3rd SR Crapometer #62

Dear Miss Snark:

Tattooist Sam Roark is a haunted man. All he wants is a simple, peaceful life. Draw up a few tattoos, do a few piercings and get to know Bex, the pretty New Zealand tourist with the blond dreadlocks. The only problem is Lisa Torres. Almost seven years ago, the runaway street kid's one attempt at armed robbery ended in Sam's deepest regret. Since the night of her death, there's no way she's about to give up and let Sam get on with his life. Though powerless to actually harm him, she has countless ways to make his life a living hell.

But when a very physical, flesh and blood attempt is made on Sam's life, it quickly becomes apparent that her hunger for revenge has found an ally among the living. It's an alliance the ghost soon learns to fear and regret. As guilty and innocent alike begin to die, Sam's search for the killer forces him to descend into a world of lies and deception, where everyone is driven by dark engines of pain and fear and no one is what they seem. Could Sam's hidden enemy be his deeply twisted former lover Tash, jealous rival and self-styled dark magician Marcus, or even someone Sam always considered a trusted friend?

Cry Little Sister is a complete first person 98,000 word supernatural thriller set in Minnesota's tattooing and body piercing subculture. As for myself, I'm a former Minnesotan living abroad, a reasonably well-travelled nice guy and the second-most ridiculously overeducated tattooist I've ever met.

The first few pages are enclosed to give you a feel for my style. If you'd like to read more about Sam and Bex and the dangers they face, I'll be happy to provide sample chapters and a synopsis, a partial or the complete manuscript.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


(Name and details)

ok, the Ghost and Mrs Muir revisited. I like this enough to read on.
The problem of course is that being haunted is kind of common in supernatural novels.

Chapter One

The tumbling water bit like ice against my scarred knuckles. I worked the soap into palms and backs, fingers and thumbs, working my way through the six-step scrubdown before working my hands into the latex gloves and going to work.

The air went hothouse warm. The sound of the running water became a girl's wicked chuckle. The usual clean bleach and soap smells were overwhelmed by a reek like the air in a closed and sweltering room where a bowl of fruit had been left to rot. Lisa Torres was back.

I turned from my scrubdown to face the angry ghost. The sixteen year old appeared before me now as she had on the day she died. Limp white hair piled up high and showing greasy brown roots. Dark, bruised sockets hooding haunted eyes a thousand years old, jaded and weary.

Between her polyester tube top and denim low-riders lay three dark spots like drops of wax from a great crimson candle.

Entry wounds.

I had seen the dripping horror of the exit wounds too many times to count. Life was never very kind to her, but nothing I knew about Lisa suggested she ever chose anything for herself but self-pity and anger. Even in death.

I was in a hurry to get back out into the studio without Lisa wasting my time. The pretty girl with the blond dreadlocks and the timberwolf eyes waited for her piercing in the front room of the tattoo shop. She wouldn’t wait forever. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I might have heard the bell over the front door.

The look Lisa shot me was pure venom.


Nail-bitten fingers with cracked black polish dug cruelly into the flesh of her hips and her mouth twisted into a nasty sneer. Her voice in my head was like a fingernail rasping down a granite headstone.

look at you, with your tongue hanging out. you think you're so big, but you're not. you'll get yours. just wait, you'll see.



Her mouth opened, but all that came out was the blood-bubble on her lips when she died.

"You recreate every detail so perfect, why is it you always forget the gun in your hand, or what you were doing with it?"

With lazy contempt, Lisa flipped me the finger. Her eyes held me as she turned, making sure I had a full view of how the hollowpoint rounds had torn great, ragged chunks of meat and viscera away from her spine. And then I was alone again.

Six years of this.

This is all set up. I'd be much more interested if the ghost was first seen doing something to make his life a living hell. Or is just hanging out all the hell there is? If she wants to come here, I've got a lot of slush for her to read.

This one is pass, probably with a note that says keep me in mind for other things.


Anonymous said...

Damn. You corrected the numbering. I never had a chance, did I? For a second there I thought I might've.


Smile, Miss Snark, and know that what you're doing is appreciated by many of us.

Bernita said...

Thought it good writing.
A picky on queries:
must everyone be "forced" and "driven?"

Anonymous said...

A stylistic note: you used the verb "work" in some form four times in the first two sentences.

Marss said...

I liked this. The voice is engaging and the ghost's description is unique and fresh. Good writing.

Janie said...

I enjoyed this one. It drew me in, and I didn't skim at all. I want to read more. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I liked the writing, but after six years of being haunted isn't he sort of used to her by now?

Stuff like "go to the light" and "girl, you're the one who started it, now leave" come to mind.

Or maybe I've watched Sylvia Brown on Montel one too many times.

caren1701 said...

I'd probably buy this if I came across it in a bookstore. Hopefully I'll get the chance some day.

Break a leg!

Anonymous said...

I got deja vu reading this...I think maybe I saw it before (On Evil Editor?). Anyone else recognize it?

Anonymous said...

I liked this. Darn! Obviously I have no idea what appeals to an agent.

Nice said...

I like this. I think it's a great intro, and I was left wanting to read more.

Anonymous said...

"I got deja vu reading this...I think maybe I saw it before (On Evil Editor?). Anyone else recognize it? "

Yes, yes! It was on Evil Editor! I've seen one or two other EE entries on this crapometer before, as well.

Natalia said...

Once again, the premise is really cool, but the lack of action is bogging me down at this point. Please, please, please don't start out with the guy washing his hands.

But I like what I'm seeing. You might want to consider reading some Danilewski. "House of Leaves" is a bizarre novel, and I'm not a huge fan, but he had a thing or two to say abou tattoo parlours and the supernatural, and some of his descriptions chilled me to the bone.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a good beginning. I'm puzzled when people say things like "this is all setup", because most books I pick off the shelf have *some* setup.

Catja (green_knight) said...

'All setup?' There's a bloody ghost turning up on page one, and some of the backstory uncovers, and it's not what I'd expected.

So we have the guy, and the problem - he wants to move on with his life. Next I want to know why he has put up with the ghost for so long. Then I want to see him deal with the situation. Unlike Miss Snark, I'd read on. There is some awkwardness in the prose - I'd want livelier descriptions, more _personal_ rather than 'more graphic' - but I'd be willing to see how this goes.

Rei said...

I enjoyed this.

Seems that's the overwhelming opinion you're getting here. :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this as well. Of all the entries, this is the one that I read clean-through rather than scanning.

For what it's worth, it grabbed me.

Gillian said...

There used to be an Australian (and possibly New Zealand) remedey for a headache "Bex and a good lie down".