Book Jacket

 

rank 2699
word count 20455
date submitted 10.10.2008
date updated 31.01.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller
classification: moderate
incomplete

Retribution.

Michael Bates

Jack Spader is forced to retire as an hired assassin. Until his daughter is kidnapped forcing him into doing one more job.

 

Jack Spader is enjoying his life as an hired assassin, and why not? it pays well. However, when he learns of his ex-wife's death in a car crash, and of his ten year old estranged daughter being placed into foster care, he feels duty bound to give up his work and take on his role as a father. He knows his clientele are not going to like it, but feels he has no choice.

Even though he hasn't seen his daughter for five years, he begins to prepare his future as a father, and leave behind the seedy world he once knew. That is, until he discovers one of his clients isn't quite ready for him to retire, and so kidnaps his daughter, forcing him to carry-out one more job. It all seemed so simple, until he learns the identity of his proposed victim. He has been given a deadline of one month, and so, Jack is left with a choice of doing the job or saving his daughters life. Will he have the time to locate his daughter and save her? Or will he have to carry out the contract.

 
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tags

action, deceit, deception, suspense, thriller

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79 comments

 

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Suzannah Burke wrote 1557 days ago

Mick, I am so delighted that I stopped by to read your work. The title and the pitch drew me in. The excellence of the writing held me a willing captive.

I have long had a fascination with this type of thriller, and frankly i have missed my favorite authors, Stephen Coonts, and David Baldacchi. The style you have is reminiscent of their work, yet still uniquely your own.

I look forward to buying this and sending it for an autograph and soon.

BACKED with great pleasure.
Suzannah Burke
Dudes down Under.

jammer wrote 1569 days ago

Michael, what I've read so far is bloody excellent. Taut, propulsive prose, excellent prologue - so much drama and action right from the off, but paced well enough not to overload. This is very accomplished writing, and suggests many months of work, and it's paid off. Looking forward to finding the time to read more of this, but based on what I've read so far, this deserves to be on the Ed's desk. Good luck getting there.

gillyflower wrote 1596 days ago

This book has an excellent plot, and some good characters. The idea of the ex-assassin, forced to do one last hit to save his daughter, but reluctant because of who the victim is, is both gripping and exciting. The story moves quickly, and Jack comes alive straight away. You give us some great hooks to encourage us to read on, especially at the end of Chapter Two. I think perhaps you should change your prologue from first person to third, since you then go on to introduce Jack in Chapter One, also speaking in the first person. I've seen this work when two people speak in alternate chapters, but since Rebecca only speaks in the Prologue, it feels a bit strange, and potentially confusing. You give us a lot of good, accurate sounding detail throughout, and this adds a lot of realism. It will be interesting to see how the plot develops. Backed
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.

A Knight wrote 1436 days ago

This is brilliant work - gripping, intensely detailed and richly human in all the right places. You have a distinctive narrative voice which helps this stand out even further from the crowd.

Backed with pleasure.
Abi xxx

carlashmore wrote 1456 days ago

This is one of the most commercial prospects on the site. A great story, incredibly well told. You have a knack for wonderful dialogue and I am delighted to back this.
Carl
The Time Hunters

RichardBard wrote 1457 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. You set the stage perfectly in your pitch and the first few chapters draw us into Jack's conflicted world. Taught writing, full of suspense. I would buy this book. Congratulations. Backed.

Richard Bard
BRAINRUSH (2010 ABNA Quarter-Finalist)

toussaint wrote 1459 days ago

Retribution

[Thank you for returning my backing. T. ☼☼☼☼☼]

I like the opening. The focus on the environment of the operations room, then the operation in progress, the new boss. Then the acrimonious meeting with her rival. Nicely done and gets us interested. Finishing with her life in danger. That effectively hooks me in. Strong characters and dialogue.

Then the rest. The assassin doing his job. Engaging. It seems a bit too easily done. Maybe you could make it a bit more gripping by giving him some more difficulties. The blocks of narrative establishing his retirement and decision to look after his daughter are maybe in need of a bit of a lift, but they carried me through. Then if I hadn’t read the long pitch the twist: daughter kidnapped. We’re OFF!

