At first, the killer seemed so exciting—exactly what I’d always longed for, what I’d often sought but never found. I didn’t see the dangers until it was too late. Even then, I should have tried to break free. I should have just walked away. But I couldn’t. I was hooked. Somehow, I had to find a way to make this work.
All mystery writers yearn to come up with killer first paragraphs, ones that jump off the page, seize hold of readers, and pull them in deep. I tried to write that sort of first paragraph for Interpretation of Murder, and I think I succeeded—at least, it feels like a killer to me. But sometimes killer first paragraphs, like other kinds of killers, make us feel trapped. Sometimes, when we focus on packing as much drama as possible into a first paragraph, writing the follow-up paragraphs gets tricky. My killer proved so problematic that I came close to cutting it and looking for a blander way to begin. I couldn’t do it. I liked the paragraph too much. Did I make the right decision? Frankly, I’m still not sure.