Title: Busy Bodies
Genre: Adult - Comic Crime Fiction
Word Count: 97,000
Hero: Johnny Campbell sees himself as a noir hero à la Sam Spade: Canny, street-smart and able to deal with any situation. He’s wrong on all counts.
Pitch: Would-be insurance swindler Johnny Campbell has just faked his death using a clone of himself—and incidentally gotten his hapless wife Darcy arrested for his murder. There’s only one solution: He has to die. Again.
The powder-blue Volvo turned into the driveway. Weeds growing through cracks in the concrete brushed against the undercarriage as the car coasted smoothly into the carport and stopped. If any neighbors were watching, they’d just seen Gerhard Neiman’s car turn into Gerhard Neiman’s driveway; nothing suspicious. But the man behind the wheel wasn’t Gerhard Neiman, and it would really be better if no one spotted him, as he’d come here to rob the place.
He had a cover story ready, of course. If a neighbor actually came over and said hello, he was Johnny Campbell, a mechanic who’d fixed Neiman’s car and was now returning it. The story had the advantage of being mostly true, though it did contain a few holes. For one thing, Neiman wasn’t home, or at least Johnny sincerely hoped he wasn’t. For another, if Johnny was dropping off this car, how did he plan to get home himself? But surely Neiman’s neighbors weren’t in the habit of bounding over to say hello whenever he drove up. He was too menacing a figure for that.
Johnny slipped quietly out of the Volvo and made his way down a rutted dirt path running alongside the house. The white clapboard siding was interrupted here by a few tall windows, all of them screened and grimy and hard to see much through. The gate to a white picket fence enclosing the backyard lay on the grass beside the open gateway, its pickets swollen with moisture. Great, Johnny thought, I’m robbing a complete dump.