Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #4

GENRE: Adult

Lamar Gallivant drifted outside a coffee shop as the Mercedes rolled up at exactly 9:45. A passenger in the sleek four-door with tinted windows and Georgia plates lobbed a disposable cell phone near the curb. When the sedan crawled out of sight, Lamar fished the prepaid burner from a pile of leaves and powered it up. A text message spelled out his next target’s address.

He hiked his baggy jeans and blew past the knot of college chumps huddled around a food truck. At East Bay Street, he zigged north alongside the Cooper River. Rainbow Row gave way to sun-bleached blah. Broken street lamps replaced copper carriage lanterns. Seersucker couture morphed into overstuffed stretchy pants.

Less than two miles from Charleston’s opulent Battery, the road forked through the dilapidated row houses and subsidized apartments of Fleet Landing. The east-side neighborhood was almost dead—close enough to call the coroner. Lamar plopped on a bench to retie his boot laces and shake off a flicker of unexpected jitters. He raked his fingers through his hair and longed for the inky darkness that’d made him invisible on his previous jobs. He knew he should bolt—call it quits. But eight grand was a lot of money and Falcon had him by the balls. He absently inspected the pickle jar in his backpack filled with homemade napalm—a blistering concoction of toilet bowl cleaner and gasoline.
The trouble with trouble…

Lamar pushed up the sleeves on his hoodie and squeezed between two houses.


  1. I'm not sure how to critique this, because there's no genre listed. So you'll definitely want to specify the genre when it comes time to query. Contemporary? Mystery Fantasy? Agents and Editors will definitely want to know :)

  2. One, I have to say this opening hooked me right away. I was along for the ride and the setting really paints a picture.
    But I was thrown for a loop with the 'blah' statement. Not that it can't be voice and it just could be a 'me' thing. Other than that and putting up the genre, I enjoyed this opening.

  3. This is a pretty tight beginning. I like the setting and I definitely like the surprise of napalm in a pickle jar. I think this is almost, almost there, but just needs a teeny bit of editing to really shine. You lob something 'toward' a curb, not 'near' it, especially, since this is an intentional lobbing.

    Mostly, I'd say to add more specificity. If you're going to say 9:45, then say am or pm, so that the reader isn't guessing for a few lines. I'm not convinced that the word 'drifted' is the perfect choice here. There might be a better verb to describe pensive waiting.

    Mention the city before mentioning the streets - again, to save the reader guessing. I get seersucker couture, but I'm not sure what overstuffed stretchy pants implies, since it can mean both a middle class suburban neighborhood, or a poor neighborhood (stretchy pants are comfortable to everyone :-)).

    If you're going to describe him raking his hands through his hair, then describe his hair - is it short or long, color, texture, just to begin building a mental image of him.

    But other than those, really very minor things, the story is very intriguing.

    Good luck with it!

  4. I'm guessing this is a suspense? Maybe a mob suspense?

    I'm not sure this starts in the right place as I don't know anything about the character except that the MC has balls and feels he needs to use a pickle jar full of homemade napalm in order to keep those balls. I'm sure that's an expression, and I have no idea what his stakes are.

    I'd love to get a better sense of this character so that I can invest in him prior to this scene.

    Thank you so much for sharing!