Tuesday, 13 March 2012


TKnC is always happy to welcome back old friends. This time we get double the pleasure with Graham Smith and a character from his previously published 'Shooting Stars' in...

Star Struck Shooter

   She’d escaped the bullet I’d fired at her. Now my moral code wouldn’t let me kill her myself. I allowed myself one bullet per target and I’d missed when I shot at her. I’d killed a bystander, which further breached my professional ethics. An assassin shouldn’t feel remorse but I hated that I’d killed an innocent. At least it was one of those bloody mime artists.
   I had a solution though. I’d merely stepped up my apprentice’s training and passed the job to him. I’d broken my code over that bitch once. I’d sooner die than break my code a second time for the same target.
   Jessica wouldn’t escape this time. We’d make sure of that. We’d followed her to the beach house where she was relaxing between movies.
   I knew her routine very well after the idyllic month we’d shared here. There were no bodyguards, assistants or staff. She went native in every respect. Cooked her own food, did her own laundry and refused contact with anyone who wasn’t invited onto her island.
   We’d arrived late the night before, rowing the last mile to be sure of silence. Out here sound didn’t just carry over the water it amplified. A cough became a gunshot, a gunshot a thunderclap and all because of the night air’s papal purity.

   Soon she’d be going for her morning jog. Twice round the two mile perimeter, running at the waters edge where the sand was firmer.
   The plan was simple, the apprentice would wait until she was nearly finished her second lap. She would be breathless, sweaty and low on energy as she always drove herself to near exhaustion when exercising.
   Then he would sprint out from the mango grove, grab her and then drown her in the shallow breakers rolling in from the east. Her body would be left at the high tide mark to be found by the locals who brought her daily provisions at noon.
   As she rounded the southerly point for the second time I reached across to the apprentice and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention without startling him.
   I pointed out a pleasure yacht which had just hove into view from behind the neighbouring island.
   The younger man relaxed back from his sprinters crouch and lifted his thumb from his fist to show his understanding. We would fall back to the first of our reserve plans.
   I’d been on enough missions to know never to rely on just one plan. The second plan was almost as straightforward although there was more risk to it. We would wait on her reaching the house. I knew she would go straight for a shower and that would be his chance to pounce.
   OK so it couldn’t be passed off as an accident like drowning but she would still die and that was all I cared about.
   She ran past us. Dressed in baggy shorts and t-shirt, hair matted to her head, face and clothes drenched in sweat as she puffed her way, red faced past our hiding place among the trees. No wonder she was the highest paid actress in the world, even in the bedraggled state she had presented as she ran by, she was still eye wateringly beautiful.
  Giving her a hundred yards head start, we jogged through the woods until she entered the house. The yacht had passed the island and was arrowing its way through the calm seas.
   I entered the house via the sliding windows which fronted the beach. My apprentice was hot on my heels with the knife ready in his gloved hand. I led him through the house to the bathroom which adjoined the master bedroom. We could hear running water. I signalled to my apprentice to go in.
   After adjusting his grip on the knife he burst through the door and slashed and stabbed at the figure in the open shower cubicle. In my mind I could hear the screeching wheek from the classic Hitchcock film. I kicked my attention back towards what was happening in the bathroom only to see a female body fall to the floor.

   We made our getaway that night. Our dingy easily covered the five miles to the nearby island where we’d set up our base. After cleaning everything down which may have held a trace of us we boarded the plane back to Miami.
   I was on cloud nine. I‘d hated her ever since she’d told an entire table in a crowded L.A. restaurant of my erectile dysfunction.
   It had taken years for me to perfect my assassins’ craft, and make enough money to stalk her around the globe until I finally had my chance. Now however, she was dead.  My apprentice came good and killed for me. I would always remember him favourably for the way he unquestioningly settled the score my code wouldn’t allow me to.
   As we exited Miami International Airport I bought a newspaper to see if her death had yet been discovered.
   Right there on the front page was her picture, underneath the chastising headline “Movie Star’s Twin Found Slain”.

© Graham Smith 2012

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna GreenScotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well respected review site Crimesquad.com for over two years.
As well as reviewing for Crimesquad.com Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.


  1. Love the process as it's explained here. The code, the principal... the reason why he hated her. All leading up to that perfect twist. Fine writing, Graham. Really enjoyed this.

  2. Thank you very much Lily and thank you for having me over again.

  3. I just love it when a plan comes togeth . . . aw Hell! So, now they have to go get a third guy? I can just hear Maxwell Smart snapping his fingers, "Missed it by that much!" Cool story, mate. I know it ain't funny . . . but I still laughed.

  4. Oh My!! Was not prepared for that ending!! Excellent though!!!!

  5. Aj, you're right about their being another assassin to follow. I'm already dreaming the plot up and I'll be putting it down sometime soon.
    Thanks for your comments mate, if I can make you laugh then I'm happy.

    Arlene, thank you. I'm glad I caught you out with the twist though.

  6. I remember the first story and this is a good follow-on. Well written and darkly funny ... great last line. I suspect the apprentice is for the chop (literally) now. I look forward to the next 'episode.'
    Keith Gingell

  7. Thanks Keith, I'm glad you enjoyed part 2. Part 3 is starting to take shape in my mind.

  8. Hi Graham

    Terrific!!! Well Written ;-)