Book Jacket

 

rank 705
word count 11673
date submitted 27.07.2012
date updated 26.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
classification: moderate
incomplete

DROPOUTS

Alice Haro

Being homeless is tough enough, but when someone wants you and your kind dead, it takes it to another level.

 

The unlucky victims that cross this killer’s path suffer a brutal and bloody death. The police can find no motive. But, feelings that have been abused by deception and greed dominate a twisted mind that burns with the need for revenge. But one life is not enough, they must all pay.


Some seek answers from beyond the grave with near fatal results; others turn a blind eye to what is staring them in the face. But, what everyone wants to know is will the law nail this dangerous killer before the life of another innocent victim is snuffed out?

THIS BOOK IS COMPLETE AT 93,700 WORDS.

 
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tags

british crime fiction, british crime novel, bums, crime, crime thriller, detective, dropouts, drugs, erotic scenes, female crime writer, gay sex, home...

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30 comments

 

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Chris 1 wrote 259 days ago

This is fine writing, Alice, some great observance and regard for your 'cast of characters - and what characters! They're very promising, and quite layered - plenty of scope for deeper development and you've covered a lot of ground in the first three chapters. A good promising start.

I have an interest in this too, I work with homeless people and just a few weeks ago, an ex-resident of ours received a life sentence for torturing and murdering a fellow homeless man, interesting. Shelved.

Inqusitive Agie wrote 299 days ago

You're going to a great length of describing Josh and the life of a homeless person. Still you have put it mildly and it's not for nothing that most of those people end up alcoholics or drug addicts. How else can you deal with daily life on the streets.

I was put off at first, when I saw the tightness of the paragraphs. But you've taken my apprehension away by the way you sett the scene. The back ground story of Josh is well developed.

The only thing I don't understand is why this is a prologue? A lot of readers tend to skip them.

carol jefferies wrote 304 days ago

Hi Alice,

Dropouts

Having read and enjoyed 'Stuart, a life backwards,' who features a homeless, young man, I was attracted to read your story.

I felt sorry for Josh, having lost his mother so young, and for having such a bully of a father who made him feel a failure most of the time. The first chapter made me 'care' for him as he pursued his degrading life, addicted to drink and sleeping rough for seven years, so I was shocked when shortly after this he was found brutally murdered.

The characters are well-drawn and I especially liked Chris, the vicar and former detective, the complex personality of Maggie and Mick.

I liked some of your turn of phrases like 'Maggie beat the eggs with an energy born of annoyance.'

What did puzzle me though, was why Chris having judged from Josh's facial expression that he didn't didn't put up much of a fight with his attacker? Surely this was not surprising if he was so drunk he had blacked out.

There seems to be plenty going on in this well-planned thriller, especially as we know that the victim was set to inherit a fortune.

High stars,

Carol Jefferies
(The witch of Fleet Street)

Seringapatam wrote 356 days ago

Alice, If that isnt a first chapter then I dont know what is. I loved this and its not even my genre that I would normally read but it is now. You have natural ability that a lot of authors cant get too. You describe so well and use your characters to do all the work for you. When the story feels to be getting a little flat, you throw in another hook. Brilliant pace and flow to this book. So so well done for this and its going to do really well.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Jane Mauret wrote 585 days ago

Hello, Alice
Your writing is very fluid and attractive. I was quite mesmerized by your style. I was caught up immediately with the Josh character and was a bit sad to read he was killed off so early. There is an interesting dynamic going on at the Vicarage, also. A definite air of mystery has been established. There is enough description without ramming every detail down our throats so the reader can fill in bits by themselves. I think it is clever to establish so many characters and locations so subtly. This is about the only kind of fiction I have been reading for about 30 years so have plenty to compare with yours which has made an impression. I did not notice any grammar or punctuation errors either. I only say that because very often, we have to wade through poor English which is very off-putting.
Good luck.
Jane Mauret
UGLY IN PARADISE

Chris 1 wrote 259 days ago

This is fine writing, Alice, some great observance and regard for your 'cast of characters - and what characters! They're very promising, and quite layered - plenty of scope for deeper development and you've covered a lot of ground in the first three chapters. A good promising start.