This is a good read and I’m backing it. If you can find the time to take a look at Bokassa’s Last Apostle in return, I’d be grateful. Thanks.

soutexmex wrote 1460 days ago

Michael: I really like this book, right up my alley. And both of these pitches work for me. Noting to complain about. You know your stuff. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you.

Though I have been a very active member for over a year, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1461 days ago

It's hard to make a hired assassin into a likable character but this book manages to do that. And once Jack becomes likable, there's no stopping this story taking off like a speeding train. I enjoyed the peek into the life of a hired killer a lot. I'm adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Jim E.M. Miles wrote 1516 days ago

All your prologue needs to do is set up the female director of M16 as a target. You don't need to waste words, just go straight to the guy at the security desk trying to get in contact with the director.

It looks like you swiped the scene of Pamela Landy going after Jason Bourne in the CIA opertions room.

What kind of new leader barks a bunch of orders, makes a pithy statement about the importance of the operation, then walks out of the room? A poor one. If this was her first task as the new head, she would stay in the room to see how well the team carries out her orders.

Just have Rebecca thank the shift supervisor, who I assume must be Baker, and leave.

One senior director to another senior director "what part of secret don't you understand" is unbelievable. Especially if they have a past rivalry. Neither of them got to the senior level by ruffling feathers needlessly.

Rebecca's remark is especially out-of-character because you reveal in chapter three she has leaked having evidence that she intends to "blow the whistle on some big corporation." Unbelievable. M16 does not announce press conferences a month in advance about an operation they intend to execute. They keep it secret!

I liked your pitch, and the premise sounds cool (assassin's choice), but you have completely failed to create a believable scenario.

Jon Doe wrote 1520 days ago

cant add to the below comments other than the simple pleasure of reading
backed

lionel25 wrote 1520 days ago

Michael, I've looked at your prologue and first chapter. Good work. In the second paragraph, first sentence, you have wrongly capitalized "although". That's my only nitpick.

Shelved.

Joffrey

jtgradishar wrote 1525 days ago

Oh, and the chapter one hook is great!

jtgradishar wrote 1525 days ago

Good stuff. I think your dialogue is realistic, and your prose is pretty clean. The idea is a solid one sure to find interested readers.

All in all, a good read.

Backed.

bates61 wrote 1534 days ago

David.
Thanks for your comments and your backing, I'm glad you liked it. I have put you on my WL and will get back to you shortly. Mick.




This is an enjoyable read, and you clearly know your genre well. Yes it contains clichés but there are all the right so of clichés - the ones I want in a book like this. The characters are hard-boiled, and it makes a refreshing change to read a book on a website so heavy in chick-lit and fantasy. It's an interesting way to approach the story which seems almost like a narration from someone recalling these events as they have unfolded. I followed this all the way to the end right up to the credit card transaction as the end.
Backed
David
Bailey of the Saints

David Fearnhead wrote 1534 days ago

This is an enjoyable read, and you clearly know your genre well. Yes it contains clichés but there are all the right so of clichés - the ones I want in a book like this. The characters are hard-boiled, and it makes a refreshing change to read a book on a website so heavy in chick-lit and fantasy. It's an interesting way to approach the story which seems almost like a narration from someone recalling these events as they have unfolded. I followed this all the way to the end right up to the credit card transaction as the end.
Backed
David
Bailey of the Saints

Lady Calverley wrote 1537 days ago

Hi Mick--

This is a great example of its kind-- you create for us that parallel world of high-stakes double dealings and espionage that most of us never notice (we're not meant to notice, are we?)-- and yet add in the twist of a child who needs her father to make it all a bit more human. A lot of timely topics in your thriller-- this should find an audience. Backed.

Ruth/Base Spirits

Lynne wrote 1538 days ago

This is so thrilling. It has really had me gripped. It's a book I would buy to enjoy at leisure. One tiny nit-pick. You have missed the E from the end of Clare twice in the paragraphs following the news of her mother's death. I know this book is going to do well and it certainly has my backing. Lynne, Brooklyn Bridge.

bates61 wrote 1538 days ago

Hi Mel

Thanks for backing and commenting on my book, I will take a look at yours shortly, very much appreciated. Mick.

