Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Beginnings and Killer Endings

by Marcus Sakey


This is a big week for the Outfit, with two novels hitting the stores: my debut THE BLADE ITSELF and Sean Chercover's debut BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD. Sean and I tossed around all sorts of ways to celebrate, but decided that while it might be fun to watch our wives kick stripper ass, it introduced liability issues. And Cristal is too expensive for something that doesn't taste even a little like Guinness.

So we decided to have a contest instead.

Everybody knows how important the first line of a novel is. But nobody talks about the importance of the last line.

Until now.

We want to see your best hypothetical ending. Can you come up with a line so compelling, funny, or intense that it leaves people desperate to read everything that came before? Prove it, and you'll take home not only signed hardcovers of both my book and Sean's, but also signed novels from every member of the Outfit -- seven signed books in all.

More important, you'll take home bragging rights.

So give it your best shot! The contest runs all week. To qualify, the line has to be written by you, and it has to come from a novel that doesn't exist...yet. I've put up an example to kick it off; Sean will add one of his own later today.

And you should know that we both kind of want those books ourselves...

47 comments:

Marcus Sakey said...

A lonely girl in crowded rooms, a June bride and August widow, an executive assistant and poisoner, she realized that she was all those things; but first she was just Alice Topinsky.

Marcus Sakey said...

UPDATE:

The uber-generous J.A. Konrath has sweetened the pot; besides the seven books from the Outfit, he's throwing in a signed copy of THESE GUNS FOR HIRE, a collection of hit man stories edited by Konrath and featuring authors like David Morrell, Kent Krueger, Libby Hellman, Max Allan Collins, Sean Doolittle, and a whole bunch more. There's even a story by me in there.

Thanks, Joe!

Bill Peschel said...

I may or may not come back with a line of my own, but I did want to say now that this is an excellent idea for a contest.

And, oh yeah, Joe sent me, too.

Capt said...

ok, here it goes, konrath sent me over here and I'm pleased he did.

Life is more then the hand you are dealt, death is bias and tomorrow someone else dies.

RandomRanter said...

He put the gun back in his holster, leaned down and whispered in Mike's ear, "I told you not to trust me."

Oh, yeah and JAK sent me too.

Sean Chercover said...

Marcus - Strippers, hell. My wife reads that post, she just might kick your ass.

JA Konrath said...

I've always wanted to end a book with:

"And then the zombies came."

Rob in Denver said...

JAK sent me, too. Here goes:

Nothing left for me to do except hold my brother's hand---there in the dark, by the hole we dug---and keep from choking on the blood in my mouth that came like summer rains.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

So he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, knowing that this wouldn't be the last time, knowing that he might have to do it again and again and again... until he finally found her.

Anonymous said...

"Can I say it now?" Mercer asked, his tone pleading.
Dante Issacs rolled his eyes. "Fine. Make it quick."
Mercer beamed. He yanked his revolver out of the waistband of his pants and strode to where Urich, the mad (former) haberdasher, lay in a spreading pool of dark crimson. His cries echoed off the walls of Utah's own "World's Largest Ceramic Rooster" with a kind of pitiful resonance, as one would expect from a ghost.
"Say you're hot," said Mercer, standing before Urich.
"I'm not," mumbled Urich. "I'm cold. God, I think I'm going into shock!"
"Come on, work with me!" said Mercer. "Please."
Urich blinked. "I'm...I'm hot."
"Well, if you can't stand the heat," Mercer crowed, "stay out of the chicken!"
"Jesus," said Dante.

frontrow3rd2001@yahoo.com

ab said...

I have a killer last sentence for my fourth mystery, and no way I'll give it away to you! :-) Even though those books are almost irrestistably tempting.

But congratulations to both of you, and SKÅL!!

Charles Edward said...

I'll give this a try. And yes, Konrath sent me.

Staring into those mocking eyes, I knew that any future we may have had was over, so I pulled the trigger.

Anonymous said...

And then they ate popcorn for dinner.

gregory huffstutter said...

I’d make it an official policy, but how many midget hookers with Oprah-obsessed, kleptomaniac fiancées could there be in Joliet?

Victor Gischler said...

And, sure, it hurt a little, but if you can't smile through it, what good's a gal with a pierced tongue anyway?

VG

Rob said...

Joe sent me.

All his life Marcus Chercover had searched for a place to belong, but when he stepped out of the nightclub on that smoggy Sunday morning, dressed in his mother's garters and bustier, he knew he'd finally come home.

Marcus Sakey said...

Rob, you'll pay for that one. Oh, how you'll pay. ;)

DCNoir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If the last few weeks had proven anything to Martin it was that death is the great equalizer. That’s why he decided to move to California and start the killings again. He decided to use a knife this time instead of a gun. No one ever knows how much time they have left—except Martin knew. He knew the exact date and time that lots of people would take their final breath. Death was his gift to humanity.

Makichen1@comcast.net

PS Joe didn't send me

eHuff said...

Her swollen eyes locked on mine as a final breath heaved from her chest, "The Rottweiler can't filibuster forever."

William G. said...

