Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #24

TITLE: The Wrath of Con
GENRE: Adult - Urban Fantasy, Crime, Humor

As kidnappings went, Josh Harlan thought he could do a lot worse than the trunk of an Audi. For one thing, it was spacious. Just enough room to bang your elbows any time you struggled with the zip-ties. Also, it smelled nice—carpet cleaner, nylon and a touch of perfume. It was cool and dark, and the steady hum of the tires on asphalt created a sort of sensory-deprivation chamber. Sure, he was on his way to almost certain execution, but Josh couldn’t help but doze.

He barked his elbow as the car drifted onto the shoulder. They came to a stop. Doors slammed. Gravel crunched, and the trunk opened, searing Josh’s retinas with high-noon sun. The vast shadow of a man named Tiny loomed above.

“I swear to god I wasn’t napping,” Josh said.

The goon yanked him out and draped him over his shoulder like a rolled carpet. They were in the desert, about a mile west of the Hoover Dam. Tiny hauled him over to a pre-dug hole a plopped him on the ground. Gavin Whelan followed, working a crease out of his blazer methodically.

“Where’s the diamond, Joshua?”

“Really, Gavin? Desert execution? Here I thought you were an original-type guy.”

Whelan shrugged. “Some things are effective.”

“Right. Theatrics.”

“I asked you a question,” the Tycoon said, patiently. This was the single most irritating thing Josh had ever found in the guy’s character. Here he was, about to kill him, and still reserved as a Catholic blow job.


  1. Really fun start to this story. Not sure what "barked his shoulder" means and the genre of Urban Fantasy hasn't been revealed yet. That said, I'm hooked. Who knew kidnapping could have a lighter side (initially).

  2. I probably wouldn't read on. The voice doesn't match the situation and I'm not sure I feel comfortable with making light of this kind of situation. Just my opinion.

    1. Other than that the writing seemed strong.

  3. This was fun and I don't mind the lighter take on the kidnapping. I think UF gives a little more leeway there.

    "barked his elbow" threw me too, I can't even guess at the meaning

    '“I swear to god I wasn’t napping,” Josh said.' This is the only bit I didn't like. For me it was taking the lightheartedness too far and into sitcom territory.

  4. I agree with the above comment(S.P.). A kidnapping could be full of delicious tension, and this seemed like a missed opportunity. I was close to really liking what I was reading because the writing is sharp and strong, but the jokiness was off the mark for me, and not quite funny enough to work. It's also pretty hard to believe someone falls asleep during a kidnapping. Also, is Tycoon a title?

  5. I loved this. The humor really works for me. And I like that his reactions aren't what I'd typically expect from someone who's been kidnapped. Way to go beyond the expected. The first line especially caught my eye as I was scrolling through entries.

  6. As the above comments encapsulate: humor writing, especially concerning dark or dangerous subjects, is extremely hit or miss. But I'm very happy to say that this is a hit for me!

    Your writing is sharp and your voice strong, and that allows a lot of leeway for tone. I especially love your first line--it lets the reader know exactly what they're in for.

    My one note is that Josh himself seems a little too flippant. Your narrator can be as funny as you like, but allowing your characters to feel distress, anger, sadness or any myriad of non-funny emotions (depending on the situation) adds some weight to drives up the stakes. If I'm not worried about Josh, there's not a lot of tension on the page, and if Josh isn't acting worried, then there's nothing for it. If you give some insight into Josh's reactions apart from his witty dialogue, that could add the missing dimension.

    I'd definitely keep reading this. Thanks for the entry!

    1. Oh, you'll find out. You'll all find out. Well, maybe not. But you *might* find out. But, I josh (had to pun it, sorry). Delightful feedback from everybody! I will only say he's flippant for a reason and his motivation becomes clear as the scene continues. A million thanks Secret Agent--if that really is your name--et all! This was a blast.