By Melody Frost
I love crime stories, mysteries, procedural law shows, dramas, and the thrill that comes along with them. But, reading them is almost always disappointing. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I used to work as a police officer. I still work in the criminal justice field. Because of this I can really see when people don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to criminal procedure and police protocol. It’s no fault to the writer, this is a very challenging genre. But, let’s get into the review.
I want to get some of the negative stuff out of the way first. This is a Reedsy story, and as such, there is likely minimal editing. There is definitely some grammatical issues in this story. But, that is to be expected. As I mentioned, this is a hard genre for writers. For instance, when conducting door-to-door interviews, nobody says, “Hello. I am the police.” There’s actually a comment on this story that makes this point already. Something more to the effect of, “Hi, this is Lieutenant Whoever with the Wherever Police Department. We’re investigating the murder of John Doe. Are you available for a short conversation?” Something like that. And if there is anything that they tell you that’s relevant, it gets written down on a statement form or recorded. More often than not, people won’t tell you much. Especially in the area that this crime apparently took place. A huge thing I have to pick apart is the arrest. Blake admits to the murder. BUT, if it were a real case, his admission would be instantly dismissed. Why? Because he wasn’t Mirandized. You know the, “You have the right to remain silent,” speech. He would be released instantly and his admission no longer usable in court. Also, there is no way that somebody would admit to a murder that quickly. Nobody accepts life in prison that easily.
Okay, so we discussed lightly the procedural aspect. It isn’t just this story. It seems like every crime story I read on Reedsy I could pick apart for hours. But, those are the main procedural problems. Next, I want to discuss the main hook of a crime/mystery story: THE TWIST! This story had no twist in it. This story had good descriptions of the characters (apart from one thing, which I’ll get into shortly). A lot of the descriptions are poetic and beautiful, which is excellent. But this story lacks character and, well, mystery. On Delia’s first interview of the neighborhood she gets a name of a suspect, talks with him once, and he admits to everything. It’s like knowing the ending to every mystery show/book/movie before you watch it. It’s no fun! Crime and mystery are hard genres because you have to have an in-depth knowledge of what it is you’re writing about and have the ability to lead your readers in one direction before violently jerking them in the other. One last thing I want to touch on before I get to the positives of this story is this, Stephen is described as a man in his thirties in the beginning, yet everybody in the neighborhood calls him a “sweet boy.” This didn’t make much sense to me.
Are there any positives in this story? Yes. And a big one is the poetic descriptions. “His heavenly deep blue eyes showed innocence in his gaze.” Or how Frost uses the newspapers to explain time in the story. And this line, “surrounded by blades of tall grass that swayed gently. The low sun dazzled in the sky, packed with heaps of clouds.” These are done really well and paint a good picture of the scene. There are about 1,200 words left before hitting the word count in this story, and I think if those were used to build character and tension, this story could have been much, much better.
I gave this story one star. Honestly, I would give most crime stories a 0 star on this platform. But I liked the reason for the crime and Frost’s poetry. Money is always a motivation for murder.
Thank you for reading! Have you read this story yet? What did you think of it? Join in on this discussion in the comments below!
Interested in reading this story? Or more of Melody Frost’s work? Read it here.