I have an interest in this too, I work with homeless people and just a few weeks ago, an ex-resident of ours received a life sentence for torturing and murdering a fellow homeless man, interesting. Shelved.

Inqusitive Agie wrote 299 days ago

You're going to a great length of describing Josh and the life of a homeless person. Still you have put it mildly and it's not for nothing that most of those people end up alcoholics or drug addicts. How else can you deal with daily life on the streets.

I was put off at first, when I saw the tightness of the paragraphs. But you've taken my apprehension away by the way you sett the scene. The back ground story of Josh is well developed.

The only thing I don't understand is why this is a prologue? A lot of readers tend to skip them.

Inqusitive Agie wrote 299 days ago

You're going to a great length of describing Josh and the life of a homeless person. Still you have put it mildly and it's not for nothing that most of those people end up alcoholics or drug addicts. How else can you deal with daily life on the streets.

I was put off at first, when I saw the tightness of the paragraphs. But you've taken my apprehension away by the way you sett the scene. The back ground story of Josh is well developed.

carol jefferies wrote 304 days ago

Hi Alice,

Dropouts

Having read and enjoyed 'Stuart, a life backwards,' who features a homeless, young man, I was attracted to read your story.

I felt sorry for Josh, having lost his mother so young, and for having such a bully of a father who made him feel a failure most of the time. The first chapter made me 'care' for him as he pursued his degrading life, addicted to drink and sleeping rough for seven years, so I was shocked when shortly after this he was found brutally murdered.

The characters are well-drawn and I especially liked Chris, the vicar and former detective, the complex personality of Maggie and Mick.

I liked some of your turn of phrases like 'Maggie beat the eggs with an energy born of annoyance.'

What did puzzle me though, was why Chris having judged from Josh's facial expression that he didn't didn't put up much of a fight with his attacker? Surely this was not surprising if he was so drunk he had blacked out.

There seems to be plenty going on in this well-planned thriller, especially as we know that the victim was set to inherit a fortune.

High stars,

Carol Jefferies
(The witch of Fleet Street)

Harcourt Tendhall wrote 307 days ago

Alice,

I have read the three chapters you have posted. Your writing is excellent - you paint real pictures and strong characters with your words - even the ex-cop vicar! There's a challenge to get right! Your first chapter is devastating and acts as a real hook! The pace is good and the story flows nicely - a really good piece of work.

I noted the occasional minor typo but only two points struck me as requiring attention, both in Ch 3. Firstly, for continuity, there is no mention of Hannah taking Chris to the crime scene, they both just appeared there for their review of the murder. Second was the text: 'Sarah flung off into the Kitchen' - would 'flounced' or 'stormed' work better?

I am left wanting to read more. It is on my watch list and gets high stars. It will go on my bookshelf when I have space. I wish you every success with it.

Harry
Bitches - in case you fancy the read-swap? :-)

Seringapatam wrote 356 days ago

Alice, If that isnt a first chapter then I dont know what is. I loved this and its not even my genre that I would normally read but it is now. You have natural ability that a lot of authors cant get too. You describe so well and use your characters to do all the work for you. When the story feels to be getting a little flat, you throw in another hook. Brilliant pace and flow to this book. So so well done for this and its going to do really well.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Jane Mauret wrote 562 days ago

Hello, Alice
Sorry to message you here but I am not on your friend-list.
I wondered if you have time to comment on my book please (I also backed you for a while but I don't know if we can keep an electronic record of that - that seems to me to be something that would be good to know).
Many thanks for your time.
Jane Mauret
MALDIVES MUSLIMS ME

Lenny Banks wrote 564 days ago

Hi Alice, some time ago, I commented and rated your work, I wondered if you have had a chance to return read and comment on mine? I know sometimes it's easy to forget or be distracted, I would really appreciate your feedback.
Kind Regards
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock
You said you didn't accept friends, so I couldnt private message you.

