Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Secret Agent #28

TITLE: Bookfinders
GENRE: MG fantasy/adventure

In the inkiest, most hair-tingling hour of the night, Jasmin Punk crept towards the house and whipped her dagger from its sheath on her calf. She settled her feet in the flowerbeds beneath a low sash window and see-sawed her blade between the sill and the frame. Her nose twitched in satisfaction as the lock shifted with the faintest of clicks.

Jasmin dropped the knife and left it there, its handle sticking up like a cross in the soil, while she probed the bottom of the frame. Her fingers found purchase and she slid the window up. There was a nasty whine as the old wood shifted. She stole a look over one shoulder but nothing moved in the shadows. The real threat was inside. With the ease of long practice, Jasmin pushed on her hands and hoisted herself up. She hooked one leg over the window ledge and slid in through the narrow gap.

Inside were the books: shelves, piles, towers of books everywhere, rising up like giant poplar trees. They grazed the high ceiling in places, stacked so close together that even a slim girl like Jasmin Punk had to turn sideways at points and take care walking between the shelves and tall ladders, so as not to send the whole thing crashing like dominoes. That had nearly happened last time, but there would be no mistakes tonight. There was something here that she wanted. But also something she had to check on first.

Or rather someone.


  1. Very professional. For having three solid paragraphs of description you didn't lose me once. The whole thing has just the right amount of creeps and atmosphere and purpose. And what a great protag name! Well done.

  2. The captivating title drew me in first, and then I was wowed. The style flows smoothly, the descriptions jump off the page, and the main character breathes life in just a few words. Excellent job. If this was on the shelf in a bookstore, I would buy it.

  3. I agree with what Elizabeth said. You did not lose me for a second, even with all that description. Tis is definitely something I'd read more of, if for no other reason than the name of your main character:)

  4. Maybe it's because I always liked sneaking around, but this definitely grabbed me. I like that she's the breaker-inner and she's after something.

    Nicely done overall. The only hitches I found were the last paragraph:
    "There was something here she wanted" didn't seem necessary this soon. We know she wants something otherwise she wouldn't be sneaking around. Also, the next sentence didn't quite sit right for me yet. For such suspense I feel those last three sentences have to be perfect.
    Great job.

  5. Great descriptions - drew me right in.

    Only nit-pick - the last three lines. Don't TELL me she wants something or that she has to check on something or someone - SHOW me.

  6. I agree with all of the above, including Mark re: "There was something here she wanted." This is really so well written though, every nuance deftly said, every motion slickly described. Really nice writing, good tension and great feel. Excellent stuff!

  7. Very well written. I would read on.

  8. Yes! Liked this one quite a bit. And your opening description of the night is absolutely lovely. Read on!

  9. Love this. I was so there! Just two comments: “Even a slim girl like Jasmin Punk” takes us out of the MC’s POV. Maybe “Skinny as she was, she had to…” And ditto to the comments on the last lines. They have to really punch. Other than that, well done!

  10. The action in this opening is good, but it feels a bit overwritten. Try breaking up your sentences, especially early on. For example, you could turn your first sentence into two:

    "It was the inkiest, most hair-tingling hour of the night. Jasmin Punk crept towards the house and whipped her dagger from its sheath on her calf."

    These subtle changes will help the text flow more freely, especially when you're first drawing the reader into the story.

    Otherwise, though, well done. Compelling first look at Jasmin, and we've seen just enough of her surroundings to want to know more.