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Behind every good book is a cutting room floor littered with the carcasses of words, paragraphs and even whole chapters that didn’t work for your novel. In the writing world, we call it “killing your darlings.” At some point, no matter how much you love them, some ideas hinder the story from moving forward and they have to go. The following excerpt is one of those darlings.



Joe looked past the vibrating phone on his nightstand to the blurry numbers of the digital clock. When the fuzzy lines came into focus he buried his face in his pillow with a rough sigh and reached for the dancing phone.

1:43 a.m.

“Fitz.” He didn’t bother lifting his head from the pillow as he spoke.

“Hey Joe, that you? It’s Tony.”


“Come on, man. Pull your head out of your ass and talk to me.”

Joe rolled over. He hated these calls. Nothing good happened after midnight. Actually, nothing good happened ever when you worked the type of cases he did.

“I’m up.”

“You need to get up up.”

“Tony, if I wanted a wife I would’ve married one.”

“If a woman wanted you, you’d have a wife and a chance to get laid.”

“Enough flirting. You didn’t call about my sex life.”

“We found him…. we think.”

Joe threw himself out of bed. “Where am I meeting you?”

“Pier 5. Next to Rams Head. And Joe, bring your galoshes. All’s that’s left is pieces.”


© 2015 D.B. Smyth. All rights reserved.