The First Two Pages: “All in the Planning” by Marco Carocari

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.

As I’ve said many times before, the annual Malice Domestic gathering is one of our favorite events of the year—mine, my wife Tara’s, and our son Dash’s too; in fact (as I’ve also said many times before), Dash listed it as one of our family’s “traditions” for one of his elementary school classes, just second to Christmas, as I recall. While the lack of in-person get-togethers over the the last two years have left small holes not only in our calendars but also in our hearts, we’ve been glad to meet up in other ways: virtually at More Than Malice this past summer, for example, and then through the two recent Malice Domestic anthologies: Mystery Most Theatrical in 2020 and now Mystery Most Diabolical, featuring a terrific line-up of writers from our community: Leah Bailey, Paula Benson, Mary Alyce Blum, Michael Bracken, Susan Breen, Marco Carocari, Mary Dutta, Christine Eskilson, Nancy Gardner, Barb Goffman, Alexia Gordon, Beverly Graf, Maurissa Guibord, Victoria Hamilton, Kerry Hammond, Peter W.J. Hayes, Smita Harish Jain, Cynthia Kuhn, Margaret Lucke, Sharon Lynn, Tim Maleeny, Jeff Markowitz, Lisa Q. Mathews, Adam Meyer, Alan Orloff, Rita Owen, Graham Powell, Keenan Powell, Lori Robbins, Cynthia Sabelhaus, Nancy Cole Silverman, Shawn Reilly Simmons, C.J. Verburg, and Andrea Wells.

Here at the end of the year, I’m pleased to host three of these fine writers with reflections on their stories for the anthology—beginning this week with Marco Carocari and continuing through the end of the year with Cynthia Kuhn and Lisa Q. Mathews, a great way to end 2021!

Marco is the author of the debut novel Blackout, which recently won NYC’s Big Book Award and which was praised by Edwin Hill: “New York’s crime world and gay scene converge in this compulsively plotted mystery, where long-held secrets refuse to stay buried. Carocari delivers a strong debut that’s equal parts thrilling and heart-felt.” Marco’s story for Mystery Most Diabolical is “All in the Planning”—with a vivid First Two Pages that will definitely have you wanting to read more!

Find out more about Marco and his work at his website here and get your copy of Mystery Most Diabolical to find out what happens next.

And hey! Before the end of the year, register for Malice Domestic 32, 33, and 34—three years of festivities packed into one weekend: April 22-24. Our calendar is already marked—see you there!

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.


2 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “All in the Planning” by Marco Carocari

  1. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “There Comes a Time” by Cynthia Kuhn – Art Taylor

  2. Cynthia Kuhn

    Oh wow. Loved this peek behind the scenes of your story–and into the decision-making process.

    Very interesting, Marco! And that is an incredible first sentence… 🙂

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