Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #40

TITLE: The Return of the Mirage
GENRE: YA Mystery

I was in Boston when I saw my older brother Pete for the first time in a year. Only here’s the thing: Pete…is dead.

No, this isn’t an episode of some ghost hunter TV show. And I am so not dreaming. The growl of powerful motors, the gleaming car haulers weaving through the motel parking lot, the warm breeze whipping exhaust fumes in my face all tell me this is realer than real.

I stand on my toes, straining for a glimpse of the New England Speedway, the site of my first ever Junior Circuit race this weekend. All I see is an endless stream of traffic snaking down the frontage road.

“Hey, Jessica Briggs! You want to sightsee, go take a walk on the Freedom Trail!”

I whirl, ready with a smart ass comeback. The words never come, because I recognize Danny Schaeffer. Nice to see a familiar face, especially another rookie my age.

“How come you’re here?” I shoot back, grinning. Danny and I’ve been friends—and competitors—since we were ten, when we got brand new dirt bikes for Christmas and Danny made the mistake of saying, “Race you.”

That race, down the winter-hardened dirt road behind our house in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was the first of many between me and Danny. Six years later, we still argue over who’s won the most. I’m betting it’s about even. One thing hasn’t changed: we both love going as fast as we can on anything with wheels and a motor.


  1. I am a little confused with the beginning of this one. I was drawn in by the death of the brother but then it isn't really discussed more. THen I thought they were racing cars but now see it is dirt bikes. I would venture to guess it all gets sorted out quickly after this but there was some confusion on where this story was taking me.

  2. A feisty MC who likes to race, a ghost, and a friend/competitor---yes, I'd read on to find out more about her dead brother, even though I'm not a race fan.
    I liked "realer than real" and the voice of the MC.

    I wonder about the title: Is the mirage the name of a racecar ,or the sighting of her brother, or both, maybe?

  3. The voice here is great. There's some fun potential between Jessica and Danny--rivals are always great fun to read about--but...

    I'm wondering about Pete. It feels like the first two sentences are more of a preview of things to come. I was waiting for more to be revealed about Pete, and instead we've got this nice, snarky exchange between Danny and Jessica. I like both, but these two bits of info--dead brother and impending race--are competing with each other. I'm wondering if the lead about Pete could be scaled back. Lead us with a little mystery. Let us know something is coming without stating outright exactly what it is.

    I could be wrong here, though--Pete might be in the very next paragraph! I like the dynamic between Jessica and Danny enough that I'd keep reading to see how the race goes. I'm not clear on Pete, so I have reservations there. Definitely curious what the deeper story is here, though.

  4. I agree with the other commenters. The first two sentences draw me in, but then we get away from her dead brother and into what feels like a completely different scene. I do like, however, the idea of a female dirt bike rider, and I'm interested in her history with Danny. I want to know what's going on, but I'd like to see pretty quickly how these two intriguing elements tie together.

  5. Nice writing and interesting character.

    I'm not sure why she isn't freaking out over seeing her dead brother, though. Why is she joking around with Danny?

    I would read on for a bit to see where this is going.