Wednesday, September 9, 2009

37 Secret Agent

TITLE: Red Lick
GENRE: YA Historical

Thorny Taylor crept through the dark, his body slick with sweat. He had to catch up to the others, and he had to do it quick, without notice. If he scared off the night’s prey, there would be no more chances for him. He could not fail again.

“Watch out, boys! He’s doublin’ back!

Thorny’s heart quickened. The chase was on. They were coming his way. He had a chance.

He crouched behind a large sycamore and melted into the sweltering dark. In the distance, a firefly blinked as though sending a signal. Thorny pulled his clothes from his sticky skin and peered around the tree.

Please, God. Let me catch him. Let it be me.

Brush crackled. Branches snapped. Voices rose from the silent depths, growing louder and louder. They were coming. All of them. Barreling toward him like a freight train, making no effort to be quiet. Thorny stood, ready to pounce.

A blur broke through the trees and Thorny sprang from the brush. Someone slammed into his chest and they both tumbled to the ground. Thorny shoved the body away then scrambled on top of it. He sat on the heaving chest and pressed his knees down on two flailing arms.

“Get off! Let me go!”

Thorny gazed down at the struggling body beneath him.

“Jesus,” he whispered.

It was Willie Brown. Little Willie Brown who wasn’t so little anymore. He stared into the black face, grateful for the hood that covered his own.


  1. I'm really sorry but the names Thorny and Willie made me snigger. I'm so infantile...

  2. I'd keep reading. Except when he said Jesus, I thought he had tackled Jesus.

  3. I like it. I'm hooked. What the heck is going on here? I want to find out.

  4. This hooked me right away. Wow, what a great place to end this! You say everything with subtlety.

  5. I thought the writing was strong. Nice work.

  6. I like the ideas, but the writing didn't hook me. The short, choppy sentences were supposed to give me a feeling of breathlessness and haste, and they did...but not the right kind, I think. I mostly felt ungrounded, as if I wasn't actually *in* the story, just skimming across the surface.

  7. You got me hooked. Spooky beginning to a novel. great tension and description.

  8. I like this, though I thought you used his name too often.

  9. The writing is tight, almost too tight. I felt a little too rushed along and not quite drawn into the scene.

    I'd definitely read another page or two to find out what happens next, but I'm not engaged with the MC yet and might not be in just another page or two.

  10. It started out great, with immediate momentum. But then it lost it's momentum when the firefly blinked.

    At the end when he caught Willie, was that who they were intending to catch?

    *Wait, I just got it after reading several times. They are like the Ku Klux Klan. Not very clear for me. Maybe, instead of pulling the clothes from his sticky skin, he could pull the white robe etc? I thought it was a hunting party too, maybe a mob instead? but then, maybe this would be clear to me from the novel's artwork, it's just not clear from the submission.

  11. I got that it was the KKK right away and so that makes for some good conflict here, since he clearly knows the boy he's captured. I could see this going interesting places with that in mind, assuming that the MC is going to grow out of being in the KKK anyway. I hope. If not, I would find him and awfully hard character to like.

    I would definitely read more to find out though.

  12. Well... I think we need to know more about these people before we care about their perils.

    I see a lot of this plunging into media res wich is probably the author's way of saying, "See here. I got me a heck of a conflict." And yes, you do need conflict or tension at the beginning but it doesn't have to be life-and death. Conflict needs to build. Start out small and then grow the conflict. Then we'll care about whta happens to Thorny and the gang.

  13. Yes, hooked.

    I'm guessing civil war type novel?

  14. Oh. Hood.

    I missed that in the last bit and was wondering why everyone was zeroing in on KKK. :)

  15. LOL! I'll read further...just to see if it does involve the KKK. It would make for an interesting story between the two boys.

  16. Oh, KKK? I was still in fantasy mode...


    Anyhow this hooked me, in a fearsome, I-don't-want-to-know-what-happens-next-please-tell-me sort of way. I don't really care about the MC though. :D

  17. ... his body slick with sweat makes me think I'm reading a romance novel, and expect that heaving bosoms will be next.

    The name Thorny threw me a bit.

    I found the chase/hide/they're coming my way sequence confusing. If Thorny is one of the chasers, why is he apparently hiding (crouching behind a tree and melting into the dark).

    Willie Brown makes me think of the former mayor of San Francisco.

    And I agree that it's confusing to read about him pulling his clothes away from his skin, and then at the end realizing he apparently is dashing through the woods in a full hooded KKK outfit? (Not the best attire for melting into the darkness.)

    I think this needs some mild tightening and tweaking before I'd be hooked.

  18. Hooked.

    I was initially confused in the chase scene as to when this was happening. I read the YA Historical label and couldn't figure out if this was in medieval times, WWII, or something else. I may just need more caffeine. :)

    I'd definitely keep reading.

  19. Hooked, and one of the best entries I've read. At first I thought they were chasing some kind of animal, but when it turns out to be a person...with a black face...chased by another person wearing a hood, well, it's clear enough what's going on. I actually thought you did a great job of communicating the scene and situation without spelling it out for us.

  20. There is suspense and smooth prose. But I'm too confused as to what his "prey" is and why it matters to get hooked.


  21. I'd keep reading, but I'd need to get a better sense as to what was going on, fast, to keep me reading.

  22. Thank you everyone for you comments and suggestions, and thank you, Authoress, for making it possible, and you Secret Agent, for taking the time. It was a great learning experience and lots of fun. I appreciate everyone's time and interest.

  23. Hooked. I felt his need to catch their prey. When he did, I was surprised it was a person, and I felt how torn he felt.

    I thought the firefly was great. It put me outside in the dark and didn't slow the pacing.