Rate/Review this sample from my Work-In-Progress:Posted: May 10, 2014
My work-in-progress is a stand alone noir crime fiction novel called In Pocket. The pitch/blurb:
If only Wolfgang hadn’t picked the pocket of the fat woman…
Nomadic pickpocket Wolfgang gets blackmailed into teaching his craft to the mysterious Lilith, a young woman with no aptitude whatsoever to become a pickpocket. Wolf figures the easiest way is to go with the flow and instruct Lilith in the art of emptying other people’s pockets, but even he could never foresee the dreadful things that follow…
IN POCKET is a standalone novel with ties to Martyn V. Halm’s Amsterdam Assassin Series. Follow Wolf as he gets entangled in a possible fatal web of violence and deceit, where nobody is who they seem to be and everyone has a hidden agenda.
I passed out. For an instant, I think. Just long enough to lose my bearings. I remember I was running. From someone. Or something? The back of my head hurts. Guess I hit the wall behind me. Without opening my eyes I feel the bricks, damp and cold against my buttocks.
My legs feel like they’re asleep. Without tingling—the usual pins-and-needles sensation is mysteriously absent.
A bad sign. I think I can forget about running. Or even getting up.
I open my eyes and blink a few times to focus. The wall across from me is less than two meters away. An alley. To my left, a dead end. To my right, plastic garbage bags leaning against an overflowing dumpster. I’m in a cul-de-sac.
Street lights flood the entrance of the alley with sickly orange light that touches my grubby sneakers. I listen, but don’t hear anyone else, just my own raspy breathing. I’m alone.
My left hand touches my belly, comes away wet.
Raise my hand to my eyes, but it’s too dark too see.
I peer past the dumpster, but all I see is a cobblestone quay and a canal. Can’t see which one. The street sign is missing. Or was never there at all. Not all dead-end alleys here have names.
I go through my pockets to check my possessions, but I seem to have none. Money, gone. Keys, gone. Straight razor—
I look at my pants, dirty and smelling of urine. I look at my hands, dark with street grime. And it all comes back. Why I’m wearing these dirty clothes. My possessions aren’t gone. I left them. I only had the two-way radio and the gun.
They’re both gone.
All I’ve left is the small carton in my inside pocket…
I take the pack of cigarettes from my inside pocket, open the lid and brush my finger over the filter tips. And the metal wheel of the butane lighter. I breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t know what would be worse; no cigarettes, or cigarettes and nothing to light them with.
I shake one from the pack and light up. My hands automatically shield the bright flame to prevent giving away my position. In the light I count the contents. Seven left, not counting the one I just lit. And a folded piece of tinfoil with the small white envelop beside it. I won’t use it unless the pain becomes too bad.
I glance at my left hand. The sticky stuff covering my palm is red. I lower the lighter to see my belly. The lower half of my shirt is dark with blood. In the weak light the blood looks black. I touch the mess gingerly. Three holes. Bullet holes.
The lighter sputters and dies. As the flame goes, a ghost-flame shimmers on my retina. I shake the lighter by my ear. Sounds like there is still some fuel left.
I cup the glowing tip in my hand, return the pack and lighter to my inside pocket, and blink to restore my night vision.
A shadow glides over the walls as someone passes the mouth of the alley. I watch from behind the trash cans, unable to draw in my numb legs sprawled amid the refuse that litters the bricks.
The shadow flicks over my sneakers and disappears from view.
I listen to the receding steps.
I don’t want to be found. Not after what I did…
I drag on my cigarette. No idea what time it is. If I’m still in Amsterdam’s old quarter, I should be able to hear the bells from the myriad of churches. And pinpoint my location.
I take a last drag and extinguish my cigarette against the bricks.
The numbness in my legs worries me. Maybe the bullets hit my spine.
In the distance a church bell chimes.
Once. Twice. Silence.
That sounded like the Oude Kerk, but I’m not sure.
Two in the morning.
Five hours till dawn.
A whole night to die in.
And muse about the events that got me in this predicament.
If only I hadn’t picked the pocket of the fat woman…
I’d love to hear what you think, so please comment below. Also, before I will look for a publisher or publish In Pocket myself I will need beta-readers to make sure the story is as good as I can get it. So stay tuned!
If you want to read the next sample, wherein Wolfgang targets the Fat Woman and set in motion the chain of events that lead to his predicament, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘password sample?’ in the subject line.