How to start a novel: the opening of my Berlin thriller “Blood Summit” has received great reviews. You can read the complete prologue here.
What is in my new thriller Blood Summit?
Here is the prologue.
The complete novel, as both paperback and e-book, is available on Amazon.
To illustrate my thoughts on how to start a novel, you can read the text of the prologue right here.
Early draft of “Blood Summit” cover
How to start a novel: the Prologue
Two years earlier
There were children playing in the street outside her door. Turkish, Uli Wenger guessed from their dark skin and bright clothes. He walked around them. The first insect Uli ever killed had been a child. Today, he had more important business.
The surface of the door was rough with dirt and spray paint. Sixteen buzzers studded the wall. The target lived on the third floor. Uli pressed the button by her name.
There was a crackle. ‘Yes?’
‘Post,’ Uli said. ‘A package.’
‘OK.’ The door popped open.
The hallway was cool and dark and smelled of damp stone. Two bicycles stood against a wall. Uli climbed the stairs. At the second floor, he took from his shoulder-bag a cardboard carton and a blue and yellow postman’s jacket. Then he trudged up the final flight and rang the bell.
This was the moment. If another door on the landing should open, Uli would walk slowly back down the stairs. He counted the seconds. Patience was everything. She was behind the door. She was looking at him through the spy-hole.
The door opened.
‘Hello, is that – ‘
Uli Wenger barged into the apartment and wrapped his arm around the target’s face, crushing her nose and mouth. He reached for the knife at his belt. He had used it twice today already.
But unlike the men whose throats Uli had cut that morning, the woman did not struggle. She was a head shorter than him, wiry and angular. He never relaxed his grip. Suddenly she was dropping to the floor, a dead weight. He staggered. In that instant, she hooked one leg behind his and threw herself backwards.
Self-defence classes, Uli thought as he fell. It would make no difference. His head smashed into the bare floorboards. The woman landed on top of him. He lashed out instinctively with his free hand. His fist connected with her head, a solid, satisfying blow.
Uli jumped up. Already, the woman was scrambling to her feet, backing away. He edged towards her, fully alert. She would be dead in sixty seconds. Behind her on the wall he saw a poster of a man in a tunic brandishing a sword at an army of skeletons. The image meant nothing to Uli. He held his knife forward, ready to slash her throat. She must not scream. His fall had made too much noise already. The neighbours might be calling the police.
But the woman did not cry out. She lifted her hand to a drop of blood at the corner of her mouth. When she spoke, her voice was filled not with fear, but with anger.
‘What is this? Are you crazy?’
Uli felt a pulse of panic. It was as if she knew his history. His weakness. But that was impossible. Only Mouse had known, and she was dead. He hesitated, gripping the knife more tightly in his hand.
‘Leave me alone!’ An order. But then she made a mistake. ‘Please.’
The spell was broken. Uli stepped forward. She tried to trip him again, but this time he was ready: when she reached out her foot, he grabbed her and threw her down. She gasped as she hit the floor. For a moment, she lay still. It was enough. He fell on her, pressing his left hand over her mouth and slamming the knife into the carotid triangle at the base of her neck. When he jerked the blade free he was rewarded with a torrent of blood. For twenty seconds, he held her. Then he knelt, and cleaned the knife on her shirt.
The woman’s eyes were open.
‘Why?’ she whispered. ‘Why kill me?’
Uli did not know the answer. His employer had named today’s targets without giving a reason. The objective might be to test the efficiency with which Uli could kill. Or it could be something else entirely.
He shrugged. ‘Do you not know?’
Her eyes widened, but she could not speak.
‘I do not know either,’ Uli said. ‘And I do not care.’ He waited a few seconds longer, with his hand on her pulse. Then he rose and left the apartment.
Next: read Chapter 1 of Blood Summit for free.
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to start a novel. If you would like to hear more about Blood Summit or if you enjoy fresh, original writing, you can friend me on Facebook or sign up for my weekly newsletter (you can unsubscribe anytime you wish).
If you would like to have a look at all my writing, you can choose from: my blackly comic Seven Hotel Stories, hard-hitting Berlin thriller Blood Summit and Corona Crime – a thriller for a world in the grip of coronavirus.