Romance, murder, witchcraft, art, and football are the themes for the novel I spent all winter working on. The first draft is done and it is a long way from publication but the opening is pretty close to finished. Enjoy:
from "Depraved Heart":
Depraved Heart Murder n. A murder resulting from an act of reckless disregard for the safety of others. Also known as Depraved Indifference Murder. Depraved-heart murder is recognized in the Model Penal Code § 210.2(1)(b). The Model Penal Code considers unintentional killing to constitute murder when the conduct of the defendant manifests "extreme indifference to the value of human life."
It was the kind of murder that drove the tabloids wild. They couldn’t get enough of it. Syd Jupiter had been one of the greatest offensive linemen in the history of American football. The six foot six, two-hundred-fifty pound Creole from Texas A&M was the darling of the tabloids from the time he was a first round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Through every Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, his was the face that the newspapers loved. It was a striking face to begin with and his dry humor and ease in interviews just made him more appealing.
During the first years of his career his name was linked with half the beauties in Hollywood including a tempestuous romance with a distinguished Academy Award winning actress who was twenty years his senior. Just about the time the public was convinced that Syd Jupiter was becoming a disreputable womanizer, he thrilled them by falling in love with the ballerina, Rachel Silver. The media loved it.
Rachel Silver was an enigma. If Syd Jupiter was a tabloid darling, Rachel and her twin brother, Raven, were American ballet lovers’ dreams come true.
Born on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts, Rachel and Raven were the great-grandchildren of W.Q. and Lisette Ravenscroft, the legendary patrons of such artists as John Singer Sargeant, Robert Vonnah, Charles Grafly, and Winslow Homer. Ravenscroft made his fortune in the Boston banking industry while Lisette, a famous beauty and bosom companion of Isabella Stewart Gardner, elevated entertaining in Boston to an art form. While the most fashionable artists and patrons of the arts summered in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Gloucester’s Eastern Point, Ravenscroft purchased half of a two hundred acre island southwest of Cape Ann and spent two decades building an estate so lavish it rivaled the castles built by the Hammonds across the water. He named it Hathor after the Egyptian goddess of pleasure.
The first time the public saw the Silver twins perform with American Ballet Theater they believed they were witnessing magic. So perfectly did the two, beautiful dancers move together, with such grace and symmetry and fluidity of motion it was impossible to believe there were two individuals performing. Rather, it seemed, that a single, perfect creature had manifested itself. They were so alike in appearance and so attuned in motion as they floated through the pas de deux in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet that the ballet critic for the New York Times declared that they had rendered further interpretations of that ballet superfluous and a well-known fundamentalist preacher who happened to attend the performance called for a boycott of such blatant sensuality.
Rachel Silver married Syd Jupiter on the wisteria covered terrace of Hathor while photographers with telephoto lenses hung out of helicopters and balanced in the towers of tuna boats trying to achieve the definitive photo of the event. The photographs taken that day filled the tabloids. During the weeks that followed, while the newlyweds remained secluded at Hathor, the paparazzi kept watch.
Three years later Hathor was again the focal point of tabloid fascination. Raven Silver, the captivating, ethereal, fascinating twin and dance partner of Rachel Jupiter was dead — shot through the heart outside his great-grandfather’s Roman Temple on the edge of a swimming pool in which Rudolph Valentino once swam naked. Syd Jupiter was arrested and taken into custody. The press went wild.
After a brief trial during which the beautiful Rachel, now pregnant with their first child, stayed faithfully by her husband’s side, Syd Jupiter was found guilty of second degree depraved heart murder and his twenty-five year jail sentence began.
To be continued....