Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #16

GENRE: Adult Suspense / Thriller

I never dreaded having to testify in court until today. The defendant is someone I have known since birth. To my knowledge, no one involved has any clue of the link that exists between us.

I focused on six photographs of murdered women spread out on the small desk in my Denver hotel room. Grey shades of death. Each image displayed the finality for six beautiful-in-life females, ages twenty-three to twenty-seven.

They reminded me once again why I agreed to testify in the trial of the accused thirty-six-year-old, Clay Bascomb.

In a little more than two hours, a bailiff will ask me to place my hand on a Bible and swear to tell the truth before a judge, jury and two at-stake parties. No ipse dixit. It is not my say-so. The court demands all expert opinions maintain certain requirements.

I will tell the truth.

I hope I will not regret it.

The sky had lightened enough to let me know each moment of delay threatened my string of sunrises. The sunrise this morning reminded me of the day’s importance, in addition to how much I missed my parents.

The sound of paper rattled at the door. I turned my head in time to see a single sheet come to rest on grayish-brown carpet. I figured someone slipped the receipt for my stay under the door.

I discovered otherwise when I picked up the paper and turned it over. The unsigned message read, “Dr. Warner, you are being watched.”


  1. Exciting beginning. You've got me curious what's going on.

    The flow between paragraphs could sometimes be smoother. The line about missing parents felt a bit forced.

  2. When I read this, the very first thing I wanted to know is whether the narrator is a male or a female. Although I am interested to know what happens next, I do feel like a bit more personal information about the speaker would be helpful, so I could feel concern when the creepy note shows up.

    I am not quite sure where missing the parents fits in with preparing for court. It might be an important part of the story, but it feels like it was slipped in here "just because" so it's a bit jarring to me.

    The narrator knows why s/he agreed to testify. Something about the photos of the women, but the reader is left wondering. Anyway to answer that question with a quick sentence?

    Great job, good luck!

  3. Nice job setting the mood. I agree with the above comments regarding the mention of the parents and about offering a little more info about the MC to garner empathy from the reader when the warning comes under the door.

    Careful with verb tenses in the middle, where the MC talks of things to come. Since the rest of the narration is in past tense, I think this section should use "past future" tense: "... the bailiff would ask me.." "I would tell the truth." "I hoped I would not regret it."

  4. I agree more information about the narrator would help readers and, also as mentioned, there are some issues with tense agreement. Overall, this has the makings of something interesting. Lots of luck.

  5. This has me very curious about the connection between the six women, Clay Bascomb, and the MC. I especially want to know how an expert witness managed to keep hidden the fact that (he's) known the defendant since birth, and how (he) rationalizes he can testify without bias - or how he will handle the consequences telling the truth will bring.

    Good job planting the seeds of suspense!

  6. Perhaps start with parg 2. The first parg is explaining your story. Don't explain your stlry. Show it happen. Once you do that in oarg 2, it starts to move.

    I'd also suggest cutting parg 7. It just seems in the way.

    There are lots of tense shifts here, so decide which one you want to write in, and stick to it.

    Overall, it works. Just needs a bit of clean-up.

  7. Oh I liked this! So much suspense in here and made me so curious, especially with that ending. The only thing that caught my eye is that I would find a way to incorporate whether or not Dr. Warner is a man or woman. This was really good and thanks for entering!

  8. This was very tight and solid. I thought at first the narrator was a random witness, but the fact that she's an expert witness makes her very interesting. I thought a few lines felt maybe a little too crafted. For example: "the accused thirty-six-year-old, Clay Bascomb" and "No one involved has any clue of the link that exists between us." Those lines sounded less like a person would think and more like an author who's trying to make sure we get the info would write.

    It was still a very strong opening, though, and I'm intrigued by the final line. If I saw this in a bookstore, I would probably read on.

    Nice work!