How to Solve A “Who Done It”

29 01 2013

I absorb mystery novels like most of my obsessions, in a terrifying fashion. I find that the first novel from a new author is like trying to analyze a serial killers second victim without knowing about the first. You are trying to figure out the character, environment, laws, relationships, and then finally who was killed. I like to take my time with the first book I read from an author. How I feel about this book will determine if I will read another book in the series or even from the same author again. For example I have only read one James Patterson Novel, from the women murder club series 1st to die. That was all it took. I read a predictable, horrendous book and have written James Patterson off for the remainder of my reading career. That is besides the point, with the skills I have acquired from my years of reading, I have compiled some important steps in solving a “Who Done It.”

1. Locate a crime, preferably a murder: Somehow starting can be the most difficult step. You will either need to part of the list below or align yourself with someone on it.

A. Homicide Detective

B. Forensic Anthropologist

C. FBI Agent

D. CIA Operative

E.  Private Investigator

F. Victim of a Violet Crime – personal or family member related

G. Bounty Hunter

H. Medical Examiner

I. Criminologist

J. Mystery Writer

K. Profiler

L. Vigilante

M. Criminal

N. Thief

O. Fake Psychic

P. Wizard

2. Enlist the help from a faithful, possible suspect, side kick: If you were on the list, locate someone close to the crime or to you that can either push you further into the mystery or know when to pull you out. If were able to align yourself with someone on the list, you are the side kick (congrats on finding yourself.) The job of the side kick is simple, help solve/hinder the development of the story. It also helps if they have a side job that sometimes distracts them, excellent marksmanship, invaluable knowledge of the interworkings of the crime or legal system, an interesting quirk, a romantic interest, and trained in the art of sleuth.

3. Get invested: Either by connecting with the victim, victim family member, rebelling against an authority figure, trusting your gut against all doubters, getting dragged in by the killer making it personal, etc.

4. Interview all People of Interest.

5. Narrow Down and Interrogate Your First Suspect: Spouse estranged or otherwise, boyfriend/girlfriend, business partner, ex, best frenemy, arch nemesis, shady pet sitter, contactor, spouse of affair, jealous co-worker, nanny, iguana.

6. Rattle the First Suspect: Force them to reveal a previously unknown fact or suspicion about a Person of Interest you wrote off due the amount of cooperation you received.

7. Grill the Red Herring: The person brought up in the first Interrogation is about 98% a Red Herring, grill them like no one else. Throw an object and make a vaguely veiled threat.

8. Work out the Red Herring: Verify alibi or lack of motive. Revisit first suspect and groan in exasperation.

9. Check how far you are into the novel: Over half way means you have typically met the killer, or they are at least mentioned. Look at everyone involved, including side kick, leave no stone unturned.

10. Accuse Innocent: Be 100% this person is guilty, loose the veiled threats, discover indisputable fact they are innocent. Question you motives, perspective, objectivity, and everything you know about the case.

11. Eenie Meenie Miney Mo: Pick your 4 closest guesses to who committed the crime plus one outrageous person that you would bet your life didn’t do it. Write the names on each one of your fingers. Play Eenie Meenie Miney Mo and confront the lucky winner.

12. Plan is revealed: Like all bad guys and psychopaths when confronted with confidence that you found the right guy, they fold and admit everything including motive, weapon, and says a line involving pesky kids.

13. Buy yourself and Partner a drink: Reflect on the case and discover new information about yourself. Talk about a job well done. Eat a piece of pie.

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Horror Movie Survival Guide….sort of

16 10 2012

This is inspired by my fab friend Megan. She introduced me to “Cabin in the Woods” two weeks ago, and I have been mulling it over ever since. In this movie, people are chemically pushed to portray horror movie character stereotypes and chose the manner of their own demise. In my not-so-countless hours of thinking this idea over, I came to the realization that most plagues me; I am much smarter than the characters and I would totally survive. Now this has been brought up before during many of my friends horror movie marathons, usually during or after the mourning of my movie boyfriend. Together as a group we have absorbed a ridiculous amount of horror movies. Considering we have a vast knowledge of zombie movies and that only represents a portion on our movie marathons, it is more than ridiculous and just down right astounding. Now that I have sufficiently bragged about them, I feel comfortable to proceed to my point. As a group we could most likely survive, but being forced chemically like the people in “Cabin in the Woods” might tip the scales in our demise. (I mean they did turn a pre-med student into a blithering blonde whore with some hair dye…) So here are a few of my thoughts if you find yourself in a horror movie-esque scenario.

