Author Topic: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel  (Read 199 times)

Offline RC Cameron

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Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« on: October 18, 2018, 12:40:07 PM »
 “Ready? Go!”

These were the last words my tactical leader pronounced before a terrible explosion abruptly severed his carotid artery. I knelt alongside his twitching body, forgetting the mission. My hand on the side of his neck felt the flow of warm blood between my trembling fingers, impossible to stop. And so, my colleague died almost instantly. I lost a close person for the first time.

A week ago, in the FBI situation room, a planning session was underway. The planners selected four targets tied to a gang of criminals making and distributing controlled substances in the district. These addictive drugs were sometimes deadly for young users in city ghettos. We teamed up with the Chicago police, my former employer. The plan was to arrest the crooks and seize the production site. It was a major project, expectations were high.

The targets of our search were four individuals including the mastermind, Bruce Steiner. This fifty-four-year-old Caucasian had a long history in the drug business but avoided capture for a serious offense. He evaded the authorities by moving away. After sightings in Los Angeles, Denver, and New Jersey, he now operated an important drug ring in Chicago, my hometown. Based on our data, we should find him with ease. He wore a tattoo on his face, a tiny cat surrounded by nine small dots around his right temple, echoing the nine lives he pretended to enjoy.

We also sought a couple and a young man involved in the drug distribution activity in the city. They worked in the downtown area and the North side of Chicago. They had a long rap sheet of drug-related offenses. But Steiner was the prime target, the kingpin. The raid included his home and a shop who fronted his illicit activities in an Eastside industrial area. It looked like a regular garage but with a sizeable backroom used only by the bad guys where we believed the manufacturing operations took place
.

As part of our preparation,  we monitored all the target locations. We wanted to identify who lived in those houses, wife, girlfriends or children. They delivered signed warrants a day in advance, a textbook operation.

On that crucial day, at 4:00 AM, our attack team composed of ATF, FBI plus Chicago PD officers met for one last update and final review. Half an hour later, all armored and other police vehicles left toward the targeted sites still dark outside. They scheduled the final assault for 5:30 AM. We expected individuals to be home naked in bed having no intention of resisting arrest. They forecaster a cold morning rain for later.

Close by the garage, the words “Ready” and “Go” echoed in the morning as the sun rose on the horizon. The lead man sprinted to the side door carrying a battering ram. The tactical leader followed him, the rest of the team trailed a few feet behind. On the initial hit, the door resisted but then gave way and flew open on the second try. We were getting ready to run inside when a large explosion destroyed the entryway in a sound I had never heard. The booby trap, we discovered later, would hurt whoever entered. Shrapnel flew in all directions. Several agents fell to the ground, including myself, engulfed inside the black cloud of the explosion. When the smoke lifted, a half-dozen officials were on the ground, groaning, some motionless. I then lost consciousness.

Faceguard and body armor absorbed large chunks of the blast. Arms and legs, where limited protection existed, got the rest of the brunt. Ambulances arrived within minutes to transport the wounded to the University of Chicago trauma center. The center carries a rich reputation for excellent care. The tactical officer died on site. Standing opposite the man holding the ram, he had no chances. Four others suffered wounds of various degrees, myself included.

Other raid locations generated three more arrests. But our main target, Steiner, fled before our team arrived. The cat had lived through another episode, silently informed before the raid. The FBI will stay forever ignorant on the source of the leak.

In the hospital's emergency room, the doctor informed me I lost a lot of blood. A broken arm hung on my left side, all my bones hurt, multiple shrapnel wounds were obvious, I was a lucky man. The doctor performed much-needed repairs and then nurses transported my injured body to a private room. My wife Laura waited in the wings, walking back and forth, looking down at something invisible. She ran in my direction upon seeing the stretcher rolling down the corridor.

“Jason Tanner, don’t you dare do this again, you understand me?” she said, her voice trembling. The love of my life discovered in high school was by my side. Laura's teaching profession is safer than an FBI agent, still, with little warning, she left our world before me. 
  



Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2018, 03:08:42 PM »
“Ready? Go!”

These were the last words my tactical leader pronounced before a terrible explosion abruptly severed his carotid artery. I knelt alongside his twitching body, forgetting the mission. My hand on the side of his neck felt the flow of warm blood between my trembling fingers, impossible to stop. And so, my colleague died almost instantly. I lost a close person for the first time.

A week ago, in the FBI situation room, a planning session was underway. The planners selected four targets tied to a gang of criminals making and distributing controlled substances in the district. These addictive drugs were sometimes deadly for young users in city ghettos. We teamed up with the Chicago police, my former employer. The plan was to arrest the crooks and seize the production site. It was a major project, expectations were high.

