The First Two Pages: “Disco Is Dead” by Jeffrey Marks

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.

What a joy to host my good friend Jeffrey Marks this week at the First Two Pages—celebrating his first appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and the start of a new series of stories, as he explains in the essay below. Not only is Jeff a fine friend, but he’s also a writer I greatly admire and one whose nonfiction work I’ve leaned on in the classroom for many years. In fact, I regularly draw from Jeff’s book Atomic Renaissance for my Women of Mystery class and just recently featured a quote from that book on a Powerpoint. Jeff’s a publisher as well, now heading up Crippen & Landru, which he took over from Douglas Greene a few years ago. Crippen & Landru is the premier publisher of short mystery fiction collections, and I’m honored that C&L presented my own collection,The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense, two year ago.

I was also honored to be an early reader of Jeff’s story “Disco Is Dead,” and I told him that I felt sure it would be a great fit at Alfred Hitchcock or Ellery Queen. So glad I was right there!

In addition to reading his essay below (and searching out the terrific story in full in the new issue of AHMM!), you can find out more about his work at his website—and be sure to follow him on Facebook and on Twitter too. And do check out the Crippen & Landru site too—great reading in all directions.

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.