Inda Lauryn wrote 566 days ago

I usually have trouble getting into stories when I read them off the computer. However, this was just engaging enough to keep me interested. The characters are already starting to come together very well and it will be interesting to see where they all end up. So far, this is the only work I've been able to read from this site and found it was well worth the time. Unfortunately, there are a few small grammatical errors, but they weren't consistent throughout the work.

pickarooney wrote 583 days ago

Hi Alice,

I'm not sure at what stage I added this to my watchlist. If it's a return read that I have been ages getting back to, my apologies.

I've only read the prologue so far. Depending on how helpful or not you find my comments I can read the rest.

----


You start by damning Josh but then immediately retract it and go on to blame his father for everything. It's cool that Josh has a backstory and there's a
reason for him being a tramp but you're kind of dropping the shopping by letting it all go so far. Don't worry, we can still be on Josh' side even as a scruffy tramp. Take a bit more time to let us know how he came to be one. You might even want to use that time by showing us that Josh is scruffy and stinky through a little bit of action and gently hint at the underlying handsome good guy.

'reach his emotions' - an emotion is a reaction, something to be provoked. Figuratively you can real a person, or his heart or soul

Josh hadn't called home.... sentence needs a rewrite and to be simplified. 'He hadn't called him in seven years'?

Halfway through the page and we've had exactly one line set in the present and the rest is backstory. It's like somebody starts to tell you a story and the doorbell rings and they give you a photo album to leaf through while they go and answer it. When is the story set exactly? If it's now, then cut out all this history and tell the story. Give us the details later, and not all in one slab of text. If the story concerns the past, begin there. However, know that your readers won't necessarily have the patience to read through pages of setup before anything happens.

Your narrator is too involved and as a result we end up learning second-hand about what a dick his father is. The narrator shouldn't be doing this - (s)he's there to fill in the gaps between passages of Josh telling us this or alternatively to show us this through descriptions of his actions.

The bit about the tramps fighting in Newcastle is by far the most interesting part of this prologue. If you maybe started with this you would give more focus to the introduction and pull the reader in. As it is, so far Josh has been in Leeds, Whitby, Newcastle, Liverpool and wherever he is now. As a result I have no idea what exactly is the focus.

Try to avoid beginning sentences with 'so' and 'also'.

'which were open despite being extremely late' - the toilets aren't late, as you're actually saying here. 'despite it being extremely late' or 'despite the late hour' ?

clothing is singular, clothes is plural but you've used 'they' with the former

'look of drunk' - missing 'a' I think

'gold-plated real deal' - seems a bit of a contradiction. Gold plating suggests a deceptive exterior

The last line is a bit gimmicky. Frankly I would swap all the woe-is-he finger-pointing for a couple of lines about how he was tortured and killed. Obviously this is here to get us reading on but I think it could be done with a bit more finesse.

----

Regards
Richard
Where Chana Sings

Jane Mauret wrote 585 days ago

Hello, Alice
Your writing is very fluid and attractive. I was quite mesmerized by your style. I was caught up immediately with the Josh character and was a bit sad to read he was killed off so early. There is an interesting dynamic going on at the Vicarage, also. A definite air of mystery has been established. There is enough description without ramming every detail down our throats so the reader can fill in bits by themselves. I think it is clever to establish so many characters and locations so subtly. This is about the only kind of fiction I have been reading for about 30 years so have plenty to compare with yours which has made an impression. I did not notice any grammar or punctuation errors either. I only say that because very often, we have to wade through poor English which is very off-putting.
Good luck.
Jane Mauret
UGLY IN PARADISE

Ghosty wrote 594 days ago

Club Agatha Critique

This chapter has a lighter feel as we are introduced to your characters, all of whom are very well developed. I feel like you have spent a lot of time with them. They aren't perfect, but there is a wonderful balance of making them a little flawed too. Chris seems to have a good heart, but becomes obsessed with things outside his duty and Wayne seems to be misunderstood sometimes. Maggie is a character of contradictions, her two sides, the conservative worker against 'layabouts' and then the hippy, hash smoking psychic. It shows you have made your characters complex, but entirely relatable.