This is superb, the plot, characters and dialogue.

A tense, tight thriller of the highest order.

Great work

Melxx
UNICORN (crime/thriller)

Melcom wrote 1539 days ago

This is superb, the plot, characters and dialogue.

A tense, tight thriller of the highest order.

Great work

Melxx
UNICORN (crime/thriller)

Clipso123 wrote 1548 days ago

Hi Mick,

The premise for this story is great. Your writing is solid and draws you in. I love the use you have made of the present tense. It lends a sense of immediacy to the whole story and makes you feel as though you are living events real time with the characters. Good work. Backed.

Sara (The Organ Grinder)

Francis Albert McGrath wrote 1551 days ago

Mmm... I read 1 to 3, and this is way above the usual Authonomy standard. Well-crafted, tight, and you know how, as a thriller writer, it is important to keep the plot cards close to your chest and deal them out at your own pace. Well done, shelved. Brilliant title also.
Frank

Laurie A Will wrote 1553 days ago

Michael,

Great premise, smooth prose.

Consider changing the prologue from present to pass tense. I think it’d flow better.

Well worth a backing.

Laurie – Into The Master’s Lair

Cait wrote 1554 days ago

Retribution:

Have backed this based on the prologue and first chapter.

Great read so far. Will leave a couple of suggestions in your message box.

Cáit ~ Muckers ~


K.Z. Freeman wrote 1554 days ago

very nice, backing this, glad I'm not the only one who likes to write about assassins ;)

KevRogers wrote 1554 days ago

Love the cover - great action thriller

Backed

Kev

Sly80 wrote 1554 days ago

"What part of secret don't you understand" nice one, Rebecca. Also neat intro to Spader. Then things continue to move swiftly as we see Spader in action and learn about his change in circumstances. He's an interesting character, the callous hit man who finds he's not as hard-bitten as he thought; there's one thing in his life that he's prepared to change for, but that is his weakness. Once into the story, it's clear that the plot is even deeper and more intricate than promised in the pitch, with some very cleverly thought out strategies. 'Tell me who she is" ah!

This is first-rate, Michael: great characters and plot, fast pace and a splash of humour. The writing is skilful, though it would benefit from another edit (I'll message some suggestions and tips). I'd like a copy of this one day to read to the end ... backed.

(BTW given that both our stories are about ex-military assassins, I'd appreciate your opinion, if you get the time.)

CarolynJ wrote 1555 days ago

You build up the suspense of Spader waiting to hear news of Clair very well and then the realisation that he has a job to do first. He comes over as a real person, speaking real dialogue. Thrillers are not my genre but this seems to be building up nicely and now the red flags are waving - what next..? Backed, Carolyn.

bookjunky wrote 1555 days ago

Michael,

An assassin with a personal motive... The premise alone promised to be entertaining, and your firsts chapters more than delivered. No nits worth mentioning. "Retribution" is backed and on my shelf. Well done.
If you get a chance, would you mind taking a look at my book, "The Wild, Wild Quest"? I always enjoy comments and such.

Best of luck,
J. A. Johnson
(The Wild, Wild Quest)
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=13246

Nick Poole2 wrote 1555 days ago

Good opening. If I was a chauvinist, I'd say Rebecca was a ballsy woman. Now let's meet Spader...

Hmmm change of tense. Suits me, I find present hard to get used to.

"Marks relative" should have an apostrophe. I'd avoid using "then" too often, usually redundant as things follow a logical sequence anyway. Same with "finally". We had a "luckily for me" and now we have "I was in luck". Makes the reader suspicious that you are trying to get across something unlikely.

You've got "quickly" and "briskly" in one sentence.

"A week later"...now this is a life changeing phone call, don't you think we should actually live it with Spader? Hear what he hears, react how he reacts, think what he thinks?

In fact this whole daughter bit is in summary.

