By Dale Wiley
1995. Trent Norris in an intern for the NEA. One day he intercepts an enigmatic message and soon after a murder is committed that Trent connects to the message. Now he’s on the run, framed for the murder and committing crimes himself to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
An amusement filled story that tells of ‘an innocent caught up in something he can’t escape’. Interesting time frame too, before the Internet became the rage, before Smart phones and tablets.
Trent Norris: 22, National Endowment for the Arts intern, formerly an intern for many groups and individuals, drives a Toyota, owns a guitar, majored in English at Emory University
Joe: Trent’s boss, bearded, barrel chested, baritone
Kurt: office manager in Trent’s department, homosexual, blond, handsome
Stephanie: 25, average height, shoulder length brown hair, brown eyes, law student at Georgetown, attended Charleston College, majored in English and Engineering, athletic
Tabitha Robertson: Stephanie’s friend, blonde, father is into horse racing, majored in engineering, mother dead, has two brothers
Angie: Trent’s roommate
Many character’s, including the girlfriend, don’t have last names and/or not much physical description. I don’t recall Trent’s last name being given till several chapters in.
Some good voices. Trent does a good job imitating voices.
First person from Trent’s POV. Book divided into Days. A bit of mild profanity. A few punctuation mistakes that I can let slide because I read a pre-release copy. I’ll assume the final copy will have been proofread and corrections made.
A few small lol moments and general light-hearted scenes throughout despite the serious nature of the situation. It’s one that if you don’t think too deeply about it, it’s enjoyable.
Good use of period technology – intranet, zip disks, etc.
However, I have a small problem with the cause of Trent’s reason for running. Without playing spoiler: at his workplace, he intercepts a message about somebody ‘taking care of a problem’. He puts the message on a supervisor’s desk. Then later, after the murder and Trent’s connecting it to the message, he places another ‘I know what you did’ message under the supervisor’s door. Then the troubles begin. My question is: how did the supervisor and/or the bad guys know it was Trent who took the original message and placed the second under the door. It’s not like he signed them. The explanation given later is not exactly a leap over a chasm, but maybe a gap. Not too far-fetched but not rock solid either
The other problem is: yes, I know the author, to make a story, had to have Trent run all over town, but the sensible thing would have been to go to the police-as Trent had originally thought about-and explain everything. He wasn’t in all that much trouble at first.
This author has a similar problem I have in my first person writing, which is staying close to the character in scene. Sometimes, in the moment the narrator-first-person steps in and takes the reader out of the action/tension/emotion. The reader loses touch with the character.
Some unnecessary ‘ly’ words. A bit tighter writing all around is needed, but still a decent mystery that just gets crazier by the moment.