Thursday, October 16, 2008

5 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: "The Triumvirate"
GENRE: Young Adult

Win and I were doomed a long time before Tristan Alston.

I don't remember the Hollow Bay Murders all that well. I was little, seven or eight. My parents grew frightened like everyone else about the eleven missing people. They stopped letting me ride my bicycle to school and told me to avoid adults outside the family.

It seemed as though half the town dropped by our restaurant after the murderers were caught. The adults spoke in hushed voices, pretending they didn't notice us sneaking in behind them to eavesdrop.

I remember their giddy excitement, their amazement.

"The Jardins… Yes, both of them! Can you imagine? A married couple, killing all those poor people together... And with their little son sleeping just below them in the house!” They marveled at it, and murmured their pity for the child. Even then, though, I heard the implication: no boy with parents like that could turn out well.

Winston Jardin arrived at our school a week later. In a tiny community like ours, any scrawny newcomer with frightened eyes, greasy black hair, and dirty sneakers would have fueled gossip. That he was a ward of the state, tight-lipped about his real family, and shared an unfortunate last name with the Hollow Bay Killers, well— a rumor spread among the kids at my school that he was that little boy whose parents murdered eleven people. No one doubted it.


  1. Woa, heavy stuff right off the bat! I'm curious as to who Tristan is and why he's more of a threat than a (probably) psychologically unstable murderer's son. I'd keep going for a little while, but I'm not sure I'm hooked enough to go a whole novel.

  2. YA isn't usually my thing, but I'm interested here. I'd read the rest of the chapter just to get a handle on the story. I think you've done very well, this has the potential to be great.

  3. I'm not sure I like Tristan, actually. I think your main character needs to feel sympathy for the Jardin boy rather than being titillated by his relations.

  4. I'm a little confused. Who is Tristan? Why is he mentioned if he's not in the excerpt? Is Winston related to the murderers or not?

    I think the first line is the cause of my confusion. It would read much better without it, IMO. It presents the idea that a) Winston Jardin and the MC are friends, and b) Tristan Alston is trouble. None of those are really relevant to what follows, and IMO, those ideas are way ahead of the story at this point. I think you should start with the 2nd para.

    I would say I'm slightly hooked.

  5. The first sentence is confusing. But then the rest nicely sets the scene. I'm a little worried that this will be focusing on the victimization of the Jardin boy, but I'd read on to find out.

  6. This had me hooked right away. I would definitely keep reading. I am intrigued by Tristan's character. Will he end up murdering someone? How much does he know about the murders? IS he their son?

    I love YA, so this is right up my alley.

  7. While I'm not sure what Tristan Alston has to do with the rest of the piece, I do like the setup of everyone thinking Winston Jardin is the son of murderers. Do the two names match for a reason? Same cadence and ending letters. I'm hooked enough to keep reading the rest of the chapter. I want to know more about Winston and his background.

    On a side note, I didn't realize Win is the same person as Winston until I read the opening twice. You might consider saving his nickname for later.

  8. I would read on but I don't understand the reference to Tristan. He's not a character you've introduced yet and it's kind of distracting. I like that you mention 'win and I' right off the bat, becuase that really shows the reader how close friends they are (boyfriend/girlfriend maybe?)but is there any way to take off the tristan reference? I think it would immerse the reader more smoothly into your story.

  9. I'm definitely hooked. While I'm confused as to who Tristan is, the explanation of who Win is quite compelling. If Tristan is introduced soon I think I'd be okay with waiting to find out how this third person plays into it.

  10. I do like this, and the set up is intriguing, but I can't tell if this is all backstory or not. The line I don't remember the Hollow Bay Murders all that well. I was little, seven or eight. is primarily the line that confused me.

    But I would most definitely read on!

  11. Love it. I'd definitely keep reading.

  12. The first sentence is really confusing. then it's get better. It is backstory, but this is one of the rare occasions it works for me. I'd read on.

  13. Hmmm... see, I'm interested.

    Your voice is good and the premise is promising.

    My problem is that I don't get the first line. You throw out that line, and then seem to change subject completely. I want to say though that is more to do with this being a snippet.

    Anyway - yes.

  14. Hooked, hooked, and...hooked! I'm not sure what's going on with Tristan, but I'm intrigued enough with the Jardin murders and a strange boy in town to definitely read more.

  15. I was a bit put off by the backstory up front, but it drew me in and I'm quite intrigued about Win, so yes, I'd read on for a bit.

    Good luck,


  16. I liked it. :) The voice and the setup have me interested. Not sure I'm totally hooked -- I'd have to be in the right mood to read something like this. I am wondering who Tristan is, though, so I'd definitely keep reading until he came into the story, and then I'd decide if I wanted to buy the book.

  17. Hooked.

    The setting of it (small town) and the feeling of the beginning piece (murders and the awe of it), I totally recommend checking out "Church of the Dead Girls" by Stephen Dobyns. While not an amazing piece of work, it gets the feel of small town life perfectly.

    If nothing else, check it out and you'll get a great comparison piece, even without this being what your book is even about.

    Let us know about Tristan though. We all want to know.