Now most horror movies don’t actually occur where you live, if you have lived there for a while; so if that is the case for you, so far so good. In my experience they start in rest stops or gas stations while on road trips, visiting an old camp or stomping ground from your childhood that has a sordid or mysterious past, a new house built on an indian burial ground, an old house that people died in or housed the murders, or a cabin in the woods that one of your friends get invited to by their cousin you later realize never exisited….etc. Basically any  place that could house bad juju, speaking of bad juju stay away from all things Ouija boards. Ouija boards are not some child toy and just seep bad juju in my opinion.

So some how you ignore all the warning signs and get stuck in a horror movie scenario with one of your members triggering the forces to place the curse upon the group in its entirety. That is a tough tun of events, but remember sometimes, someone lives either by chance or escapes (to leave it open to a possible sequel) so you have at least that shot into getting out alive. To better understand your chances for survival and your role, you will need to identify what stereotype you are supposed to be portraying.

Megan – “Alpha Male”: Alpha means a couple of things, one being you are a douche bag (sorry Megan) and the other you are going to most likely die. They are usually the survivor of the first attack by the horror movie villan (please see Whore for more information regarding the first victim) and spread the word of the impending danger to give the others a chance to survive. To try survive passed the stereotype, try to listen to your gut and DON’T separate the group!

Briana: – “Side-Kick”: Side-kick to the Alpha is a little complicated. Half the movie I am convinced the Side-Kick is on the horror from the beginning and beg the Alpha to ignore their advice, and the other half I am convinced listening to them will save everyone. If you are the Side-Kick pick an effing side and stick to it. If you are on it from the beginning and part of the trap, for shame! If you just are giving lousy advice, shut up. And if you are giving advice that could save people and Alpha is ignoring it, rather than causing mutiny and having people take sides just kill the Alpha and blame whatever is hunting you down.

Nell: – “Loaner”  This is the street smart character that you are not sure how meshes in the group. (Not you  Nell! I love you, it is just what character best fits you!!!!) They appear a little stand off-ish and clash with the main group dynamic. The Loaner is not dismissed though, they provide valuable insight that the Nerd will most likely not account for as well as try to steer the group to safety. The downfall of the Loaner is typically when the group fully accepts them or they realize they love the group like a family and openly discuss this. So your survival tip is easy, DON’T! Just stay quiet and alive and block out all human emotions.

Lauren: – “Nerd” If you look around and you are the smartest person in the group, book wise, you are probably The Nerd. The Nerd will typically cling to logic and try to define the unimaginable with scientific and nonsense reasoning. Unfortunately for Lauren, their denial will seal their death while they are trying to disprove the horror  killing them. The only way to survive as the “Nerd” is to not be stuck in trying to your way out of it. Not everything is just a creepy man in a mask as Scooby Doo has let some of us let to believe, sometimes like the movie – it is a dog in a mask.

Courtney: – “Jock” If you were on several sports teams on high school or college and not the towel boy, this is probably you. The jock is plagued by good moral compass and going back to save the weaker members of the team. To survive, just run like hell…seriously. You will be safe as long as someone is slower behind you. You might also want to get a baller weapon in case you need to be on the defensive.

Ben: – “Slacker” AKA “Fool” Unlike the Nerd, the Fool thinks outside the box….sometimes a little too outside the box. Survival is key for the Slacker. You need to get your head in the game and don’t get too distracted. Your ability to not think like the standard sane person works in your favor as long as you have the drive and sense enough to push it too far.

Jennifer – “Innocent” AKA “Virgin” This character typically as the highest rate of survival as long as they suffer in the process. I honestly don’t completely agree with this assessment of what I bring to the table, but with the stereotypes this unfortunately fits me best. (Awesome, funny, baller zombie killer was not an option) To survive I suggest sticking to the group, over dramatizing everyone’s death to show how hurt you are, and pushing yourself to the emotional breaking point in front of the killer. (Also doesn’t hurt if at that moment you have a fool-proof plan of killing it as a back up) This will gain sympathy and will let you live if only to allow a sequel to occur to torture you with your new friends.

“Whore” – This person is basically bait, slutty bait. I could try to give you some tips that might make sure you don’t last the first death, but honestly I blame the whore for what is happening the group. So if you die first, you know will know why.