Thursday, November 13, 2008

36 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

GENRE: Mystery/Suspense-RS

"You're too stupid to live, Rafael Solis!"

Chloe Palmer's words still echoed in Rafael's memory. The last words she'd said before she shot him and left town.

Now she was back, if only for the short haul. She was prettier than ever and she still had that 'go to hell' attitude.

Rafael stared at her profile throughout the funeral service. Head held high, she'd made eye contact with no one, though she had to know he'd be there, still in love with her after seven long years.

Chloe filed outside and stood apart, her back to the assembled mourners. She turned when he neared, wary, assessing him.

"I'm sorry about your dad, Chloe."

"Yeah, well..." She paused, avoiding his eyes. "It's not like he didn't have it coming."

"You're looking good." Rafael cleared his throat, prepared to ask the question, not certain he could bear the answer. "Are you married?"

She shot him a sharp glance under heavily mascaraed eyelashes. "What's it to you?"

"Nothing...Nothing at all. I just wondered if you had someone here with you. That's all."

"Yeah, I got someone here with me." She jerked her head toward her mother, standing in a small circle of friends outside the church.

"Your mother, of course." Rafael remembered how hard it had always been to talk to Chloe when she was in a mood. Like she resented every word she gave out in conversation. Her prickly defenses had protected her soft, vulnerable core...from everyone but him.


  1. I like the scene here--it definitely works as a book opener.

    But it's kind of jarring that we're at Chloe's dad's funeral and the second thing out of Rafael's mouth is "are you married?" Maybe you meant it to be this way; Rafael comes across as needy and kind of wimpy. If he were the hero and didn't get a bit more manly soon, I would stop reading.

  2. The writing is good so I'd keep reading but I'm not sold--I realize its short but there's nothing (so far) to differ it from the rest of the RS genre.

    And I agree w/AC--the "are you married" feels jarring

  3. I liked this. Strong voices. Had the RS feel right from the get-go.

  4. Nice, clear writing. I'd read on.

  5. Um... heh. At first I thought this was another paranormal sub. Chloe shot Rafael and left town. She came back for the funeral service.

    I'm not sure if I'm hooked... but I might pick this up and read for the hook - I'm assuming that somebody got killed. Or maybe it was the person the funeral was for...

    What is RS ?

  6. Great opening. Not sure I would keep reading, this more due to the genre rather than the story. You have me laughing at the part where she shoots him and leaves town. I'm a little surprised he didn't take it a little more personally.

  7. Do you mean "shot him down" as in turned him down, or "shot him" as in shot him with a gun?

    If she shot him down, you need to make that clear. I was wondering if it was his funeral, andr why she wasn't in jail.

  8. I am a little confused about the shooting thing too. Why would this guy be interested in a woman who shot him and wished he was dead. He sounds a like he's either a glutton for punishment or a stalker. (Shooting him seems like a pretty good indication she's not interested.) But the writing was good and I might read on just because the characters seem so crazy.

  9. I'm hooked and would read more just to find out more about Chloe.

  10. Is Rafael meant to come off as a creep?

    Cuz to approach a woman at her father's funeral and say "You're looking good. Are you married?" is pretty obnoxious. It makes it hard for me to believe that this guy is the ONE guy tough-as-nails Chloe opens up to.

    Since I couldn't really connect to the characters, this one would be a pass for me.

  11. Love the opening line.

    Agree with the married question. I'm hooked.

  12. Interesting, especially the part about her shooting him. I’d recommend tightening up the POV in the opening lines, as I had some trouble figuring out who our narrator was for a while.

  13. I agree with a lot of the comments, but I'd read on. It's an interesting set up and I definitely want to know why he's still in love with her after she shot him and where did she shoot him.

  14. I'm hooked! I liked the characters and the idea that he was still in love with her even after she shot him. There was a hint in the last line that maybe she had a reason to. Chloe is very edgy and Rafael seems to be walking on eggshells. I would read on.

  15. I'm halfway hooked. I would give you some more pages to reel me in. Mostly because Ralph seems to be a glutton for punishment. That makes him look bad, but also Chloe because she keeps using him, shooting him (which is way intriguing), and being a general witch. So maybe. :)

  16. Incorrect change of tense in the third sentence. Grammar counts, and using the wrong tense is one of those things that agents and editors find especially jarring.

    Also, a group of people can "file outside", not one person.

    Otherwise, the writing isn't bad. It's just especially compelling, and I have no desire to read further. Too quiet, I think.

  17. Okay, personally, I'm hooked. I thought your writing was clear and tight - a little on the quiet side, yes, but your characterization was strong from the start and reeled me in. Plus...she shot him? Come on! How could I not be hooked after that?

  18. Initially I liked the twist in the opening: Who remains in love with someone who calls him stupid, shoots him and then high-tails it out of town? By the end, though, I was about ready to shoot Rafael myself -- and slap Chloe, who is just too mean-spirited and self-involved for words. I'd probably read on to see if this story twists again pretty quickly, but as MCs go, I had a hard time connecting with either one of them.

    However, you did an excellent job of giving us a quick snapshot of two psychologically well-defined (read "creepy") characters in very few words, IMHO.