I revisted a novel of mine with unexpected results. This time I was touched by the characters and what happens to them in a way I hadn't been before. Was it me just getting older and sappier, or does the narrative really have the capability of doing that? Just what does this story do for readers? And does it do enough of whatever that is to make it worth paying for?
Gundown is a thriller, and it is speculative fiction in that it takes place a few years from now and there are things in the story that haven't happened (yet). Other than that, it’s grounded in today’s reality.
I've done some rewriting, retitled it, created a new cover design, and I’d like to find beta readers who can give me feedback. I just don’t know what/how to think about this book anymore (one reason there's no blurb here).
I've tried marketing it as a thriller and as an issues novel. Where do its best chances lie in its present form? How to present it, or should I just let it rest?
I can email to you a PDF, a Kindle file, or an .epub (Nook and other readers) file. All I ask is that you read it as a reader and give me your reactions—perhaps in review form or whatever you’re comfortable with. I’m not looking for line editing, but any notes you have are welcome. More than that, I'm interested in a dialogue with readers about how to think and talk about it.
In the tradition of FtQ, I’m posting the opening page to see if there are any takers (yes, there's a poll). But today you’ll also be able to read the rest of the chapter. Your comments will be welcome.
The opening page of Gundown.
Jewel wove through the lunchtime crowd that filled the plaza beside the Chicago River. A breeze reeking of car exhaust swirled around the skyscrapers, but she liked its soft touch. She imagined she could feel the spring sun turning her mocha skin a shade darker.
The Wrigley Building clock said she had time to do a little window-shopping, so she headed up Michigan Avenue for Water Tower Place, not that she could afford anything in the boutiques there.
Two white dudes slouching against a gun store smacked kisses her way. A green stripe ran down the center of the blond’s buzz-cut hair, and a red do-rag decorated the smaller guy’s shaved head—he cupped his crotch and puckered at her. Ugh. She picked up her pace, her miniskirt riding high. They pushed off from the store and swung into step on each side of her.
Green-Stripe crowded against her. His sour stink assaulted her, and the skin on her arms goose-bumped. He said, “Hey, Brown Sugar.”
She wanted to say “I’m not your sugar,” but no, just keep going. Staring straight ahead, she said, “There’s a cop back there.”
He laughed. “Yeah. Murphy.”
Wishing she wasn’t wearing high heels, she broke into a run and darted between a couple holding hands.
Click the link below for the rest of the chapter. If you'd like to go ahead and request a beta reader copy now, just email me with the format you want--PDF, Kindle, and Nook etc. formats.