Thursday, August 7, 2014

Are You Hooked? #9

TITLE: Rerun
GENRE: Suspense

Not everyone gets to remember their own death. I don’t think you should. It’s painful to remember being murdered. Agonizing, excruciating, unbearable. Unthinkable.

A man I used to love, who clearly still loved me even after I left him, was desperate to — teach me a lesson, I suppose. I understand what made him do it, but that doesn’t mean I forgive him and it doesn’t mean I want to remember it.

Nothing makes sense out of context, I have to go back to the beginning. Changing your mind sometimes leads to unforeseen consequences.

I met Seth and Jason at the same time really, but I think of it as meeting Seth first. I was sitting in a café in New York, trying to recover from a morning of shopping before meeting my agent. My daughter, Rachel, pointed him out.

“Mom, look, over there. Seth Slate and Jason Austin.”

I glanced up briefly from my laptop, annoyed at being interrupted while writing the climatic revelation of my latest mystery novel. I tried not to take it out on Rachel, she was bored and couldn’t help it that I was too busy to entertain her. Of course adult children shouldn’t need their mothers to keep them entertained.

“Don’t stare,” I told her and tried to pick up the threads of the thoughts I had. Something about bloody fingerprints being reversed. I was nitpicking a Doyle story, almost, although I doubted anyone would notice.

“But they’re reading one of your books, Mom.”


  1. A great first paragraph--I was immediately intrigued.

    I'm a tad confused, though--does the daughter know Seth and Jason, then, and the protagonist will be meeting them for the first time? Would the daughter use their last names in that context?

    Maybe a line like "I've told you about them," or something similar would clear up the confusion?
    Of course, maybe it's just me and it's clear to everyone else.

    Anyway, it's a good start, and I would read on. Nice job.

  2. The first paragraph definitely grabbed me, but I agree I was a bit confused as I read on.

    I was trying to figure out ages of the characters and I also wondered how her daughter would know Seth and Jason because I'm presuming they are more in-line with the mother's age? Or are they famous?

    I'm intrigued as to what is going on and I would read on. Good luck!

  3. What a great first paragraph! Such a good hook. The second paragraph, for me, isn't really needed. It felt too much like telling and didn't draw me in emotionally. I was also a little confused about the daughter, it might help to know that she's grown a little earlier because I imagined her as young and then found out she wasn't, which pulled me out of the story. It also seemed rude that the MC is sitting there ignoring her daughter when obviously the daughter wasn't there b/c she had to be (i.e., too young to stay alone). It added to my confusion, along with the two guys who are named. Why does the daughter know them? Does the mom. I needed more explanation about them up front.

  4. I concur with most of the comments above.

    I really like the writing and voice of the narrator. I’m totally connected with her by the end of the second paragraph.

    The premise is really engaging as well. Mystery writer get murdered.

    Though (maybe just through this site) I feel like I’m reading a lot of these “post-death account” type of stories lately.

  5. The first paragraph definitely creates strong intrigue and sets the mood. Then, like the others set, I got confused. One 2nd read through I wondered if she was writing that first part as a scene in her book. If that's the case and it were italicized and formatted with indents that might eliminate some of the confusion. The exchange with Rachel does burst the great tension you started though, as a writer, I could picture the reaction that the guys were reading her book. "SCORE!" Good luck.

  6. And I can't type today. Yikes. *others said.
    *On second read

  7. Great voice. I was hooked. Don't have anything to add to what the others said.

  8. I didn't like the opening, but that's my personal pet peeve. It's purpose is to drag me in, which would be fine if you then continued the story. But ou don't. Instead, you go into backstory, and if you're going to do that, then why not simply start with that scene? My guess is that scene isn't as hooky as that opening parg.

    I'd start at parg 4 - I met Seth and Jason etc. For me, that's where the story starts, based on what you've shown us.

    I was kind of annoyed with Mom being annoyed at her daughter. If they're spending time together voluntarily, why would she bury herself in her laptop? It's like going to dinner with a friend, who then spends all her time playing with her phone. It made me not like her too much.

    In that same parg Mom is writing a climactic revelation to her story. In the next, she's nitpicking someone else's story. Which is it?

    I got the impression Seth and Jason were famous, but I don't 'know' if they are. It would be nice to know.

    The last sentence created an odd image. I pictured these two guys sitting side by side while reading the same book.

    I probably wouldn't read more because I feel like this is going to be a story of her relationship with these guys, one of them in particular, that will eventually lead up to her death. The promise of that first parg. was of something beyond that, and whatever that is, there's no hint of that here. (Which is why I don't like that kind of an opening.) If this glance back is truly backstory and not the story itself, I'd suggest saving it for later and, instead, start in the here and now. Give us the story you promised.

  9. "A man I used to love, who clearly still loved me even after I left him, was desperate to — teach me a lesson, I suppose."

    Honestly, I would quit reading here if this was a book I picked up. It sounds as though this man killed her, yet he's characterized as still loving her, and only wanting to 'teach her a lesson.'

    If this sentence is an intentional mis-direct (and later it's revealed he didn't kill her), the mis-direct doesn't work for me, because I don't yet know the narrator or the author's voice. I just assume this book will continue to describe violence as 'love.'