“Independence and Freedom-File 001” by Jeff C. Fuller is one of the many articles/short stories that can be found on The Detective Files website. In the story, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are stolen.
The story is told in first-person: Detective Charles Early. He and his new partner, Emma Stevens, must recover the stolen Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The story has a noir-like style. I could almost picture a rain-drenched city and a detective in a trench coat. I’m not sure if that was the author’s intention, but it is what came across to me. Whether intentional or not, the mood and feel continued throughout the story. It didn’t feel like one minute it was a detective story and the next it was a comedy.
One of the first things I liked about the story is that it ended. By the end, the items are recovered. The story is self-contained. I don’t feel like “now I have to read twenty more files to learn what happened.”
I noticed some editing mistakes. For example, at one point Emma says, “Don’t you thin sir?” Fuller might want to look back through and fix some of these errors.
The dialogue and structure of the story gave it an “always moving” feel. I wasn’t bored or wondered “how much longer till the action.” I also liked the idea of this organization that helps solve cases that are too difficult for regular authorities; it kind of added to the mysterious-noir vide of the story.
I also noticed that Fuller repeats words in some sentences or has redundant text. For instance, at the beginning it says, “The last security guard made one last round around the building when he turned and signaled to the other guard that all was well.” The next sentence has the guard saying that the building is clear and all the alarms are on. Fuller might want to choose between keeping the dialogue or the description.
At one point, Fuller uses the word “feel” many times in one sentence. “Chuck, I have a gut feeling and I am not sure why I am feeling this way but I do have a feeling that this was an inside job…” These issues can easily be solved by eliminating the repetitive word or changing it to another word.
What I found to be the best part of the story was the style. Throughout the story, it sounds as if Detective Early is speaking. The narration stays in character. The descriptions of people sound like how a detective would describe someone in a report. The whole story sounds like someone writing a police report. Fuller does an excellent job at making the story feel like it is a file/report but at the same time making it sound like a story. Fuller balances the two well.
“File 001” made me curious to read more files and even check out the main novel The Detective Files: Emma Stevens and the Lord of Crime, which is published by Page Publishing; it is available at retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 4/5
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Until the next wormhole…bye!