Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Somebody That I Used to Know
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary

I need your help.

I stare at the subject line. The email is from, one of those free email services anyone can sign up for with a fake name and a made-up address, but adrenaline floods my veins, flushing out the film of exhaustion that has stuck there for the last three months.

Dad, I think, even though I know it's impossible.

I'm aware of everything around me. The musty smell that has stubbornly clung to The Captain's guest room, despite a thorough cleaning and new paint. The flicker of my laptop monitor. The blood whooshing through my veins.

I have to stop doing this. It has been three and a half months since my dad's funeral. Just because the randomly generated email address the spammers are using today includes the word soldier doesn't mean the email has anything to do with my dad's stint in the military.

Still, I fumble with the mouse. It takes twice as long as it should for me to open the email.

I'm not dead.

My heartbeat is too loud, like it's coming from my ear canal instead of my chest.

I'm sorry for worrying you, but I had no choice. The men after me would like nothing better than to truly end my life, and I can't risk resurfacing until I have the evidence to send them to prison. That's why I need you.


  1. Ooh. It sounds like there's going to be some thriller type of stuff in this manuscript. Is it? That's the impression I get now even though you have contemporary listed.

    Anyway, I like this. Just some nit picks to think about. She's says she stares at the subject line, but she tells us what's in the "from" field. I now realize that "I need your help" is the subject, but at first it didn't click to me.

    Also, first she thinks it's her Dad even though she knows it's impossible and then she thinks it's an email about her dad's stint in the military, yet she remains anxious. It seems like the idea that it could be an email about his military stint would make her more at ease as opposed to the idea that it could be from her dad. Is there some issue with the military and her father's death? I guess I'm just not 100% sure what she's thinking. Make sense?

    Like I said, nit picks. Good luck.

  2. liked this the more I read it all the way through. I do love me a good suspenseful thriller and I think you built it up well. At first I was kind of confused in the beginning but I quickly understood what was going on.

  3. First, I really liked the tension leading up to the "I'm not dead."

    I was a little confused why when she sees the email address that she though it could be from her dad.

    I had one question was he killed in action, or did death have nothing to do with the military?

  4. I like the suspense in this, but maybe add why the email couldn't be from her father to clarify this a bit?

  5. Your title has me singing Gotye's song (which I love!)

    This was really nicely executed. I'm wondering if the 'Dad' thought she has might have more impact if it was 'Dad?' (with a question mark).

    You have me 100% hooked!

  6. Hooked. I liked this. I'd do a few niggly edits, but overall an excellent beginning that draws the reader in.

  7. The premise is intriguing. It definitely draws you in. I wonder if the shock of the dad being alive might be more meaningful if we got to know the character a bit more first. Then again, I'm more of an advocate for gentle starts than these contests usually allow. I would definitely read more!

  8. I really enjoyed this, but the "Dad" line threw me off. On the second read I got it.

    BUT I love the intrigue and I think it's a great beginning.

  9. I was hooked. I liked the thriller aspect.

  10. This is very solid. The only thing that really bothers me is the language in the last paragraph - the actual content of the email. It doesn't read (to me) like something someone would write. It's a little too formalized to sound like an actual email.

    Otherwise, clean voice and nice pace with just enough back story to tie it all together.

  11. I just assumed the dad was presumed dead in the line of duty, so the connection between soldierOfFortune and her dad made sense... if that's not the case then I'd be really confused later when I found out he'd faked his death in a skiing accident or something.

    I liked this right up until the content of the email, as well. The text from dad sounded very stilted.

    I'm also wondering why a dad with such dangerous people after him would choose to involve his child. Usually, parents wander off to protect their children from the harm following them...

    I'd read more.

  12. I would definitely keep reading!Great begining! The line about "The Captains's guest bedroom" confused me and took me out of the flow. If this was her father's bedroom then show the reader that. Though, good to put in sense of smells.

    The line "My heartbeat is too loud..." could be improved if you show the reader by using a metaphor or simile. It would also be good if you show the reader her feelings here. Also, possibly the last paragraph would be more brief because Dad is probably worried about the wrong person reading it and in a hurry. Perhaps, he writes it in a code? Also, it would be more realistic if Dad just came out and said, They will kill me. Make this paragragh more immediate. Maybe something like:
    Sorry for the worry. I had no choice. They will kill me if I risk resurfacing. I need evidence against them. That's why I need you.

    I would like to keep reading!

  13. Mmmm, I'm not sold on the set up here. Why does she think the email is from her dad before she opens it, if she thinks her dad is dead? And why would her dad involve her if he's on the run from people who want him dead?