Friday, November 28, 2014

(23) Adult Thriller/mystery: TIMBER POINT

GENRE: Adult Thriller/mystery

Cat burglar Shawny Daniels’ latest break-in leads her to a serial killer’s lair. She inadvertently steals his trophy box. He wants it back and hunts her down, but she can’t find it. Now she’s juggling evading a madman and not losing her own heart to the case’s lead detective. Unless she coughs up the box, she’ll be the killer’s prey. If she does, more will die and she’ll lose the only man she’s ever loved.

I eyed the perfect house, a two-story contemporary in an upscale neighborhood in Revere, Massachusetts. Cased it night after night to learn the occupant's schedule. Shattered a street light out front with a rock to cloak me in darkness, and then returned tonight for the heist. I left nothing to chance.

Learning the target's habits is essential in good prowling. The last thing I need is an unannounced arrival or a half-asleep homeowner surprising me in the dark. I get in and get out. That's my specialty. Simple. Smooth. Stealth. Homeowner's insurance covers the stolen goods anyway. It's a victimless crime. And the only way I know to survive.

I waited for just the right moment to strike. The ideal opportunity when the neighbors' homes blackened and all movement stopped inside the target property. To me, it's like a dance. The music starts slow as the first house-light extinguishes, enhances as the second home darkens, and then elevates into a vibrant symphony once the last glimmer vanishes from sight.

This contemporary house, fronted with glass and stucco and a stone-columned carport on the left side, had no swing-set or signs of children in the home.

A perfect mark.

My favorite feature: the catwalk, made from the same wood as the house with chest-high railings that began at the front gate, traveled over a rocked stream-- a manicured lawn on either side-- and continued straightly to the front door. The baluster rods reminded me of hundreds of nutcrackers standing at attention.


  1. I see a lot of potential in the story based on this part. I did get the feeling that the order of things was a bit off in that the writer goes from what is important in his job to actually getting ready to "strike" and then goes back to describing what the ideal situation would be or something to that effect. Then again, perhaps I am just interpreting it wrong. Good luck, good writing at any rate.

  2. After reading the log line, I was expecting a quick jump into the action. A cat burglar. A serial killer. Oh my gosh, get me into that house right away!

    I agree with the previous commenter that the order seems a little skewed. We're in the moment, then we go back to review what makes this house a target. What made me curious was why this house--besides the outside being so burglar-friendly, what made her think the interior would have anything worth stealing?

    I think the writing is quite good, and the premise is excellent. Made me want more, much more.


  3. This isn't a genre I usually read, but I could see myself getting pulled in by the writing. I like the voice. And great details, like the "victimless crime" comment that gives insight into her character, and the great visual of "nutcrackers standing at attention". Well done! Good luck with this story. :)

  4. I love the premise of this! A cat burglar who winds up in a serial killer's lair? Sign me up. Now.

    I enjoyed that you gave the reader a little time to get to know the MC by her observations of the house. I liked how meticulous she is before she goes in. This way, I care about the MC before you put her in danger.

    You use such lovely imagery in your writing. I particularly loved the last sentence.

    All the best on Tuesday!

  5. I really enjoyed the first page of your work. I didn't have a problem with the jump to explain why this house was perfect for her -- instead I got the feeling she was standing there running through the list in her mind while waiting for the surrounding lights to go out.

    However, the jump to the lead detective in the log-line did bother me. Aside from the seeming non-sequitor, I don't understand why the cops would be involved -- if she took his trophy box, why would he call them?

    The first page would keep me reading, though. Best of luck!

  6. I can tell from your opening that this is going to be a fast-paced story and a quick read. At the same time, I love learning about new things--like how to evaluate a home and decide whether it's a good target. I can't wait to read this book and find out what happens when she breaks in!

  7. Instantly grabs and draws you in. There's a promise of action to come with very little time wasted on exposition. Hook. Line. Sinker.

  8. I was immediately pulled into this story. The protagonist being a cat burglar intrigued me. The stakes are high and if the book is anything like the brief synopsis, the writing is very competent.

  9. I really like your voice. You have a strong idea of who your protagonist is and what her motivations are. You can tell she is a good, strong character. This already jumps you ahead in line. Congratulations!

    That said, get the lights turned out around her and get Shawny into the house. Once she's there, you can tell me that she knows the occupant's habits, that they won't be home anytime soon.

    You have one echo to remove, the word contemporary.

    I am conflicted about one thing. I had a highly reputable editor pass along to me that I, who is not yet published, should not use sentence fragments, not even for effect. The point is that editors and agents dislike it and that it could prevent me from moving forward with them. Honestly, I don't know about this. I like the way you used "Cased it night after night to learn the occupant's schedule." (I wouldn't mind seeing a comment thread about this.) Something to think about.

    Good luck in the auction!

  10. Great voice here!

    Loved the dance analogy - really brought the character and the way she operates to life for me.

    I thought the lines "This contemporary..." and "A perfect mark." broke up the flow and were a bit repetative.

    Good luck in the auction!

  11. Great voice, and a cat burglar with style and professionalism (a lot to love) but I think it is the excellent writing that separates this book from the rest.

  12. This opening set a great scene, making me want to follow Shawny in her quests. Great voice and loved the balance of language, just enough description. I'd definitely want to read this!

  13. This is a fantastic premise and I would love to read more! The very idea of a cat burglar accidentally stealing from a serial killer -- that's Karma.

    But I agree with Embers -- get me into the house and into the action right away.
    I wasn't sure, even after all the description, what made this house any more of a 'perfect mark' than any other home on the street.
    You tell me a lot of things about the protagonist which I would rather find out on my own through her actions -- things like her philosophy toward burglary and the techniques she likes to use. I'm invested in her already because I know who's home she's breaking into.

    Best of luck with this one!

  14. Though very well-written, I felt it taking too long to get to the meat of the action. It's very expository with all the explanation and lacks a sense of urgency.

    I do like your voice and would read on because of it. It would be fascinating to see how a cat burglar works.

    Good luck!