The next is proper scene and a proper thriller situation. Like it!

Thoroughly competent thriller opener, apart from my nit picks. Will back immediately.

Ccastle wrote 1555 days ago

I don't normally like prologues but I thought this one worked well. Also, I often struggle with first person narration but you handle it very well. I thought some more action tags between the dialogue might have made the writing a little more fluid. Generally an interesting read and shaping up to be a great book. Cx

John Harold McCoy wrote 1555 days ago

A intriguing story, Michael. And a competing style of writing/presentation. Good narrative voice and very descriptive dialog. The plot is intreresting. The pitch should hook the average reader.
Your MC is believable and easy to identify with. Just read the prologue and 3 chapters but enough to get the idea. I think you've done a excellent job on this. On my shelf and the best of luck with it.

John Harold McCoy - Bramwell Valley

Gruffy wrote 1555 days ago

great work, Michael....this is destined to do well...

backed and on my shelf...

if you'd like to take a look at Fatal Disclosure, that would be great.

http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?pg=2&bookid=15326#comments

Nigel.

yasmin esack wrote 1556 days ago

captivating book. The author takes time with details. On my watchlist

Thomas J. Winton wrote 1557 days ago

Michael, I'm normally not one for thrillers but this is very good work. Exquisite story and delivery. Very polished writing. It's obvious you painstakingly chose every word. Only nit -- I personally would prefer some of the longer paragraphs to be shortened a bit. Makes for easier reading. Backed because it should be.
Thomas J Winton
(Beyond Nostalgia)

Suzannah Burke wrote 1557 days ago

Mick, I am so delighted that I stopped by to read your work. The title and the pitch drew me in. The excellence of the writing held me a willing captive.

I have long had a fascination with this type of thriller, and frankly i have missed my favorite authors, Stephen Coonts, and David Baldacchi. The style you have is reminiscent of their work, yet still uniquely your own.

I look forward to buying this and sending it for an autograph and soon.

BACKED with great pleasure.
Suzannah Burke
Dudes down Under.

Barry Wenlock wrote 1558 days ago

Micheal - this is gripping stuff, with as steady pace. Well structured and written. Backed with pleasure.
Barry (Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys)

Barry Wenlock wrote 1558 days ago

Micheal - this is gripping stuff, with as steady pace. Well structured and written. Backed with pleasure.
Barry (Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys)

bates61 wrote 1558 days ago

It would appear from the forums that i am one of the few able to read books this afternoon! I'm glad I read some of this. 2 chapters in and definitely my type of book. I intend to read all that's been uploaded and am back off to do that now. Happily shelved, Lorraine.x



Hi Lorraine, I'm glad your liking the book, and many thanks for backing it. As soon as they sort out the tecnical problems they seem to be having on here, I will take a look at yours. Thanks, Mick.

Steve Jensen wrote 1558 days ago

Enthralling thriller, with excellent characterisation. Highly recommended. :)

NB Ray wrote 1560 days ago

Read a couple of chapters and this is fast-moving stuff. I like assassin books, everything from Trevanian to Eisler, and the ground is well-ploughed, but you certainly have a fresh voice. In the way of pointers: I felt that in the prologue the new head of SIS ought to have a better grasp of what is going on in the ops room, and that she could be a little more cold and erudite - think Dame Stella. In Ch 1, I'd be inclined to cut some of the perfunctory detail, for example the uninvolved third parties at Waterloo; just cut straight to him getting the case. Then have him look at it and assess etc all in one go, not partly in the bogs, partly in the hotel after a shower, and partly at the pub. And it might be good if he could spin a line about Spud's nickname to the receptionist, or maybe offer a wry reflection on why he doesn't know his name. Anyway, hope this helps. Well done, and good luck. PS for an alternative take on the genre, have a look at 'Stonefish', also on this site.

