Friday, June 19, 2015


Genre: YA mystery
Word count: 70,000


Seventeen-year-old Kat is an undercover agent for the Institute, a secretive UK organisation dedicated to preventing violent crime through surveillance. When its system flags a teenager for posting dangerous material online, it sends Kat to befriend them and ascertain their risk to society.

Her latest assignment is Audrey Foreman, a girl who hallucinates monsters. A girl the Institute deems on the verge of a breakdown. Kat must gather enough proof to justify an arrest before Audrey commits a crime, but there’s a problem: all evidence says Audrey isn’t actually dangerous, and the Institute doesn’t care. When Kat finds traces of a mission that imploded two years ago in the same town, she suspects she's actually there to tie up loose ends.

Working to uncover Audrey's connection to the old case, Kat begins to doubt the Institute's infallibility--especially when she examines the private jobs it sometimes accepts. But this is a dangerous time to have a moral crisis. The agent involved in the original case is still undercover at the local high school, eager to report back on Kat's changing priorities. And he won’t leave until Audrey has been silenced. If Kat doesn't help him, she could lose her job, her friends, and if she keeps seeing Audrey's monsters, maybe even her mind.

First page:

It starts like any other case. I get a file, AUDREY FOREMAN, and by the time I finish reading, it's midday. There's a sticky note on the last page: See Cas. So I phone the office.

“Cas?” I say. “Why not Robin?”

“He's busy. Cas has this one.”

“But, Robin’s my handler.”

The line goes dead. I just stand there, trying not to grin. I know what this means. When they give you a job with Cas, they’re announcing your promotion. 

Bee comes into the room with a box of pens and her sketchpad. “Hey,” she says, emptying her arms onto the table. “What's up?” 

“I have to see Cas,” I say.

Cas?” She stares at me but doesn’t ask the question--not yet. 

I take my jacket off the back of the chair and plait my hair in the elevator. Cas is in her study with her door open, so I walk on in. 

“Kat,” she says without looking up. “Darling. Take a seat.”

You’d expect us to be cutting edge here at the Institute, but the offices are very nineties. A tiny cactus sits on the desk and there’s a motivational poster on the wall--INTEGRITY, it reads, in block caps. There’s a rip in my chair, and I pluck at it while I wait. Some mix of fear and euphoria bubbles up my throat.


Caitie Flum said...

I vote for you!

Unknown said...

I vote for this one!

Carrie Pestritto Houlihan said...

I'm hooked! I definitely vote for this one.

Andrea Somberg @ Harvey Klinger Inc. said...

I vote for you!

Courtney Stevenson said...

This sounds like a page-turner. Vote from me!