Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Harlequin Cove
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Tonight on AC 360, I’ll take an in depth look at the mysterious disappearance of renowned novelist Joseph Polk.

Today marks exactly two years since the beloved American mystery writer became the subject of one of his own novels. With no family to speak of, it appears as though the only person who could possibly find the now seventy-year-old author is his own fictional super-sleuth, Avery Mack.

The man who has churned out two fast paced cracking mysteries every year for the past thirty-five years hasn’t published a book in over eighteen months. Tonight we ask the question: Is Joseph Polk dead?

The letter, on its thick, cream vellum paper with its black as night ink was calling her name.

Pearl Davis kept one eye on the road, one hand on the steering wheel, and reached for the tantalizing document sitting at the bottom of the box on the passenger seat. The source of all her anxieties. The reason she had just upped and quit her secure job. With benefits!

The penmanship of her oh so proper British father’s final words to her was unrecognizable now with its shaky scrawl.

God. What had she done? It was all too little too late. She hadn’t followed her dreams while he was still alive, so what was the point of pouncing on them now? He was cold in his grave and unable to share her monumentally, screwed up, rash decision, let alone praise her for it.


  1. I really like this!!! Just two things to point out: First, the bit at the beginning is catchy, but really reads a bit like a prologue. My inner editor is twitchy to just weave that into the story. Second, you have some bits that are a little tell-y ("What had she done? It was all too little too late."), where you could instead show emotion (like, maybe a little cliche in my example, but "her hands shook on the steering wheel, tears burning at her eyes.")
    Anyways, I love your voice, and wish you good luck!

  2. I love this. Your opening is very polished and strong that it pulled me in and made me forget I'm supposed to be critiquing. I don't have anything but praise to tell you. I guess my only suggestion would be in regards to the "with benefits" part. Either place it on its own line, or change it up to "And there go my benefits." Again, just a suggestion as it stuck out to me. Nice job!

  3. Very gripping--I'm pulled in immediately. One problem for me, however, was how the AC360 section related to the section of Pearl driving the car. It feels disjointed, confusing. Could you pull the two sections together somehow? (For example, indicate that she was thinking about the TV show she'd seen the night before, if that's the case?) Also, I agree with the tell-y comment by Kazul9. For example, instead of saying "the source of all her anxieties," show us her hand shaking or sweating as she reached for the letter. Good work.

  4. I feel like the two parts of this opening don't mesh as well as they should. Is the writing up top related to Pearls father? The sentence about the letter calling to her makes it seem like she hasn't read the letter yet, but her thoughts following it make it seem like she has, so I got a bit confused.

  5. The story here is intriguing. But as some have said, there isn't a clear enough connection between the two parts. By all means, keep the reader guessing, but give us a little bit more of a hint here! (Is her father Joseph Polk?)
    Also, read through to edit for punctuation. You're missing some hyphens (in-depth, black-as-night ink, oh-so-proper) and you want to watch your commas. Hope that isn't too nitpicky! :)
    This seems like a really promising plot. The radio part makes for a really intriguing opening. It is creative and makes the reader wonder right away.

  6. An intriguing set up, but, as previous commenters have said, you have to be more explicit about the connection between the radio show and the main character. I like that her relationship with her father still fires her actions...this conflict catalyzes the theme of finding yourself/your bliss.

  7. I think this is a fascinating concept and I like what you have here. I'm wondering, though, if we can get a better sense of the character and the mystery if we start with her looking at the letter, and have the AC360 blurbs play in her mind, snippets at a time, interchanging what she is feeling with what AC is talking about?

  8. Definitely intriguing! This could use a line edit, but, aside from that, I think what you've written is quite interesting.