Two days later, while lingering at the foot of the still-fresh, still-flowerless grave, David allowed himself a single tear for the woman buried there; for the first time in months, he was glad he hadn't put that hollowpoint through Vinnie's skull.

(also sent by Joe)

Nikki said...

And above all else, pack your vibrator and stop these embarrassing slip-ups.

Sean Chercover said...

She knew that she should call someone, do something. But she didn't - couldn't - move. She just stood in place and watched the flames grow. And felt the heat. And was free.

Anonymous said...

"I'm so sorry you were eight weeks premature, my son, but Mommy has a plan to get you inside her tummy again," she said, raising the fork.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Even though the final design looked more like a Lamborghini than a Ferrari, Dennis swore that for the rest of his life--no matter what anyone said--he would wear his condom with pride.

Pete said...

Here's my humble effort:

Though he had doubted the gunmaker's claims -- H.G. Wells’ own blueprint, hah! -- he had no other choice; and now, surveying the grisly scene before him, he saw that the weapon indeed worked, spectacularly, defying all known laws of physics and at once eliminating his four biggest threats.

Jude Hardin said...

JA sent me.

I scattered her ashes along the rocky shore of Point Conception, sat in the sand and thought about nothing until the lighthouse switched off and it wasn't the same day anymore.

JD Rhoades said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JD Rhoades said...

Spence gave up and let the flight attendant push him back down into his seat, closing his eyes so he wouldn't be tempted to look out the window and see the "baggage handler" again--waving goodbye over his shoulder as he walked away with the duffel bag.

Lone Wolf said...

Stephen humbly examined his enormously huge ego and realized what he had wanted all along never really existed in the first place.

J.A. sent me!

TesubCalle said...

Yes, she always thought she could live by her own time-table. Now, time was in the killer's hands, and she knew all was lost when he said: "I'm afraid you're too late."

Maryann Mercer said...

Andi and I sat on the stoop, a pile of blood-tinged money split equally between us.
"But shouldn't I get more?" Andi asked. "After all I brought the gun."
"Yeah," I smirked,"but I brought the bullets."

And JAK sent me :o)

Chris said...

As Michael, broken and bloodied, glanced backward toward the smoldering ruins of the city, he was sure of two things: Rachel was still out there, somewhere, waiting for him, and he would never look at a chicken the same again.

Mat Landers said...

JA Konrath sent me.

Here's my shot at the last line of a novel:

What was hack-proof had been hacked; what was assured to be secure was unsecure; the illusion of trust had the same fatal flaw: what one man can create another man can break.

Mark said...

J.A. Konrath sent me.

Here's the line:


I lingered by the bed, stomach tumbling like a trapeze artist; the vomit wouldn't come, nor would the pity.

John Gooley said...

After the blood, after the oozing intestines, after the severed heads, after the slime and the foulness and the cockroaches, after the rancid cheese, after the bullets, after the grenades, after the howitzers, after the journeying across three godforsaken continents, after the gut rumbles, the rabid dogs, the throat-slitting cowards in the Kasbah, after the interminable, wild, uncontrolled sexual encounters beyond imagination or fantasy or endurance – in short, after the absolute horror and fear and exhaustion of the past 3 weeks, I figured I deserved everything I was about to get.

guyot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara D'Amato said...

Last line:

After all we'd been through, we could at least console ourselves that we'd cheered up Joe Konrath to the point that he would occasionally speak up for himself.

tim foley said...

She's not my sister, but she could be. I have my forty pieces of silver, and time, as the Stones say, is on my side.

Dan " Crackdaddy" Carrasco said...

As Linda watches the lifeless innocent man sway back and forth from a dirty rope, she falls to her knees, with tears in her eyes, and begins to pray for forgiveness.

konrath sent me

John Emery said...

With the earth as his pillow, he laid there, staring into the vast night, comforted by the gentle rocking of the mat.

Anonymous said...

He tossed the empty Glock into a trashcan and limped towards the British Airways counter, his only possessions a fake passport and enough money to buy a ticket on the next flight out.

boydm@hotmail.com

Christopher Lion said...

So that was that, and there was no remorse for those he’d killed – the meth-dealing crime reporter in L.A., the pair of transvestite terrorists in Vegas, and the gang of pyro cops in New Orleans; he only cared that he found her, and he didn’t need anyone to tell him what they’d done to her…it was written all over her face.

Regina Harvey (Heidi) said...

I hope I'm not too late to the party. It was a circuitous route to you through Tasha, but I'm glad I came.

Here's my stab:
She slid under the sheets, not yet letting her skin touch his sleeping bulk lest he know from its cool that she’d been out until just moments before, but instead, she warmed one slender finger in her mouth, thinking she’d wipe it dry on the satin at her breast, then trace it over his lips to wake him – but a taste of the blood of the one she’d just left remained on her skin for her tongue to savor and she held the finger there, remembering.

Keith said...

After I'd buried him, I walked into San Francisco City Hall and presented them with my deed to the bridge.

B. C. Bell said...

When he opened the envelope and a ringed finger fell on the floor, he knew he'd made a friend of his ex-wife's last husband.

J L Greene said...

As the draped bodies were carried from the house, Andie knew they would haunt her in death as they had in life.



JAK sent me