INTERFACE (a thriller)
First Page Critique
Tom Faraday awoke feeling like he had been sleeping forever, and immediately struggled to recall where he was, or how he had got there. Some nights, he reflected, you hope you remember. Others you hope you forget. Tom was not sure which category the previous night would crystallise under. Right now he was just feeling the after effects of what must have been an evening of extraordinary excess.
He rolled over in the hotel bed and blinked repeatedly. The alarm clock read 8:30 a.m. Next to the clock was his watch, and next to that an electronic card key for his room. Picking it up he saw he was at the Western Star Hotel, in Waterloo, central London. This seemed vaguely familiar, but a stabbing pain deep in his head was making it hard to think clearly. He slipped on his watch, a present from his mother, slid out of bed and padded across to where his suitcase lay open. From a small zipped compartment he retrieved paracetamol and swallowed them down with gulps from a bottle of mineral water. He then stumbled into the bathroom, and was greeted by a tired visage in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot, hair unkempt, stubble unusually obvious. He stroked his chin distractedly, thinking he must have forgotten to shave the previous day.
Back on the desk he found an elegantly printed invitation, and as he read it his memories started to return. The card bore his name in calligraphic handwriting, and was to the launch party for CERUS Technologies’ new office building. Tom rubbed his eyes and thought hard. What did he know?
He knew his name. He knew his age: 26. He remembered his job. He was a lawyer at CERUS Technologies. And he remembered the party.
He remembered getting there by taxi, late on Friday night. He remembered William Bern’s speech. And he remembered drinking a few beers. And then a few more. Perhaps a lot more. Of the trip back to the hotel, he remembered nothing. Friday night had come and gone.
He stretched slowly and looked for another bottle of water. Apart from the headache he did not feel too bad. Hopefully no harm done, and the rest of the weekend to recover. The noise of a mobile phone ringing broke him from his thoughts. His phone. He retrieved it from his pocket, noticing the battery was nearly dead.
Critique by Nancy J. Cohen
The opening line is great. It immediately draws me in, wondering the same thing as the character. Where is he, and what is he doing there? I would delete “he reflected.” We’re in his viewpoint, and that qualifier is unnecessary.
Crystallize has a “z” not an “s”.
Delete the “just” before “just feeling.” This is one of those overused words. For more info in this regard, please see my review of a fabulous self-editing program at http://bit.ly/12iU9nZ. The Smart-Edit software points out all the words and phrase you overuse and much more.
What kind of drug is paracetamol?
I’d separate into a new paragraph, “The noise of a mobile phone…”
The cell phone is in his pocket? Is he still wearing his clothes from the night before? Or did he get dressed in them?
So the guy is hungover from a workplace party. I’m intrigued, but I am wondering where this is going. Hopefully the caller will inject more information. You do point of view very well, and I have no problems with the pacing especially if a dialogue ensues.
At first, I thought Tom had memory loss and couldn’t remember how he got where he is. But he does seem to recall everything, except maybe the cab ride back to the hotel. Then again, where does he normally live? My questions tell you I am hooked and would read more. I’d be hoping, though, that something happens to tell me all isn’t right and things are going to get hairier from here on in. Good job and Happy Fourth of July!