When Det. Singh asked why MI-5 was interested in their little graverobbing problem, I found myself wondering what Fox Mulder would have said as he prepared to commandeer a local investigation on behalf of the FBI.
I was drawn into the police procedural aspect of this story, with the wizarding forensics. The effect on me was, however, that it became more of a procedural, the little graverobber became more of the ordinary experience of a wizard detective, if that makes sense. In other words, as the mystery is solved by logical, credible and familiar means, the sense of horror is diminished. I mention this because I thought horror may have been the dominant effect you were after.
I think that for this to grab the reader as a horror story, it needs to be a little longer. Although the story is written from Harry's POV, you don't really get a sense of dread coming from him. The only person expressing fear is Mary, the forensic tech. Ron, likewise, doesn't seem too bothered.
I was thinking that the scene at the Haunted House might be a good time for Harry to recall who's who (or brief Ron). I may just be dense. (Probably!) But it took me 3 readings to realize that the creature holding little George was the old fanatic who killed his children. (BTW: would there be anything left save bones of old Taggart, who's been dead for 35+ years?) It also seemed to me that this might be a good time to introduce the idea that these creatures are not really Inferi; even in the short section devoted to them, they are clearly not behaving as Inferi.
It seemed a bit odd, having Fred coming back to life and acting very much as himself. It may have been the absence of explanation of the phenomenon. And, because he acted so like himself, I think it would be devastating for Ron.
I actually thought the line about Won-Won was kind of sad. Poor Lavender. Beyond the veil and still hasn't moved on.
I liked the Return of Conner. The virtues of firearms versus wands is the subject for a PM discussion -- personally, I'm not sold on them as a substitute for magic. It's a whole 'nother skill and far less versatile. (BTW, I'm surprised their laptops and Blackberries work at Auror headquarters.)
I think you have an amazing new world going on here.
Author's Response: In my defense, I will say that this is one of the first things I ever wrote for the site and it shows a lot of what I was as a beginning writer. If I were writing it now, it would be vastly different. The technology angle would be way toned down, with only the mobile and gun still in play. I have a reason why the technology works at HQ, but since it's no longer going to be part of 'Bodies at Rest,' I'm just going to gloss it over.
The virtue of firearms versus magic is something that will come up in 'Bodies at Rest,' and it is actually going to be part of one of the main parallel stories. I've had this story for Harry in my mind for a long time.
The Lavender comment was really meant to be dead-Fred yanking Ron's chain a bit. Ron's reaction to dead-Fread is one of the things I would change in the story. I was just learning how to show instead of tell and to tell a story through dialogue, so this story's a bit flat at times.
I absolutely see your point about the procedural element taking over the horror part and I wish I knew how to fix it, but I don't want to go completely re-edit this story as it marks a place in my writing where I was developing.
George Krupp's ability to call the Animorte from the grave is what allows Taggart to have flesh on his bones. Had George had practice and a wand, he could have made them look almost alive. Very horrifying to be dead, and still have a piece of your animus stuck to your body.
Harry knows they aren't behaving as Inferi, but at this point he has no sphere of reference for them. I should make it more clear that he knows they're not Inferi, but he doesn't know exactly what they are.
Ah, Conner. This is the same Conner as DFK, but it's not the same world. Think of this as a parallel universe to the parallel universe of DFK. I know Conner's entire history and would love to write a story of it (and have written part of it), but it would be way too political for the site. If you are interested in a synopsis of Conner's life, I can provide it. If you hadn't guessed he was Slytherin at Hogwarts with the trait of 'getting stuff done, but also advancing my own agenda,' without the Dark Arts end of it being so pronounced. He's definitely not one-dimensional.
I learned a lot from this work and DFK's early chapters about how to develop a story and show emotion. That's why I felt comfortable now in following it up. The CC that people had, especially for those two stories made a lot of difference in my development.
As far as wizard detectives, if you have a desire to write a noir detective, I have the name and profile for you, because I don't think I could write it well.
I think Fox would be boggled by the wizarding world, and this was meant to be a sort of X-Files thing.