The First Two Pages: “Red Flag” by Gregory S. Fallis

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.

Last month, I started a series featuring this year’s Edgar Award finalists for Best Short Story, including William Burton McCormick’s essay on “Locked-In,” Donna Moore’s essay on “First You Dream, Then You Die,” and Charles John Harper’s essay on “Backstory.” I’m thrilled to continue the series this week, welcoming another of this year’s finalists, Gregory S. Fallis, with his story “Red Flag” from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Fallis has also written on the story at the AHMM blog, Trace Evidence, and Robert Lopresti selected “Red Flag” as his Story of the Week at Little Big Crimes.

In addition to his fiction writing, Greg has also taught mystery writing at the Gotham Writing Workshop, and criminology and sociology at American University in DC and Fordham University in Manhattan. His work beyond the page and the classroom has been extensive as well: a medic in the military, a counselor in the Psych/Security unit of a prison for women, and a licensed private detective too. You can find out more at his website here.

And enjoy the sample below of “Red Flag”—and Greg’s reflections on pulling the story together.

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.