Monday, May 16, 2016

Are You Hooked? Adult Genre Fiction #13

TITLE: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
GENRE: Adult - Mystery

Trying to cope with the stress of mothering twins and her mystery author husband’s writer’s block, Alicia McKinney agrees to take a second honeymoon in New York City during the holidays unaware that one of the Cobble Cove residents is planning to kidnap her children while she’s away.

Alicia McKinney sat behind the reference desk at the Cobble Cove Library trying to keep her eyes open. It had been another long night up with the twins. John had helped, but he was having his own problems right now trying to overcome a writer’s block. Their publisher was demanding a draft of their next mystery, and neither of them had the energy to string a complete sentence together let alone write a whole new book. Alicia acknowledged parenthood was harder than expected especially when you were in your forties. However, she wouldn’t want it any other way. Her son and daughter arrived a year and a half after the tragedy that perversely brought a school, additional shops, and new people to the small, upstate New York town.

Sheila walked through the glass library doors. She brushed snow off her imitation fur coat and tossed back her red hair to expel a few flakes. Stomping her knee-length high-heel boots on the holiday mat by the entrance, she said, “It’s snowing out, Alicia. What are you doing here? Where’s Jean?”

“Hi, Sheila. Jean called in sick with a stomach virus. I hear it’s going around. She may have caught it from her son. A few of the kids have been absent at school.” Jean Maxwell was a part-time librarian they’d hired while Alicia was out on maternity leave. She was a single mom of eight-year old Jeremy who attended the Fairmont Elementary School next door that opened two years ago.


  1. You write well, but it feels like you're getting warmed up to tell us the story. Not having read the rest of it, I could be wrong, but that's the sense I'm getting from this first page. Because your writing is strong, I suspect that once the story starts it'll be a good one.

  2. The premise appears promising, but opening falls short/slows for me. Is she a co-author with the husband? Tag says husband is the writer, but para 1 says publisher was awaiting "their" draft. Also, the mention of "the tragedy" seems like backstory in the opening.

  3. Based on your blurb, I'm interested in reading more.
    The opening could do with some zing, maybe a hint of foreboding. An omen that things will get worse. Overall its nice, but maybe if I read a little more I'd be hooked.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Gee Wiz. The mention of "the tragedy" is actually backstory from the first novel (this is a sequel to an already published first book, possibly 2nd of series). Are you saying the backstory should be introduced later in the book?

    1. Super congrats on a successful novel!! I once had a class with Donald Maass (agent extraordinaire) who said no backstory in the first 50 pages. You will know best what works for you story and your series, but it was a hangup here. If it's necessary, perhaps you could come at it from a different direction. Good luck and continued success!

  5. I like the logline which leaves me wondering why anyone would want to kidnap her children. I was even more intrigued when I read on and found that Alicia is a librarian, and appears to co-write with her husband.

    I was able to connect with Alicia in the first paragraph, but agree with others that there's perhaps too much backstory here. If it's a sequel, I won't need to be reminded at the beginning about past events as I'd want to know what had changed since the previous story closed.

    I also agree that there should be a hint of foreboding.