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"The ground squelched..." Very descriptive!! Believe it or not, it that word hit three of my senses: touch, sound, and sight. I visualized wet grass, though wet from water, not blood. You corrected my thinking almost immediately:
"The ground squelched as Shoshana Cox walked toward the corpses..." Yum. You gave me the shivers.
Specific Praise and Suggestions:
Let me start by saying I LOVE this chapter. I'll get to the reasons why I love it, but I'm going to start with the constructive feedback. Don't let it discourage you from getting to the good stuff.
I read straight through before writing comments. I noticed that the beginning was slow. The story picked up speed around the time the conversation with Hoyt started. I think the slow intro was a result of a combination of pacing and confusion.
1. Pacing. This wasn't about the amount of action, which I thought was paced perfectly. But some of your sentences (not many, but a few) were just unnecessarily wordy. Wordy isn't always a bad thing, but it is when writing an action/suspense/thriller, some combination of which I think you have here. Examples:
The ground squelched as Shoshana Cox walked toward the corpses, glancing down she noticed blood seeping up on top of her boot.
Could be reduced to something like:
The ground squelched as Shoshana Cox walked toward the corpses. Blood seeped up on top of her boot. (That she looked at it to notice is implied.)
2. Confusion. I got lost here:
Tracking the noob had been simple, she shifted to wolf form and followed the scent of blood and bile. Now the tranquilized lycanthrope was sleeping in the back of the secured truck and she was ensuring that the clean-up team
Since I didn't yet know that Shoshana was a werewolf, I thought "she shifted" referred to the noob. Then I realized you must have meant Shoshana, and I read on to see "the tranquilized lycanthrope" and thought you were saying Shoshana was tranquil (because I didn't know they'd caught the noob.) Then I was really confused about how she could be both sleeping and ensuring, when it dawned on me that they must have caught the noob. I think replacing "she" with "Shoshana" the first time might eliminate that whole string of confusion.
You have some good moments, but your intro sounds like it's a completely different voice from after the story picks up, like either you added the intro later, or else you found your voice once you got going. I did like how you started the story, by introducing us to Shoshana, her personality, and her job.
After the intro, I was sucked into the story. Even though the partners had a boring job, I wasn't at all bored. It was gripping. More on that in a minute.
I did find myself yanked out of the story a few times asking, "Wait, what?" They were:
Laughing at the assistant’s comment, she went into her boss’s office.
This was the first time I wondered if you'd added the intro later, because Shoshana was incredibly grumpy during the intro. I liked the receptionist's comment, which made me smile and gave me a little sense of Marianne's personality. It was Shoshana's reaction that startled me.
That was two weeks ago.
Again, I wondered if you added the intro after the rest, because this sentence only makes sense if you start with Hoyt giving Shoshana her assignment. It's not that it couldn't have all happened two weeks ago. It's that it wasn't a single scene, and after two opening scenes, it would have made more sense to me to say, "Two weeks later..." Reading my own feedback, it seems nitpicky and bizarre, but it is what it is. The phrase "That was two weeks ago" made me stop reading and think, "Hm, I wonder if the intro was written later." That pulled me out of the story.
THE GOOD STUFF:
OMG. I love your premise, your characters, and your unfolding plot. I love Shoshana and loved the intro scene (it was just the writing of the scene itself that seemed a bit tight and stilted.) I loved your voice and pacing, once you got into it. It was natural and flowed well. I love the world you've built. I love the cliffhanger you ended with; it makes me want to know who the intruder was, and to meet Teagan, because she seems like she's going to be a great character, too.
Characters: It's in the details. It's the way Shoshana reacted to the council enforcer at the crime scene. It's the thing where she'd forgotten to wash her shirt but wore it anyway. It's the part where she objected to the boring assignment, but took it anyway because it's her job. You've told me a lot about her in a short time.
World: The pacing of your world delivery is just about flawless. I never had a hint of exposition. You revealed details about your world - the pack, the council, the rules, her job, the dragons - all through action and dialogue, and most of your dialogue is very natural.
Plot: Your hook is that someone is after Teagan, but she can't know she's a dragon. So Shoshana has to protect her without telling her why. If I were Teagan, I'd be pissed about that. And if I were Shoshana, I'm not sure I know how I'd pull that off. I can't wait to see how it's going to unfold.
Voice: You have a clean grasp of 3rd person limited. You're telling the story through Shoshana's eyes alone (so far), and that adds a lot to the mystery of the piece. You never once strayed from her head. Also, your voice after the intro flows naturally. Where in the intro, it sounded like you struggled to find the right words, the scenes after the intro read like you tap-tap-tapped on your keyboard full speed ahead without pausing to breathe, like you knew exactly what you wanted to say and how to say it, like the story told itself for you.
A gripping story with a great hook! The intro was a little slow due to some pacing and confusion issues, but it was a great scene, and after the intro, I couldn't stop reading.
Good luck in the contest!