The First Two Pages: “The Hollywood Gangster” by R.J. Koreto

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

It’s Bouchercon week! Originally scheduled for Sacramento, this year’s conference now takes place online Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17. I’d originally had visions of celebrating this year’s Bouchercon anthology, California Schemin’, in person with all of the contributors—and still wish we’d be gathering together in just a few days! But as a second-best to being there, I’m glad to celebrate these writers in other ways—including as part of a series here at the First Two Pages.

California Schemin’, available now from Wildside Press, features stories by the conferences’s 2020 Guests of Honor: Cara Black, Anthony Horowitz, Catriona McPherson, Walter Mosley, Anne Perry, and Scott Turow. Additionally, thirteen other tales were selected in a multi-tier judging process from more than 150 blind submissions—with the final baker’s boasting a fine group of authors: Jennifer Berg, David Boop, Chris Dreith, Dixon Hill, Kim Keeline, R.J. Koreto, Joyce Kreig, Ellen Clair Lamb, Eileen Rendahl, Christopher Ryan, Linda Townsdin, Gabriel Valjan, and Carrie Voorhis.

Last week’s First Two Pages featured Jennifer Berg on her story “Schemes in the Dark,” and this week, R.J. Koreto talks about his story “The Hollywood Gangster.”

Richard’s fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and he’s also the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes and Alice Roosevelt historical mysteries. You can find more about him and his work at his website here.

In the meantime, his story “The Hollywood Gangster” is a real winner, with a great narrator and point of view, as you’ll learn in the essay below.

Happy reading—and hope to see you online in just a few days!

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.


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4 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “The Hollywood Gangster” by R.J. Koreto

  1. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “Old Soles” by Chris Dreith – Art Taylor

  2. Pingback: Incident Report No. 95 - Unlawful Acts

    1. Chris DREITH

      True! I want to jump in right now and find out who the dead body belongs to and what was the trick Despy pulled off!

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