CharlieChuck wrote 1562 days ago

I enjoyed this. I'm a fan of thrillers, and this had good pacing, an original plot, which is very hard for a thriller, and also that must read more feeling to it. Good luck with this, backed
Charlie

Jared wrote 1569 days ago

I'm always interested in thrillers and your background suggests you have specific knowledge that will be invaluable in writing a book in this genre. The cover is excellent, credit to Bradley for stunning work, and the pitches work well. The prologue and opening chapter take the reader straight into the complex and dangerous world of Jack Spader. By the end of chapter one the whole premise of the story is set out. I wondered whether the plot was giving us too much too soon at that stage as virtually every element of the pitch has been revealed at this early stage. My concerns were eased in subsequent chapters as the story develops in the same relentless manner.
A successful thriller has to have a compelling story-line, strong characters, suspense and danger and pace that never flags. This has all those attributes. My only concern is whether Jack, for all his virtues, can be truly sympathetic given his former profession and casual attitude to death. I've not read it all, so perhaps this problem is resolved during the course of the book.
An impressive thriller. Backed.
Jared.

jammer wrote 1569 days ago

Michael, what I've read so far is bloody excellent. Taut, propulsive prose, excellent prologue - so much drama and action right from the off, but paced well enough not to overload. This is very accomplished writing, and suggests many months of work, and it's paid off. Looking forward to finding the time to read more of this, but based on what I've read so far, this deserves to be on the Ed's desk. Good luck getting there.

John Booth wrote 1569 days ago

Hi Michael,

This is a tautly written thriller, getting straight into action - shelved.

Difficult to know what to advise to improve. The danger is that you have to make Jake sympathetic to the reader. Saving his daughter is a good reason, but he is still a cold blooded killer. Loved the writing in general. Maybe it doesn't matter if the villians are worse than him.


Anyway, good luck with this

John Booth (Shaddowdon)

paxie wrote 1570 days ago

Michael

This is not my kind of book normally, so my comments might be out of line.......

I have no idea what an Operations Room looks like, a big screen on a wall.....!! I think you need to make the reader feel more grounded in your opening,..... Say how many people are there, why I should care and what they are doing..... Build a proper Operations Room atmosphere with phones, desks, people....A nerve centre....

Baker introduces himself out of the blue....Rebecca asks.
'Are you sure?'
he replies.
'I'm Baker'
Does being Baker make his reply more credible or something....?

Michael enters without an introduction.....It's easier for the reader if you clarify the characters identity as you introduce him,......We read on and find out Michael and Rebecca had chased the same job, but until that was mentioned. I thought there was some sort of romantic untertone.......(maybe that comes later)

From the hospital scene onwards I felt more comfortable.....

Closure to chapter one is quite dramatic.....I think you need to 'show' it a bit more than 'tell' it.

ie... He opens the note. his eyes scan the page, he feels a tighening in his chest and his spine stiffens....
His hands tremble.......bla bla bla......explain the effect this has on him.....After all this scene is the catalyst for the rest of the book......Also I think the note should be in italics.....

Brilliant story and interesting plot.....Have you seen the film.....'Taken' get it out on DVD if not.....It's similar to this...

Hope my comments help in some way....

shelved with enthusiasm, I enjoyed the read....



Paul Freeman wrote 1571 days ago

Hi Michael, I really enjoyed the start of your story, it is shaping up to be a cracking thriller. I can see by your own background that you have a lot of experience to add to the story. It was certainly a book I got into straight away.
Paul.

Esrevinu wrote 1571 days ago

What a great thriller, a killer turned daddy.

The writing is tight and the overall plot works.

I notice a few tense issues.

But, more important the story is interesting and the MC has all the traits to make the story work.

I also wanted to comment on the dialogue, it is snappy and with the action propels the story forward. GREAT!