The mention of the Drop-In Centre is setting the scene for future chapters, and I think Maggie's seance might too, but I'll have to read on to find out! I also think your writing is flawless and exceptional, and the characterisation and plot are very well developed.
Gilly

Eve Sommers wrote 597 days ago

Hmm... just waded through a fair amount of backstory, but you have piqued my interest,
and I did enjoy your fluid 'easy reading' style.
Curious to read on to the first few chapters tomorrow.


E x

Su Dan wrote 599 days ago

this is a well paced tale- smooth narrative style marries together with effective dialogue, making a credible book...
backed...
read seasons...

Casimir Greenfield wrote 601 days ago

Agatha Club Crit:


Whoa. You have brought me to tears...

What a beautiful piece of writing. I was immediately engaged. Josh's story was real. You drew me in like few writers have and I was there with him all the way. And then you threw in the shocker of the final line. OMG.

I'm devastated!

Chapter One proper wouldn't load, neither would two. I really need to read on.

To discuss your power as a writer, the prologue is sufficient to show exactly how you write. I'm almost speechless.

I'm so glad that I dipped in at last. Your words will haunt me through the day. I'm deep inside my third book at present and one of the characters has a similar life to Josh - although he survives, but really only the shell of the man. These are tough things to write about.

Highly starred and backed.

Cas

gr84ll wrote 606 days ago

Club Agatha Critique-Round 2-
Hi Alice, I enjoyed your first 3 chapters very much! The last line of your prologue brought me to a dead stop... had to absorb what just happened.... then cautiously went to chapter 2.... then 3. You set the hook well, good story reads fairly smoothly and the suspense is written in well. Good luck with it... Jacque (Upside Down)

Lenny Banks wrote 615 days ago

Hi Alice, I read chapter 3. I loved this, its a real murder mystery, I love the fact the vicar used to be a policeman and is undertaking his own investigation echoing Father Dowling. The flow is smooth, the characters are easily identifyable and having worked with Homelss people I can concurr to the discrimination that happens in your story. I note the Chris used the term 'tramps' given he is a vicar and Policeman, I am not sure he would use a term like that if this were real, maybe another word might fit better. This is a godo book and I am not surprised it si already on sale. Well Done.

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock

Lena M. Pate wrote 620 days ago

Club Agatha Critique (2)
I read everything you have loaded and find that I really liked the book so far. I have to admit though that the prologue nearly turned me off from reading further although the writer style is very strong. There almost seemed too much back story on Josh. The punch at the end was very unexpected and well done which is definitely what made me want to continue on. Chapters one and two are very strong and I enjoyed them immensely. Chris is very likeable with his strong points and his weaknesses but very human qualities and even Peter is a gruff man but with his own gentle side although I can see that he could easily evolve into a psychopath given the right circumstances. Sarah is feisty and a force to be reckoned with herself. Excellent read.
Lena

Nigel Fields wrote 622 days ago

A Club Agatha Review (part 2)
I read the entire posting before focusing on ‘your’ second chapter, posted as the third in the authonomy format. Great premise. You readily engage our sympathies for Josh, and then Chris, and the Mick. It might be beneficial to segment this chapter into two. I’m thinking of doing the same with mine.
I respect that you are avoiding undue explicitness with Josh’s injuries, but I think we need a little something more. First, though, let me complement you on only giving out your details bit by bit. From the outset of the book, we are compelled to read on to learn what happened. So, it, IMHO, could be more satisfying if we could have more detail: broken bones, lacerations—why does it look like torture and not just like a drunk who was naked and then choked on his own vomit?
When Sarah and Peter are bickering, where he accuses her of patronizing him, I feel there is one too many “Pets” in the vicinity. Perhaps you could omit the one he says.
When Chris is musing about Peter’s qualifications for his position, I would personally omit one of the ‘ly’ adverbs. My choice would be to omit “remarkably” quickly. Just my opinion.
Again, you have created a story that is rich and engaging.
Best wishes,
John Campbell (Nigel) A Lark Ascending

