Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #23

Genre:  YA thriller
Word Count:  76,000


Convicted murderer Naomi Williams expects a transfer to an adult prison for her eighteenth birthday.  Instead she gets a job offer.  The US government wants her to join a secret offshoot of the FBI and help bring down a domestic terrorist cell called the Renegades.  They’re only interested because Naomi intentionally killed the teenage son of a prominent Renegade leader.  Too bad the terrorists know it too, and their desire for revenge means she’s in no position to turn the FBI down.           

During her first assignment Naomi meets James, a gang member with an unclear agenda.  When he discovers who she works for and who she hunts, Naomi almost turns him in to her employers so he doesn’t reveal her secrets.  After his interference on a later assignment saves her life, she isn’t sure what to think.  He insists he won’t betray her, but Naomi knows the government would view him as a threat.  With the Renegades poised to attack, she must decide who, if anyone, to trust.  And this time, the wrong choice could get her killed.                                            

First 250: 

The clank of her cell door opening startled Naomi upright.  “Williams, you have a visitor,” the guard said.

Naomi stared blankly at her, legs dangling off the edge of her bunk.  “What?”

“You have a visitor,” the guard repeated.  “There’s a man here to see you.”

“But it’s not my parents’ day to visit, and my dad—”

“You.  Have.  A.  Visitor.”  By now there was no masking the irritation in her voice.  “Get your ass up and come with me.”

Picking herself up off the bed, Naomi attempted to straighten her wrinkled uniform before her hands were cuffed.  It was September 4th, 2025, according to the small calendar she used to count down the days left on her sentence.  The guard held her by an elbow as she escorted Naomi through a maze of hallways to the small visiting area at the front of the facility.

The room was about half full with girls and their families or friends.  They talked in low voices, their volume occasionally flaring up on a shout or a curse.  Laughter was all but unheard of here.

It took Naomi two seconds to identify the man who’d come to see her.  He sat by himself at a table in the farthest corner of the room.  His posture was perfect, better than hers, even though her mother had been telling her to sit up straight for years.  As the guard led her up to the table she noticed his expensive-looking suit and his neat, close-cropped hair.

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