Good writer vs great storytellers of mystery and thrillers

Good writer vs. great storytellers of mystery and thrillers


*After Henry’s death, Elizabeth vowed to find his murderer. Blah, blah, blah.

For me some stories start out the same. By the first page, you already know how it’s going to turn out, same story as the last mystery murder book you read. I enjoy twist and turns. Within the first page, grab me with something that will blow me away and make me turn the page.

By the second page, give me an unanswered question that I won’t want to put the book down until I know the answer.

By the third page pull me into the life of a person, allow me to feel the emotion of what that person is feeling.

By the forth page make the movie reels in my mind play out the scenes with descriptive visions, senses and awareness of what is happening with characters and their surroundings.

If the first page of a book I open reads like the above sentence*, I might put it back down but if it’s changed a little differently, more interesting I’ll keep reading.

After Elizabeth killed Henry, she vowed to erase his remains, as if Henry never existed. In the elaborate scheme of planning the meal for the other executives she cooked up what some people thought was the most delicious meal yet.

Fleshless bones become the ashes to fire. She thought as she raised her glass for the final toast of the evening.

I would keep reading this story. Why? Because for one, women who kill don’t cook their victims for others to enjoy and for another I want to know why she would do such a manic crime. Plus as much as it sounds like a gross thriller, it also sounds more interesting than the same old murder mystery. What made her kill Henry and why would she cook him and serve him to apparently well to do executives?

Who is Henry and what did he do to Elizabeth? Even if someone else killed Henry, from the first above sentence, and Elizabeth wanted to find his murderer, we already know there were a crime and a person of interest. So there for the investigation begins. Questions, people places to visit. It can all be interesting if you enjoy a repeat of the same crime drama elements.

There are so many ways to take an age-old mystery and change it to a more interesting page turning, nail biting thriller. Don’t let the ending of a great story be predictable at the beginning of a good story.



T. Wharton Johnson Author of  The Eye of Lies and other short stories.


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