Cupcake xx wrote 623 days ago

Hey! Here for the Club Agatha Critique!
Here’s my thoughts as I read:
- The opening sentence is very clever. Nice.
- The prologue felt quite rushed, and had a lot of backstory in it. And the last sentence feels like a kind-of let down? Like we’ve read the prologue and then we just get told? Maybe you could show the murder, or maybe you could get rid of the prologue and weave the back-story into the book? Just a suggestion.
- The first chapter felt a little slow, but I felt it was better than the prologue. You had me intrigued in the second half.
- ‘Chief………..witness’ maybe just stick to the three periods?
- I think you need to just read through this and check your grammar. There isn’t a lot lacking at all, it’s just some odd words here and there need revising, and a few commas. But I’m juts being picky XD

Overall: this definitely picks up in the first chapter.
I would just look at the prologue and decide whether it's worth keeping or not; because it could be a turn off for readers. However, if you got rid of it, you could weave it through the story. Or even just describing the murder a little bit more would help.
But this is just personal opinion.
Good luck!

Alex

Wanttobeawriter wrote 623 days ago

DROPOUTS
This is an interesting beginning for a story. Josh’s background was a good way to start; what a shock when he is killed. The introduction of the Vicar is a good contrast; he certainly lives a more comfortable life than the street people. I like the way you make a reader feel as if he/she is really out on the street experiencing homelessness. An inside look at what a world I know nothing about is like. A good read, I’m starring this and adding it to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

TDonna wrote 625 days ago

Alice, this is another fantastic work of yours! Love the 3 chapters you've uploaded. Your writing is fluid, confident, and rich: "He saw the wreck of man he'd become" and "...chocolate-button brown eyes..." From the first sentence, you've given me a sympathetic victim despite being a tramp. I'm so impressed that in a few words you humanized what he could have been, maybe should have been, possibly he hoped he could be again, and you made me care by the end of the chapter. It's impeccable. It's gripping. And I'll have to buy the book :)) Excellent!
Donna
No Kiss Good-bye

rikasworld wrote 625 days ago

I thought the prologue was brilliant. I got very involved with Josh and his father and thought the details of his life were great. Then that huge shock at the end.
I was a bit doubtful about Ch. 1 as it seemed rather slow but ch. 2 was involving again, as the investigation after the murder.
Poor Josh, that's awful! It really upset me. Such vivid writing!

Inqusitive Agie wrote 625 days ago

Agatha critique

First I thought that the woman was only making small talk to the vicar, but you have put some of her terrible discovery in the second bit. Not much happening in this chapter, except for the extensive intruction of the vicar, Maggie, Wayne and Derek.

Sara Stinson wrote 626 days ago

Alice,
I have read the first four chapters of Dropouts. I like the long pitch you give to introduce the story. Your characters are strong and the different settings for the story are in place. I am already beginning to have my own theories as to what is happening and who is doing the killing! HUM...

Sara Stinson
Finger Bones

Inqusitive Agie wrote 626 days ago

Agatha crituque

You go through the motions of describing Josh life and history in detail and then he gets murdered. That was nicely done and I enjoyed reading about him. His father is an idiot and knows nothing about real life.

scargirl wrote 626 days ago

engaging and well written. good thriller-crime novel.
j
what every woman should know

Ghosty wrote 626 days ago

Club Agatha Critique -
I've read through the first chapter, which I enjoyed very much. You make us aware of your character's background and life before he becomes homeless. It allows us to engage and build some sort of empathy for him and his homeless situation. The end of the chapter hits you square in the face. I did not expect it and thought it nicely done. Really look forward to round two to see what happens.
G

Fire Your Imagination wrote 627 days ago

Louis, thanks for your backing.
I take note of your comment about telling, not showing. I find that this is my style. I think it is possibly being a journalist for so many years. It is a style adopted by other crime writers, for example, Martina Cole, and it seems to have served her pretty well. So, I am hoping it will do the same for me.
Thanks again - very good of you to back me anyway.
Alice

I'm backing the book, but I worry that too much exposition (telling, not showing) might mar an otherwise good story.

Louis W wrote 627 days ago

I'm backing the book, but I worry that too much exposition (telling, not showing) might mar an otherwise good story.

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