Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #15

TITLE: The Jewel Thieves
GENRE: YA Contemporary

My brother Raj put his espresso down with a sharp click against the saucer. “Remind me why we’re in Italy, Sasha?” He shot me his evil grin. Then he stole my biscotti.

I kicked Raj’s ankle with the pointed toe of my high-heeled shoe. We were at a café in Rome, next to the colossal Bank of Italy, and not far from the city’s largest university. A row of palm trees hid our table from the bank’s security cameras. Drivers raced through the cobblestone streets, filling the air with echoes of blaring car horns. While Raj had been watching the bank, I’d been subtly checking out a supercute college guy at the next table. Adorable Scottish accent. Lovely golden-red hair. A smile to die for and dimples.

But unfortunately, supercute college guys were not the reason Raj and I happened to be in Italy.

“The limo’s here,” Raj whispered in French. All traces of humor vanished from his face.

From beneath my eyelashes I watched a black limousine cruise towards the no-parking zone in front of the bank and stop. Moments later a woman with silver-grey hair emerged from the back. The diamonds around her neck caught the sunlight and sparkled.

“That’s Isabella D’Agnelli,” someone whispered.

A waitress took a picture with her phone.

“She’s still so beautiful,” I said. I’d seen all Signora D'Agnelli’s movies a million times.

Raj fixed his dark eyes on me.

“What?” I put my sunglasses on. “I’m completely detached.”


  1. The end of this has me hooked, but I don't think the beginning is as strong as it could be. Only after re-reading this did Raj's first comment really make sense to me, and his switch from being so joking to so serious was kind of jolting. Maybe introduce the cute guy Sasha's staring at before Raj speaks. You also do a great job of painting the scene and what I assume is a rather normal Rome day before the limo pulls up.

    And a nit-picky thing — "From beneath my eyelashes" stuck out to me as a little awkward, because aren't we always looking from beneath our eyelashes? If it's that she's squinting, maybe just say that.

    Good luck!

  2. Strong sense of setting and good pace. Agree, Raj could say something a little more intriguing or start with the cute guy as the previous poster suggested.

  3. I love the setting. The only suggestions I can only think of are line edits, like combining the evil grin and biscotti sentences. I also don't think you need "echoes of". The "someone whispered" felt strange to me - I think because I thought the person was whispering to them, but it was really just overheard, right? Maybe you could make that clear. Love the last three paragraphs. Best of luck on this!

  4. I like Raj's opening move towards his sister. Anything with an evil grin and the stealing of someone else's food always makes me smile. I'm intrigued with the overall concept.
    I do agree with the "beneath my eyelashes" comment. A bit awkward. Everyone else is snapping photos of the famous movie star so it wouldn't be out of place for the MC to glance at the limo. Just a thought! Great star overall. Break a leg!

  5. I love this! Great setting, intriguing characters, nice build up to some action. Great job! I would keep reading for sure!! Good luck.

  6. The second paragraph feels a bit forced with the descriptions. Maybe you could weave them in or rephrase in a more organic way, rather than matter of fact like you’re trying to give us the setting. There’s great voice and humor shining through here from your MC. It’s giving me a bit of an Ally Carter-vibe with a blend of humor and heists. It would be nice if we could get some humor or snark right from the opening line to really grab us.