It’s the obvious items in the photograph that you see first, or that your eyes go to first.
The ocean, the beach, the buildings. You can see a shopping mall with MacDonald’s sign above it.
Yes, it’s late afternoon, and you can see long shadows of the buildings.
So, if I asked you what did you see in this photo, what would your reply be?
From a thriller writer or murder mystery writer’s point of view, it’s what you don’t necessarily see.
So, for the purposes of the story, the opening line for the world-weary detective, handing the photo to his partner, “What’s is it you can’t see in this photo?”
A partner that hadn’t been on the job very long, in from the suburbs, and had seen little more than break and enters car theft, and school kids hi-jinks.
“What am I supposed to be looking for?”
“You want to be a detective, or be looking for old ladies cats?”
His partner takes the photo in hand and looks at it again. There has to be a reason why the old man had given it to him, or perhaps there wasn’t and he was just playing with him again.
No, he thought, there has to be something…
And then he saw it, quite by accident. A hand, a gun, and following the line of fire, at the end, what looked like someone in the bushes.
In a photo taken from a higher floor of the building over the road, looking down on what was supposed to be a rooftop recreational area.
Only there had been no report of a missing person or a gunshot wound in the last seven days.
“When was it taken?”
“Two days ago?”
“And no reports of a shooting, or a body?”
“No. And yet the person who took this swears he saw a body, but by the time he came back, there was nothing.”
The detective handed his partner a second photo. Time-stamped five minutes later. With no gun and no body.
What will happen next?