Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #29


He must have watched me from a safe distance, like a crocodile observing its prey, his eyes hovering just above the dark, silver tinted water.

I was the perfect victim, oblivious and distracted by the promise of an awesome summer. It was January, the first night of our two week, annual, family holiday at Bob's Bay; a secluded spot on the southwest coast of Australia that is so remote there is no electricity or running water.

My sister, Lauren, and I had snuck out for a midnight swim, our first-night ritual. We were messing around in the water like a pair of hyper dolphins, laughing and splashing, anticipating the next day where we'd planned on visiting a couple of kids our age from the other shacks further up the coast.

I can still remember the last words my sister and I shared.

'Can't believe you're seventeen next week,' said Lauren. She flicked her long, wet hair in my direction and it landed over her shoulder like a golden rope. 'One more year and you're legal like me. We can go clubbing and stuff.'

'I know,' I said, hesitantly, and she laughed so I tacked on a 'Yay!' and pumped a feeble fist into the air.

'Ha! You're such a grandma, Randy,' she said, splashing me. 'You must be the only teenager alive who'd rather stick their nose in a book than go out.'

I shrugged and averted my eyes.


  1. I like it. Perfectly innocent encounter that you add the illusive 'last words' right smack in the middle, letting us know something is going to go terribly wrong. I want to read more!

  2. I really want to know what's watching her. All through reading it I felt like it was a crocodile and I was reminded of Jaws but you said it wasn't, that's just the picture I got in my head. I really like the way you've set things up. I'm most definaly hooked!

  3. Yes, yes. Definitely hooked. Please let us know when you are published so I can find out what the heck happens. :-)

    I don't really have any criticism except that you may want to reconsider your title. IMO, there are too many books and movies with "Taken" as the title.

  4. I'm hooked. I love the description, the interaction between the sisters, and I'm very curious to know who or what is watching her. I agree with Sarah about the title though, it feels overused. Other than that this works well and I'd keep reading.

  5. I thought the beginning was stronger than the ending. It had an air of danger and menace and definitely pulled me in.

    But once you started telling the story, that seemed to disappear. Perhaps consider having that section (Can't believe your turning 17 - onward) set in real time. Tell it as it happens, rather than as secondhand info after the fact. It could add more immediacy.

    Not hooked, but I'd still read on.

  6. I like it, the opening does a great job building tension as to what's going to happen and makes you want to keep reading to find out.

    So, hooked.

    The only small thing is the first paragraph throws me off a bit, because I think it gives to much description about something she wouldn't know as she didn't see him watching her.

    Well done. Good luck.

  7. Exciting!

    What do you think of beginning with paragraph 2, taking out "oblivious and distracted by the promise of an awesome summer?"

    Like the title!


  8. The villain sounds creepy. The comparison with a croc was great.

    The bit about being the only teen who reads struck me as a bit cliche, whereas I loved the other half of the line, "You're such a grandma."

    Over all, the sense of danger was good, and I connected with her enough to worry for her.

  9. Suspenseful. Likeable characters.You might try to pare this down just a bit more. For example, do you need remote and secluded and no electricity? Or do you need hyper dolphins and laughing and splashing? In either case, one of those would do. But overall, I'd read more. Nice job.

  10. I think I might be in the minority here, but I wasn't hooked right away on this one. The writing is solid and easy to read, which is good, but there was a lot of telling, and the dialogue felt stilted to me. I just wasn't feeling it on this one. Sorry!

  11. I'm all about mysteries and suspense so the first line had me interested, but then the suspense is halted by all the dialogue between the sisters. Maybe keep only the dialogue between the sisters and lose all the description in between the quotes. It will help keep the suspense high.

    I also think 'girl with nose stuck in a book is a bit cliche'.

    Sounds really interesting though.

  12. The first sentence is great. I was hooked at once. The rest of the opening was a little weaker, perhaps because you go into explanations rather than a description of an attack, which I'm guessing will follow. But still, I would read on.

  13. I really liked the imagery in the first sentence, very creepy.

    I did feel a little confused by the past tense in the paragraph about the words she and her sister shared. I thought for a moment you were talking about something that happened before they jumped into the water and before they were being watched. And I didn't have a clear picture of the main character being IN the water. Is she on the bank? The part where she shrugs suggested that she's not in the water - can you shrug while paddling water?

    Otherwise, I would read more because I want to know who or what is watching her.