Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #32

TITLE: A Taste of Blood
GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy

The last time I saw my father, I broke my brother’s nose. Aaron simply wiped the blood on his suit’s sleeve, pulling me into a hug while I sobbed. As far as irrational outbursts went, it was pretty spectacular, but we were twelve, at our dad’s funeral and both a little emotional. Aaron just handled it better. Thirteen years later, he still did but I think even Aaron might have had something to say when Dad walked into Sawyers.

Martini glass pressed to my lips, I stared through the crowd.

The hooded figure slid through the bar, his average height, dark shirt and jeans blending with the masses, but I thought I’d seen his face. He moved with purpose, the crowd parting like the Red Sea, as if they knew there’d be problems if they didn’t.

Invoking time-faded memories, the gait and crowd response raised the hair on the back of my neck. The conversation between my two best friends faded into the rest of the din. With shaking hands, I settled my glass on the table before I dropped it. Besides, the martini had already sloshed and no matter what anyone said, wasting a drink like that was sacrilege.

No. This wasn’t happening. The dead just don’t casually stroll into a bar. My subconscious was projecting. It was dark; I couldn’t see. I was drunk. Daydreaming even. I threw explanations at myself, hoping one would stick, but apparently my brain was made of Teflon tonight.

“Alex? Earth to Alex.”


  1. I'd keep reading. I liked the opening paragraph a lot, it says so much in just a few sentences. I'm not sure I'm totally hooked, mostly because it's implied it's his father and I'm not sure it's compelling enough for me personally to keep reading. I'd give it a few more pages to see where it's going.

  2. Ooooh, I like this. You've got me hooked. Although, I'm a little confused as to whether our protagonist is male or female. Alex could be either, though with the description of sobbing, I sort of want to lean female.

  3. I found the piece a bit dis-jointed, minus the paragraph that begins with 'The hooded figure...'
    That's what actually gripped me and drew me in. Great hook. :)

    Best of luck to you!

  4. I’d change ‘pulling’ into ‘and pulled’ in the second sentence and break the fourth sentence in two.

    That last piece of advice will increase the dramatic moment. Re-write the last sentence in the first paragraph since IMHO it seems a bit clunky.

    I love the questions this submission creates but darn it, sentence structure is a problem throughout.
    Some excellent phrases stand out from the rest. Example: ‘wasting a drink like that was (is?) sacrilege’.

  5. I get a great sense of voice from this excerpt and I'm intrigued by the maybe-not-so-dead father. If I pulled this off a shelf, I'd keep reading to see where that thread was going.

  6. Unusual beginning, interesting with a strong voice right away.

    The sentence beginning with "The hooded figure" could be split to make it easier to read without slowing down the pacing.

    Overall, I'd definitely read more.

  7. The sentence structure does seem a bit dis-jointed and hard to read at times.

    But even so, I'm intrigued and would continue to read at least a few more pages :)

  8. The mini-flashback throws me off as a starter paragraph, but you continue along on a strong note. Your strong voice sure comes through, along with your sense of humour.

    I would continue to read this.

  9. There is no such thing as contemporary fantasy. Maybe Urban Fantasy... think about it.

    Other than that, I loved this. It's absolutely perfect. Nice details, perfect introduction of a little backstory, not too much, and BANG the problem. I'm hooked.

  10. I'm hooked. The writing is sharp for the most part, and it's very intriguing.

  11. Form rejection. I really like the twist at the end, but it was hard for me to get there. There was too much back-and-forth in time and it all felt like some transitions were missing.

  12. I like the voice, despite a few clunky sentences. I agree with Cat that this probably falls in urban fantasy. It may sound nitpicky but it's noteworthy if you're going to query. Best of luck to you!