Monday, March 26, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #14

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense
Word Count: 90,000 words


Fire-fighter Jo Woods’ life stopped the day her husband and daughter died. Discovering they were murdered just kick-started it again.  

Jo believes an arsonist is at work in the small town of Mourne Lough, targeting families with young children. Her superiors don't share her conviction and order her to stop investigating. She intends to, until she finds the roses. 

Jo first saw the roses the night her family died. Now another family is dead, murdered, and this time she is determined to prove it. However, after seven years of avoiding family and friends, Jo is alone and friendless in an unfamiliar town where no one is exactly what they seem. Then the threatening phone calls begin. 

When Jo’s flat is set on fire and she almost dies in an explosion at work, there can be no doubt someone is trying to kill her. To expose the killer, Jo must discover who, or more importantly, who not to trust, because the killer is a lot closer to home than she realises. 

First 250:

Death approached, not with a scream, but a whimper, as six-year-old Lucy Hamilton’s thumb slipped from her mouth. She sat up in bed and peered into the darkness, wondering what had awakened her. 

Outside, the wind whistled and screamed, and she shivered as the branches of the old oak tree tapped against her window, like brittle knuckles rapping for entry.  She reached for her Barbie, but found the bed empty.

Taking a deep breath, Lucy slipped out of bed, legs trembling beneath her bright pink nightdress. Determined not to cry, she held tight to the mattress with one hand while the other groped shadows until her fingers found the smooth curve of a plastic leg. With a relieved sigh, she clasped the doll to her chest and clambered back into bed.

A loud thump came from the direction of her parent’s room and Lucy froze. She heard a cry, quickly muffled, then a thud, as if something heavy had fallen. She waited, but the sound wasn’t repeated.  ‘It’s okay, Barbie,’ she said, arm tightening around the doll, ‘there’s nothing to be afraid of.’ She dipped her head, nuzzling its fine blonde hair. The wind eased, silence descending once more over the house. Safe and warm in her bed, with Barbie to keep her company, Lucy was lulled by its gentle whisper. Her eyelids drooped.

‘Little bird?’

Lucy bolted upright. ‘Who’s there?’ she asked.

Her answer was a laugh. A laugh so cracked her skin shrank in protest, shrivelling until it felt much too tight for her bones. 


  1. I do like mysteries, and I thought your opening page read well. But I'm not a fan of targeting small children in crime fiction, so I'm not going to request pages on this one.

  2. Not usually a fan of bad things happening to (fictional or real) small children, either--but I like this enough to make an exception. Would love to see more.

    Please send query, synopsis and full to Esubmissions (at) SarahJaneFreymann (dot) com.

  3. I really enjoyed the writing of your excerpt. I'm very intrigued by your plot and would love to see more. Could you send me the first 50 pages to: submissions (at) abliterary (dot) com? Thanks!