I wish you the very best

Scott
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

Jane Alexander wrote 1572 days ago

This has a lot going for it and the premise is strong. I'll be honest, I didn't like the present tense in the prologue - sometimes it works but here it just didn't feel natural to me (but just my thought)... Once we got to Chapter One and slipped into the past, it felt far easier (though you'll need surely, 'he WAS in a private room' rather than 'is'?).
I raced through quite happily until 'a week later' and then,whoah! Hangabout.....suddenly he has a daughter and an ex-wife and it's all a bit too matter of fact somehow. I felt as if I needed to know more about this beforehand - not a lot necessarily but some mentions of it. I need to feel that it's realistic that he would be willing to pack in his job to look after his daughter.
I think this has massive potential and I'm happy to back.
Jane
WALKER

bates61 wrote 1572 days ago

I liked the prologue as an opening better than your chapter1 - so even though its a device that some agents frown on, I think you should keep it for the effective hook aspect. Why didn't I like the chapter 1 as much? To start the opening line begins with "entering". I think if you just showed the place "the hospital rear entrance was quiet." it would flow smoother. You then show the character going through a series of motions, but you don't really tell me why until later. It felt a bit "listy" to me until around the 6th or 7th paragraph. Then you seemed to catch the voice of the story and it flowed well from there. It's a bit of a let down at the end of the chapter to have him back in his hotel room. Perhaps this could start your next chapter - a bit more drama would come if you ended sooner - with the promise of 'being in touch'. It just felt anticlimactic and not as much of a page turner to have him siting and pondering. But that could be just me.

I went on to read your chapter 2. I do like your main character. Nice internal thoughts and good dialogue. I can see that you have a vision in mind for the plot and I feel like I'm in good hands. You've hit a rhythm now and I'm ready to turn the page and read on to chapter 3. Good luck with this.



Hi B.J.

Thank you for taking the time to read my book, and for your very constructive comments. I have taken some of the advice you have given me, as it made good sense. I will look at yours shortly. Many thanks, Mick.

B. J. Winters wrote 1573 days ago

I liked the prologue as an opening better than your chapter1 - so even though its a device that some agents frown on, I think you should keep it for the effective hook aspect. Why didn't I like the chapter 1 as much? To start the opening line begins with "entering". I think if you just showed the place "the hospital rear entrance was quiet." it would flow smoother. You then show the character going through a series of motions, but you don't really tell me why until later. It felt a bit "listy" to me until around the 6th or 7th paragraph. Then you seemed to catch the voice of the story and it flowed well from there. It's a bit of a let down at the end of the chapter to have him back in his hotel room. Perhaps this could start your next chapter - a bit more drama would come if you ended sooner - with the promise of 'being in touch'. It just felt anticlimactic and not as much of a page turner to have him siting and pondering. But that could be just me.

I went on to read your chapter 2. I do like your main character. Nice internal thoughts and good dialogue. I can see that you have a vision in mind for the plot and I feel like I'm in good hands. You've hit a rhythm now and I'm ready to turn the page and read on to chapter 3. Good luck with this.

Sheila Belshaw wrote 1574 days ago

RETRIBUTION:

Michael,

The premise is excellent. Giving your main character such a huge choice to make gives your story a nail biting platform from which to create a page-turning thriller. From your pitch I wasn't sure whether I was going to be desperately sorry for poor Jack, being in such a ghastly predicament, or hate him for his chosen profession, albeit he wants to retire. I haven't read enough to find out, but this is really good thriller stuff.

Your writing is good and the way you have put together the scenes and the changes of voice give this novel just the right momentum. Once you have sorted out the punctuation and the tenses, I'm sure you'll find that the prose will flow even more smoothly. (I will message you about these).

Backed with my best wishes to keep going with this. It has a lot of promise.

Sheila (Pinpoint)





Bob Steele wrote 1582 days ago

Retribution plays to the classic story of the likeable killer trying to escape his past, rather reminding me of some of the old Charles Bronson films. There is plenty of scope here for drama and adventure, which should prove attractive to thriller readers providing you can inject enough distinctiveness to lift the story and differentiate it from past works along similar lines. I'm betting you can, and I'm a sucker for a thriller anyway, so I'm backing you.
From the editor's perspective, I have one basic suggestion to make. At times your narrative almost appears to be a diary of 'he did this, then he did that'. Have a bit more faith in your readers; hint rather than explain. Show by dialogue and action rather than tell by exposition. I don't think it's a major exercise to achieve this by tweaking your existing work, covering the same ground. Hope this gives some food for thought at least. Good luck.

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