View Full Version : Beta reader please for MG boys action

Scott S
11-16-2012, 01:28 AM

I hope someone will help me out and read my story. Let me know the big picture overall like if it's boring, confusing, does not ring true - you know, all of that. Of course, I'd be willing to help you out in return with what I can.

It's 40k words with a fourth grade reading level so shouldn't tie up too much of your life. Let me know.

Here is the blurb and the first 500 words, so you can decide if you are interested. PM me if you want.

thanks so much

Ben Seeker shows the picture to everyone he meets. But the woman would be older now. Twelve years older. Have you seen her? This is boy's MG+, a contemporary thriller with elements from the Fugitive and hints of genetic sci-fi, but mostly it is crime genre testosterone toned down for the school yard crowd. Heads butt. Bullets fly. Nobody actually gets killed (or even seriously maimed for life.)

Running from a nightmare, headed toward his dream. Ben's earliest memory is being six years old in foster care. His first five years are blank expect for the occasional dark image of barbed wire and surgical masks. But wherever these dreams originate from: that also must be the source of those dark combat figures prowling in the shadows. They lurk behind while Ben roams from town to town, looking for his mother but finding transient love and adventure instead. BEN SEEKER: CABRILLO DIABLO is complete at 41,000 words.

Ben enters Cabrillo Diablo, a sleepy farm town with two convenience stores. First chance and last chance. A rouge gunman robs both stores in defiance of the local protection racketeers, and Ben finds himself in the wrong place both times. At first he doesn't react, but the second chance he does. The counterman takes the shot and the robber lurches off. Later the video link arrives. Pressing gauze to his shoulder, the robber calls Ben a dirty double crosser. Calls Ben a dead man walking. Says you and your mother too. Ben forms fists. Too mad to type, he dictates the reply. MEET YOU IN THE CORN MILL. Yes, all caps. The robber is not the only one to read this. Racketeers, Silhouette Men, Officer Larry: they all converge for the showdown among chutes and ladders.

Ben Seeker ran away from foster care three months ago. He left to search for his mother. What he found instead was trouble.

He was at the Shop ‘n’ Gas convenience market the afternoon of the robbery. He was there when the masked cowboy entered.

He was there for the gunshot—


On the afternoon of the robbery Ben stepped down from the dusty, road weary bus. Heat slammed him like a sledgehammer to the face. Ben was big and strong for his age, but the heat was a back of bricks. His broad shoulders drooped like tomato leaves wilting. With head bowed he watched the bus disappear into the hazy horizon. Diesel smoke lingered and tugged at his nose. Tomato leaves out in the field hung limp. Ben stood alone.

Ben and farm fields drooping in the sun. Nothing more. A complete wilderness. Not even a breeze.

He tugged the bill of his baseball cap down over his eyes with a man-sized hand. His jaw was set and his eyes were worried. He was twelve, but he looked older. Because he was big and broad shouldered. And because he was worried. He reached into his pocket and touched the picture there. When he did, he smiled. When he smiled he looked like a kid again, if only for an instant.

Two roads crossing. Up ahead on the smaller road lay the town of Cabrillo Diablo, about two miles away. Ben had to get there—and he would—even if walking along the asphalt in this heat could be fatal. He raised his water bottle and took a precious sip. Half-empty. In a hundred something degree heat how long would that last?

Ben walked along the road with his head held down like packing bricks on his shoulders. In the fifty minutes it took him to get into town not a single car and only one pickup truck passed him. Ben ignored the truck while it rumbled by. And the truck ignored him. Ben walked with head down. Eyes averted. Pickup trucks on lone country roads could be trouble—and there was that whole Silhouette Men chasing him thing to worry about too—so Ben was glad when the truck whizzed on by. Ben didn’t look like a lost kid in need of help, and he certainly didn’t try to hail the truck with a hitchhiker’s thumb. His water was gone and he saw double; but Ben would make it on his own, stagger along and make it.

Cabrillo Diablo came into view like a hazy mirage and a blur of treetops. When he got closer it became a group of faded walls under a leafy canopy, an oasis surrounded by flat farm fields. The air smelled musty like cow poop. The fields were green with their summer crop. The town was asleep in the heat. First there was Main Street and Ben saw signs ahead for a few stores. A diner but no famous restaurants. A tractor supply. Livestock feed.