Thursday, November 13, 2008

37 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Hostile Persuasion
GENRE: Escape Thriller

Wednesday. Blood spatter from the compound fracture seemed to linger in the air before slapping into Catherine Combes’s face. When the spoke on the steering wheel snapped her left thumb, a jolt of pain rushed up the police lieutenant’s arm. A grin splayed across the yellow teeth of the man driving the Land Rover as he rammed her again. Margarita time, and she was in the blender. The churning in her gut increased as the front end of the Ford sedan fell over the rocky embankment to slide toward the white water below. The rotted trunk of a fallen pine caught the bumper and flipped the unmarked Crown Vic into the air.

Once, twice, three times. Combes had wondered why some people in car accidents knew exactly how many times their car had rolled. Now she knew. Each crushing impact created an indelible impression in her mind. The icy water smashed through her open window and overwhelmed her, flooding into her nose and mouth before receding with the current. The crystal sharpness of the details, the cracks in the windshield and the waning afternoon sun reflected on the rushing water, faded into a blurred mush. Through the haze of red dust created by the car’s descent she saw the Land Rover on the road above back away from the precipice.

Combes’s Remington shotgun broke away from its floor mount and the business end of the barrel jammed between her legs.


  1. Very suspenceful! I'm hooked!

  2. Good. You may want to mention later that Combes is a police lieutenant because it almost sounds like there's someone else in the car with her.

    I think it gets better as it goes along!

  3. I like the action but a couple of things stopped me. Steering wheels have spokes? (I don't know about car stuff, but this read oddly to me)

    I also wondered how she'd be able to see the yellow smile of somenone in a car behind her while she's in such trouble.

    Nonetheless, you get her in an exciting predicament very quickly.

  4. No.... I'm sorry. But I think that's more to do with this not being my genre.

    One thing that occurred to me is I wondered how why she was so aware of things, the way she was. The pain, for instance. <- I've been in a bad accident (or two), and at the height of fear and trauma, things move in slow motion and you really don't feel very much until the adrenaline settles down.

  5. If I were in this situation, I'd be thinking "broken arm," not compound fracture, unless I was a doctor or medic. I'd be thinking pain and jumbled images.

    Cleaned up a bit, this would be a great hook.

  6. I think you've got a great voice and that this is probably the start of a great story, but I felt like I had to work too hard to figure out what's going on in the first paragraph.

    (love the margarita line tho!)

  7. What an exciting situation to start with!

    But I think this needs a bit of cleaning up-- mostly POV issues.

    I agree with the previous poster about the compound fracture. And I actually think the opening is even more intriguing without that phrase.

    Blood spatter seemed to linger in the air before slapping into Catherine Combes’s face

    Much clearer and just as interesting.

    I also would hold off on the "police lieutenant" reveal. It's confusing this early in the story. And we'll find out she's a cop soon enough. We'll already have a hint when she finds her gun.

    There's no way she'd be in a position to see how un-white the man's teeth were when she's jostling around on a cliff and he's hitting her from behind.

    I would specify "her Ford sedan" because at first I thought there was a third vehicle involved. Also, I think should stick with one name for the car (I think Crown Vic is better).

    Again, I'm totally unclear on how she's possibly able to see the haze of red dust, or the car backing away when she's inside a car under water.

    And why does the water smash through her windows and then recede?

    You've got a great situation to work with here, and some nice imagery, but I think you need to pay attention to what your protag's POV really is.

  8. POV--If she's the police lieutenant, then she wouldn't think of herself as that. The grin comment has to go.
    It's exciting, for certain, it needs work. Is she under water? If so how does she see the Land Rover?

  9. I’m intrigued, but wouldn’t say I’m hooked yet. Good start with action of a flipping car going off a cliff, but the language is kinda hard to slog through to get to the action; i.e., there’s a lot of purple prose clogging up the scene, IMHO.

  10. This has a lot of promised if tweaked as suggested before me. I also thought someone else was in the car with her the whole first half, in my mind she was being spoked by someone lol. Anyway, you write great suspense, this just needs cleaned up and it will be a great hook.

  11. Eeek! on the shotgun!
    I think you might want to reconsider ALL of the info dumped into this page (yellow teeth, compound fx, police Lt. etc) as mentioned by other posters. Most of all, I think she would be focused on the extreme pain in her arm and the visceral reactions to being battered around. Easy fix.

  12. Actually, this whole section is kind of a mess.

    How can blood spatter linger (implies hovering or standing still) and then slap her in the face? Is the blood spatter independently mobile?

    Compound fracture of what? How did the steering wheel break her thumb?

    A grin can splay across a face, but not teeth.

    She's gone over a cliff, landed in the water, is "overwhelmed" by the water rushing in through the broken windshield and yet can still see through the rear-view mirror that the car that had been chasing her was driving away? Not buying it.