Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #3

TITLE: Ruin of Souls
GENRE: Adult Thriller- Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Beautiful Dreamer, wake unto me.

Everyone with narcolepsy can feel the Shadow and the Shadow can feel each and every one of us. So, I kept my head on a nervous pivot, watching every angle and blind corner of the cemetery. I’d slipped into the hypnogogic state, the stage between waking and sleeping, three minutes ago and the clock was ticking.

“Something’s touching me!” My voice rang hollow against the headstones. The hot, spongy breath of the graveyard hung above our heads like a sodden blanket. Its misty tendrils reached for our necks like ethereal nooses.

“Mel, you have a six-foot perimeter. Nothing is touching you,” Josh assured me, but I pointed to my foot and his sharp, gray eyes dropped to the cable slithering across my sandal.

“Son of a b****! Matt!” Josh’s voice grated across my nerve endings. Ordinarily, I liked the low rocky tumble of testosterone in his voice. It matched his muscle-corded arms and his wide-shouldered frame, but tonight it pulled at my peace of mind. We were all on edge. Something was wrong with the cemetery.

Matt dropped the cable he had been dragging across my foot and I kicked it away without looking at it. I could already hear it hissing to life. The cool rubber had warmed to soft serpent skin. I knew it hadn’t transformed into a real snake, but the hallucination triggered the same razor slice of adrenalin. All four members of the Ghost Towne Investigations team knew not to touch me.


  1. I like that it’s in a cemetery. I think it’s at night but not sure it says so.
    I’m a little confused by the shadows and slipping into another state in the first paragraph. I think that could use a little more explanation. And I’m not sure what is going on with the cable. At first I thought it was a real snake, but she says it’s not. Is Matt playing a trick on her?
    Other than that, I definitely get a spooky, hold-your-breath feel. It just needs a little clarity in the action/visual. Good luck!

  2. This opens nicely and creates an eerie tone, but then it quickly goes 'ordinary.' When she feels something touching her, it seems she knows it's a cable. If you wrote it so she doesn't know that, and show her as being frightened and imagining the worst, and she freaks out a bit until she's told it's just a cable, you'll create a lot more tension and suspense. As you go on, don't tell us something is wrong with the cemetery, show it. Make the reader feel it.

  3. While I'm not a fan of this one opening with a song lyric, my reaction to the first full paragraph shortly thereafter was one of "Ooo. I like the way this one is opening." The "So" pulled me out of it, though, almost just as quickly; I'd suggest deleting "So," from that second line. I'm also not entirely certain I'm understanding where (mentally) the character is at. Is she fully aware, but somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness?

    As I'm reading, I find myself enjoying the writing style and language used by the writer, but I'm not being pulled into the story or the characters themselves. I understand this is a romance, but since the main character and I are still strangers and I don't feel brought into his or her story yet, the added description and what seems to me as obvious attraction to Josh by the main character seems too soon. The latter might be personal taste, but the lack of connection the main character is objective enough that I think it should be addressed. What I'd love to see is the book start with the first sentence of the first full paragraph, followed by the third and fourth sentences of the second main paragraph, and then organically grow out from there to introduce us to our main character. Does she have narcolepsy, then? Do they all? Is that what qualifies them to be ghost hunters? Are they all half awake and half asleep? Who is this character and why do we care about him or her? Maybe start again after ruminating on the question of why is *this* our main character, and our window into the story, over someone else's perspective?

    I like lyrical writing, and there are a couple of spots in here that I truly enjoyed, but if I judge the storyline as a whole, focused on the beginnings of a plot and character arc, nothing is happening that feels unique enough that I'd want to keep reading. I am intrigued by the narcolepsy connection, though, so long as it's treated with sensitivity, since this is a real thing people have, not a fiction character trope.

    Things I liked:
    • writing style
    • potential evident

    • potential feels unrealized
    • starting a paranormal in a cemetery feels unoriginal and character too distant for me to overcome that doubt