The targets of our search were four individuals including the mastermind, Bruce Steiner. This fifty-four-year-old Caucasian had a long history in the drug business but avoided capture for a serious offense. He evaded the authorities by moving away. After sightings in Los Angeles, Denver, and New Jersey, he now operated an important drug ring in Chicago, my hometown. Based on our data, we should find him with ease. He wore a tattoo on his face, a tiny cat surrounded by nine small dots around his right temple, echoing the nine lives he pretended to enjoy.

We also sought a couple and a young man involved in the drug distribution activity in the city. They worked in the downtown area and the North side of Chicago. They had a long rap sheet of drug-related offenses. But Steiner was the prime target, the kingpin. The raid included his home and a shop who fronted his illicit activities in an Eastside industrial area. It looked like a regular garage but with a sizeable backroom used only by the bad guys where we believed the manufacturing operations took place
.

As part of our preparation,  we monitored all the target locations. We wanted to identify who lived in those houses, wife, girlfriends or children. They delivered signed warrants a day in advance, a textbook operation.

On that crucial day, at 4:00 AM, our attack team composed of ATF, FBI plus Chicago PD officers met for one last update and final review. Half an hour later, all armored and other police vehicles left toward the targeted sites still dark outside. They scheduled the final assault for 5:30 AM. We expected individuals to be home naked in bed having no intention of resisting arrest. They forecaster a cold morning rain for later.

Close by the garage, the words “Ready” and “Go” echoed in the morning as the sun rose on the horizon. The lead man sprinted to the side door carrying a battering ram. The tactical leader followed him, the rest of the team trailed a few feet behind. On the initial hit, the door resisted but then gave way and flew open on the second try. We were getting ready to run inside when a large explosion destroyed the entryway in a sound I had never heard. The booby trap, we discovered later, would hurt whoever entered. Shrapnel flew in all directions. Several agents fell to the ground, including myself, engulfed inside the black cloud of the explosion. When the smoke lifted, a half-dozen officials were on the ground, groaning, some motionless. I then lost consciousness.

Faceguard and body armor absorbed large chunks of the blast. Arms and legs, where limited protection existed, got the rest of the brunt. Ambulances arrived within minutes to transport the wounded to the University of Chicago trauma center. The center carries a rich reputation for excellent care. The tactical officer died on site. Standing opposite the man holding the ram, he had no chances. Four others suffered wounds of various degrees, myself included.

Other raid locations generated three more arrests. But our main target, Steiner, fled before our team arrived. The cat had lived through another episode, silently informed before the raid. The FBI will stay forever ignorant on the source of the leak.

In the hospital's emergency room, the doctor informed me I lost a lot of blood. A broken arm hung on my left side, all my bones hurt, multiple shrapnel wounds were obvious, I was a lucky man. The doctor performed much-needed repairs and then nurses transported my injured body to a private room. My wife Laura waited in the wings, walking back and forth, looking down at something invisible. She ran in my direction upon seeing the stretcher rolling down the corridor.

“Jason Tanner, don’t you dare do this again, you understand me?” she said, her voice trembling. The love of my life discovered in high school was by my side. Laura's teaching profession is safer than an FBI agent, still, with little warning, she left our world before me. 
  




1. I knelt alongside his[The tactical leader's] twitching body, forgetting the mission

2. The lead man sprinted to the side door carrying a battering ram. The tactical leader followed him, the rest of the team trailed a few feet behind.

3.We were getting ready to run inside when a large explosion

4. Shrapnel flew in all directions. Several agents fell to the ground, including myself, engulfed inside the black cloud of the explosion. When the smoke lifted, a half-dozen officials were on the ground, groaning, some motionless. I then lost consciousness.


If you were laying on the ground "then lost consciousness" how were you able to kneel by "his[The tactical leader's] twitching body"?

I hope what I wrote makes sense. But I really do like the story....
Good luck with your book.                           jt

Offline RC Cameron

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2018, 03:17:45 PM »
Good catch .... needs more clarity.

Thanks

RC

Offline Everyman

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2018, 04:33:13 PM »
Our protagonist has just experienced an explosion that knocked him unconscious, wounding himself and his unit with shrapnel, and mutilated the tactical leader so gravely he died. And his first thoughts are on the leader's last words? Last words are very poetic in testimonials, but, I doubt they're going to be on the mind of a man who has experienced the rush and trauma of such an event.

His mind would be on the pain, the ringing in his ears, the smells, the screams, his emotions and disorientation, the piecing together of fragmented thoughts. (Was he trained for this? Can he recall the procedure, etc) Yet, it's all recounted very matter-of-factly. There is no hint of emotion, pain, immediacy; no sense of being grounded in the scene.

You then abruptly quit the scene, as if it were only horned in there to arrest the readers attention; and you leave it hanging, whilst you launch into a historical account of the case given in snapshots. It feels a bit like, you're justifying it after the fact, there's little immersion with the story.

