No Stars

May 18th, 2012

Here are a few books I will not be writing any time soon.

First, some backstory.  I have a friend on Facebook named Tim Hallinan, and today he wrote on my wall (with the cryptic Facebook notation From Tim Hallinan to Tim Hallinan) to say: “ I know I don’t post to you often (mainly to avoid confusion among your other 736 Facebook friends) but had to share I was just presented with a 1991 edition of ‘Skin Deep’ by a colleague from our campus library.”

I responded to him by telling him he’d confused me, and for a moment I had wondered why I had no memory of having written that post.  When sanity prevailed, I wrote him an answer:  “GREAT to hear from another Tim Hallinan. There are just the right number of us at two, don’t you think? Or maybe there are more and we should start a #timhallinan group on Twitter? Wouldn’t that be a self-defeating idea for a mystery novel? The #timhallinan group finally gets together in the flesh and someone gets murdered in a fiendishly creative way, and the writer suddenly realizes that all his characters are named Tim Hallinan?”

The Tim Hallinan Murders is a book I will not be writing.  Nor will I do the book for the Broadway musical adaptation, “Hallinan!”  No matter how much they offer.

So that got me to thinking, since I have nothing else to do, and here are some other books that will remain on the very high but fortunately imaginary Do Not Write pile.

Seeing Double:  Perhaps the hoariest gimmick in whodunnits is the identical twins trope.  Seeing Double breaks new ground in that every character in the book is an identical twin, and I mean really identical, not just-sort-of-identical, and there’s a fiendishly creative murder, and the solution has nothing whatsoever to do with twins.  Not a mystery fan in the world will see it coming.

Terror on the Half Shell:  An aggressive oyster wreaks havoc, joining with other, uhhh, shellfish to commit a series of fiendishly creative murders in a prominent seafood restaurant.  The book is organized like a four-course dinner: Starters, Soups & Salads, Entrees, and then, instead of Dessert–wait for it–Death.  The narrative is broken frequently by long intervals of oyster poetry, which is distinguished by its ground-breaking use of the passive voice.

Harmony of Horror:  A rising young boy-band is killed by zombies and, naturally, become zombies, but with good hair.  This adds a new urgency to the hallowed show-biz mystery story line as the band experiences the heightened pressure of making it and getting rich, but they have to do it before their arms start to fall off.   There will be some fiendishly creative murders along the way as soon as I figure out who’s alive enough to kill.  A real cross-genre blockbuster, and I give it to whoever wants it.

Woofers Brings It Home:  Told from the point of view of a Golden Retriever, this is the haunting tale of a dog who, stumbling across the remains of a fiendishly creative murder committed, oh, somewhere in the wood, drags a detachable portion of the victim home to present to his freckle-faced 11-year-old owner, Bobby.  Bobby and Woofers team up to solve the murder, which has the hopelessly inept local police throwing up their hands in bafflement.  In a casting coup, the audiobook version will be voiced by the little dog from “The Artist.”

Not coming soon to a bookstore near you, and doesn’t that make you feel better?

9 Responses to “No Stars”

  1. Tom Logan Says:

    Mr. Hallinan (whichever one you really are), you are very strange.

  2. EverettK Says:

    Just remember, Tim: there are no bad story ideas, just story ideas written badly. Since you won’t reveal the pen name under which you published your trash novels of the 70s or 80s (or whenever it was), I’m unable to find any evidence that you’ve ever written a story idea badly.

    I think you’re just afraid to take on a challenge… 🙂

  3. Gary Says:

    The book ideas are OK, Mr. Timothy Whoever. But the titles could do with some work.

    For example, Terror on the Half Shell should obviously be called Oysters Kill Patrick.

  4. Sharai Smith Says:

    This post reminds me that before I knew you as a famous fiction writer you were the funniest person I had ever met!

    Thanks for the endorphins!

  5. Laren Bright Says:

    Hey, the Oysters Kill Patrick post inspired me to suggest a murder mystery featuring escargot: A Snail through the Heart.

    (C’mon, it will be great.)

  6. Gary Says:

    The Broth Watcher. How did the body get into the bisque, when it was under surveillance the whole time?

    A baffling variation on the locked tureen genre.

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    You guys have clearly forgotten that it’s bad Internet manners to outshine your host. So let me re-seize control here by thanking all those who were kind enough to be amused and to admit that I laughed out loud at all the people who topped me. This is a great direction to take this –whatever it is — in.

    But Gary, The Broth Watcher, while the locked-tureen mystery is hilarious, clearly has fewer possibilities than the first fashion-design noir novel, The Fourth Swatcher. Not to mention the forthcoming thriller set in the high-tension world of Chinese women’s sports, The Queen of Pingpong.

    Zut! Alors! he says in French with an ineffably French snap of the fingers.

  8. EverettK Says:

    How about Crushed, the story of a junk yard car crusher who moonlights as a private eye for for people in the “sanitation industry”?

    Or The Little Elves, about musical group of elvish dwarfs who have been heinously murdered by a goblin?

    Or The Frame Thief, which brings us the master thief who breaks into impossibly secured museums, cuts masterpieces from their frames, and then makes off with the frames, leaving the artwork on the floor.

    Or wait, wait, I’ve got it, this one is GUARANTEED to be best-seller! It’s called The Four Last Thongs and it’s about …erp… gararrgggghghhghgh…. THUNK!

  9. Usman Says:

    LMAO. I thought of trying to top you. Then gave up. Although I do believe you should follow the advice of Mr. Hallinan, the non writer, and write that book on murder. Oh they all have murder. Just write the PingPong one, to stay safe. Your fans can’t afford to lose you.

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