Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #5

GENRE: Adult Suspense

Weeds of guilt thrived in Neil Caldera’s heart from the day he killed her. Another Saturday evening visit to the bar and grill in Madison, Georgia, brought no relief. The rattle of ice in glasses, clinks of bottles and endless chatter equaled a similar place he frequented when he lived in New York City. One more reminder of the killer this former detective pursued and the young woman killed by a bullet from his weapon. That was the last time Neil confronted anyone for criminal behavior.

Neil leaned on his left forearm and picked at the mahi-mahi. He set the fork aside, rubbed his face. He propped on his elbows and peered between his fingers. Every face expressed some semblance of enjoyment except two—his and the man wearing his shirt tail outside his jeans at the front door. The man crossed the dining room front-to-back. He moseyed by Neil at an angle. A bulge showed beneath the indigo shirt at the left hip. An odor of cigarettes trailed him.

A second twentyish male in a black hoodie sauntered in and propped on the corner of the bar. The newcomer faced the front windows.

The forty-year-old waitress strode to the table at Neil’s head tilt.

“Ready for dessert?”

He rose to his feet. “Trip the silent alarm and act normal,” he whispered. “Will you do that for me?”


“Call nine-one-one to confirm the alarm when you get to the kitchen.”


  1. Ok... so I am intrigued to know why the silent alarm and what happens. My two suggestions would be maybe try to condense the beginning information a little to get to this faster. And also, maybe give us a thought from him when he see’s the men to add to the suspension. Does he recognize them, or are they eyeing him with intent? Give us an idea why he tells the waitress to pull the alarm. What is her reaction? She’s just going to do it because a customer tells her to? Other than that, I’m intrigued. Good luck!

  2. GREAT 1st line. I got character and conflict right away. And it is quickly followed by complication. I like that his detective skills are still on. Though I doubt he knows the waitress' age that well :) Or needs to? There is a lot happening with hands and arms and other body parts in paragraph 2. But really very clean. Good luck!

  3. The first sentence wasn't clear to me. On first read, it seems he killed a woman. But as I read further, 'he' could be a different man he is thinking about. Perhaps make the real situation clearer.

    The first 3 sentences in parg 2 could be reduced to 'He glanced around the restaurant.'

    And I also thought the waitress would question him a bit more before agreeing to pull the alarm. For all she knows, he could be the nut job.

  4. I adore this passage! Way to go, leaving me on a cliffhanger. I can imagine a Humphrey Bogart type character as Neil.
    My only advice is with the line: The forty-year-old waitress strode to the table at Neil’s head tilt.
    Make sure this comes at me with the cause first than the effect. Neil must tilt his head first.
    Good luck!

  5. Ooo. "Weeds of guilt..." I love that!

    Begins retrospectively, though. This doesn't bother me much, but I've learned it's a pet peeve of many others, so it's probably something we'd want to change right off the bat.

    I like the description of the setting here, as well. I can hear the atmosphere of the book beginning to settling in around me, so I'm immediately brought in to this one. I'm not sure the plot is seeming exceptionally unique for me, but at the same time, I'm interested enough to keep reading.

    The second paragraph has a bit too much of a sense of "play by play" for my tastes, but I wouldn't stop reading for this, as it sometimes goes away after the writer "settles in" to the Work.

    Hmm... I liked the opening line, and I was curious where it was going, but as it changes to an assumed hold up, I'm actually less interested rather than more. For me, since the expectation being set up was the death of the woman and his character arc as a result, but now there is a random hold up happening. I would rather it either start there or start with the woman, but not both.

    Things I liked:
    • first line shows potential of writer
    • pulls the reader in quickly

    • profiling
    • character seems too reactive, and we aren't yet close enough to him to trust his judgment