”

Larry hung up the phone. He stretched his arms high over his head as he let out a yawn. Then a contented smile crept across his face, because in himself was he well-pleased.

Offline BarryW54

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 10:04:14 PM »
Well, ya got a fan here. Larry seems like any other wanna be a star televangelist. I would buy it. Seems like though in the paragraph before the flashback you have

"wasn’t this had one of God’s great miracles?"

Maybe..."hadn't this been one of God's greatest miracles?"

I enjoyed it.

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 11:19:43 PM »
Thanks for taking a look  :clap: and I'm glad you liked it. I also appreciate your feedback, BarryW54. Thanks for pointing out that clunky sentence. :up:

The ebook is for sale on my website but until I finish the re-write I would not recommend anyone buy it.

Anyone interested in what L. BUTTERFLY is all about, check out my website:

BTW: I just looked at my site again and found more clunky sentences I have to fix - tomorrow. :emb: I'm exhausted.   

Offline Tigerbunny

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 12:18:53 PM »
Hi John.  First, I like it, even though it isn't my forte.  I was reminded, reading it, though, I had an argument with a catholic priest at my mother-in-laws funeral just a few short years ago in front of the choir boy, his mother, and a muslim there for the funeral.  I was irate, as I had just come from outside where it was about 150 degrees and I thought I was going to die from heat stroke.  To make a long story short, I was in the foyer, too hot and winded to go inside just then to listen to the rest of the sermon.  So I stayed out in the foyer where I caught the eye of a priest who commented on how hot I looked.  I said, I couldn't remember a time when it was that hot and I had lived in Florida all my life.  The priest caught me off guard by saying out loud and in front of everyone that it was because of the gays that the united states was having such hostile weather (twisters and the like).  It was because of our tolerance for gays, gay marriage and that it was a sin against God, he said, that were all being punished.  Well, I can tell you, I held up a hand and said, please stop.  I believe God loves each and every one of us despite our faults and any God that doesn't, is no God I want to worship, I said, and added that maybe, just maybe he might consider laying off the gays and contribute the bad weather to global warming.  Well, that just got him going further and I couldn't help myself and retaliated, by saying he was a small minded idiot, hiding behind righteous garb that, until just a few hundred years ago, would have burned the likes of me at the stake.  So, please, I said, don't say another effing word! Well, angry, he left me, the muslim, the mother and the choir boy (with his mouth hanging open) to our own devices, preferring instead, other worldly regions inside the church.  After he left, though, the Muslim turned to me and said, "You're going to heaven, you know that right?" Unbelievable!!  It was the most bizarre, ridiculous, outrageous moment I had ever experienced in my life.  Normally, I wouldn't have said anything, always believing one should never mix politics and religion, but really, I just couldn't help myself!  Anyway, was reminded of that bizarre encounter during the exchange between the three main characters as they discussed what they would and would not tolerate inside their church.  In actuality, I loved the exchange, because really, they was no getting around the fact that, either in today's age or at the time of Jesus, every decision with regard to church beliefs, is entirely based on politics at the time.

In short, I found what little I read to be fascinating, believable, controversial and true!  Loved it!  :) 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 12:25:24 PM by Tigerbunny »

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 12:47:55 PM »
Thanks, TB. This is basically what the book is about: the hypocrisy of people who dare to call themselves Christian. With people like that priest and that idiot clerk in Kentucky, no wonder so many people have turned away from Christianity. There must be a special place in Hell reserved for them. I like to think this novel is Dante's The Inferno for the 21st Century.

Thanks for taking a look and sharing your own experience.

Offline paolaflorida

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2015, 09:41:14 AM »
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it, very well written. I would read it hoping he was either going to get his comeuppance or a real conversion. And I like how you've set up an inevitable conflict with his family ... drama for us to look forward to!
Good luck!

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2015, 10:05:27 AM »
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my chapter, pf. I gave you an  :clap:

I'm going to post a query about this book soon, please keep an eye out.


Offline WMG0712

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2015, 05:51:35 PM »
Other than a couple of easy-to-fix typos and tense changes, the writing flowed well and you did a great job introducing the characters!

The smallness of Curtis’ mind shown showed on his face: a puzzled look that Karen happily sunk her fangs into. “He’s also talking about bikers, cowboys and gays, Curtis.”

It grew darker and darker, and more ominous. Pastor Larry had always put his faith in the Lord; as for Man man, he knew human beings had severe limitations.

Those are just a couple, but if you're still in the beginning stages, I'm sure you'll catch them the next go-around. Great job!

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2015, 06:07:52 PM »
Thank you so much for your comments and for taking the time to read my chapter. I have the honor of giving you your first  :clap:

The book has already been self-published. I'm doing a re-write and will soon be pitching it to agents. For a sneak-peek what's the book is about, see

I like to think of this book as Dante's The Inferno for the 21st Century.

Again, thanks for reading,

Offline FlyingViking

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2015, 02:31:05 PM »
Nice job, John.  My only major beef is that I wanted something towards the end to keep me interested, something that made me want to turn to the next chapter...perhaps a foreshadowing, or some thought or act by Larry making you think that maybe he isn't the super nice guy we all think he is up until this point?  It's well written, but to me the chapter ends with a meh.  So what?  Intrigue me!

A few minor details:

...blueberry satin silk tie - should that be Burberry?   

...on domestic flights you have only first class and cattle class - no business class anymore (unless you count economy plus as business).

...they tell you to raise the seat backs and tray tables on final descent, not final approach (I fly commercially every two weeks - I know all the safety announcements by heart).
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

  - Leonardo da Vinci

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2015, 04:30:37 PM »
Thanks for the input, Viking, especially about the ending and commercial flying. I haven't flown since 1998. :up:


"blueberry" is the color. I got it off Google. Thanks for noticing. You have a good eye for detail VK.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 10:25:53 PM by JohnPansini »

Offline MichelleG

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2015, 02:56:48 AM »
blueberry - I thought blueberry was a nice touch, instead of dark blue  :)

Favorite line - He’d wiped the dust of Queens Village off his Reeboks a long time ago.

I liked this - I do think it could use a bit of foreshadowing - or something to look forward to.

Nice job
"You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of isolation and the impunity with which crime may be committed there." - Sherlock Homes, The Copper Beeches - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2015, 08:54:33 AM »
Thanks for the input, MG. Ever since working on my WF, Mirror, Mirror... , I've become something of a fashionista. I go to Google, input a topic, i.e. "expensive men's ties" , and pull something up. They called it blueberry.


Offline JohnPansini

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Re: "Spiritual/Existential" Murder Mystery
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2015, 10:09:45 AM »
Thanks to comments I have received from Viking and MichelleG, I've given a lot more thought to the ending. What I was originally aiming for was to hint at Pastor Larry's messianic complex. "In himself was he pleased," was a misquote from Genesis. My new ending will be a much better paraphrase of Gen 1:31:

Larry looked back on everything he had accomplished, and indeed, it was very good. :yes:

Thanks guys for your input.