I had to laugh at
Quote
We expected individuals to be home naked in bed
What were they planning, to bust in with a bottle of Sauvignon and some Barry White?

I think with some work this could be the beginning of a great story, but in my opinion it needs tightening up and you could look at how to better immerse your reader with the unfolding scenes.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 04:48:01 PM by Everyman »

Offline RC Cameron

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 04:37:26 PM »
I'll keep at it. Thanks for the input.

Offline JanTetstone

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 04:52:52 PM »
Good catch .... needs more clarity.

Thanks

RC

You welcome   RC.

Offline jkalman

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2018, 07:42:22 AM »
Hello : )

Here are things that stand out for me. I hope some of it is useful.

Quote
before a terrible explosion abruptly severed his carotid artery.
Terrible ... as opposed to those nice ones :)
abruptly severed ... I would guess so. 
An explosion severed his carotid artery -  for me this is more powerful in its simplicity.

Quote
A week ago, in the FBI situation room, a planning session was underway. The planners selected four targets


Quote
The targets of our search were four individuals
You mentioned this already in the previous paragraph.

Quote
This fifty-four-year-old Caucasian had a long history in the drug business but had avoided capture for a serious offense. He evaded the authorities by moving away.
You are repeating (avoided, evaded). Can you make it into one relevant statement.

Quote
He wore a tattoo
I'm not sure. Do people "wear" tattoos?

Quote
The raid included his home and a shop who fronted his illicit activities
A shop is not a "who".

Quote
used only by the bad guys
. Is this accurate law enforcement lingo? Sounds like how kids talk.

Quote
We wanted to identify who lived in those houses, wife, girlfriends or children. They delivered signed warrants
"They" refers back to the last people mentioned - wife, girlfriends or children.

Quote
all armored and other police vehicles left toward the targeted sites while it was still dark outside.

Quote
They forecaster a cold morning rain for later.
.

Quote
Close by the garage
Near the garage / close to the garage

Quote
The booby trap, we discovered later, would hurt whoever entered.
I am confused by your use of the word "would".

Quote
Faceguard and body armor absorbed ...
You report details of the raid that happened after your main character went unconscious. Who is reporting?


Quote
The center carries a rich reputation for excellent care.
this adds nothing. Seems like a random statement.

Quote
he had no chances.
Chance

Quote
silently informed before the raid.
What does "silently informed" mean?

Quote
ignorant on the source
of/about. Not sure which, but on sounds strange.

Quote
the doctor informed me I lost a lot of blood
had lost (past of the past requires the past perfect tense)

Quote
The doctor performed much-needed repairs
repairs?

Quote
My wife Laura waited in the wings, walking back and forth, looking down at something invisible
Who is reporting this? You cannot move from first person to omniscient view like that.
Quote
The love of my life discovered in high school was by my side.
Wordy.

Quote
Laura's teaching profession is safer than an FBI agent, still, with little warning, she left our world before me
I don't get this last sentence. Random and confusing.

When I go back and read your opening paragraph, is that the same scene which you go on to describe? The one where your main character is unconscious in the detailed telling, but in the intro paragraph he is up and doing things at the crime scene? I'm confused.










« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 07:47:25 AM by jkalman »

Offline RC Cameron

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2018, 10:14:30 AM »
Thank you.

I appreciate it.

RC

Offline hillwalker3000

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Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2018, 03:34:57 PM »
 
Quote
“Ready? Go!”
These were the last words my tactical leader pronounced before a terrible explosion abruptly severed his carotid artery. I knelt alongside his twitching body, forgetting the mission. My hand on the side of his neck felt the flow of warm blood between my trembling fingers, impossible to stop. And so, my colleague died almost instantly. I lost a close person for the first time.

This reads rushed, I'm afraid.
The lack of drama when you describe the death of the tactical leader is problematical. 66 words that fail to deliver, especially as the entire event seems to have been forgotten by the following paragraph. It's as if you pressed a doorbell to get someone's attention then ran away.

Quote
A week ago, in the FBI situation room, a planning session was underway...

Much of what follows is 100% tell. It reads like a witness statement, lifeless and heavy on facts - recording events that will presumably lead up to your story. Unfortunately, by the time I reached that 'crucial day' I had already lost interest.

And the dialogue is difficult to take seriously:

Quote
“Jason Tanner, don’t you dare do this again, you understand me?” she said, her voice trembling. The love of my life discovered in high school was by my side. Laura's teaching profession is safer than an FBI agent, still, with little warning, she left our world before me.

My advice, spend 9 hours reading for every hour spent writing. Watch how the professionals handle tension and action without making it read like a rather flat summary of events.

H3K