Tess James-Mackey – YA Thriller with sci-fi elements – THE LAST SUBJECT
I am seeking representation for my novel, THE LAST SUBJECT, a current-day YA thriller with sci-fi elements. It is complete at 77,000 words, a gripping stand-alone, which is also the first part of a planned trilogy exploring diverse relationships and mental health in a corrupt society.
Cass is in prison for murder, and when she’s broken out by people claiming to be like her she must choose who to trust: the wild children, the trainee soldiers, or the scientists behind the shocking experiment that created her. Can she unravel the truth before it destroys her? With a protagonist as challenging as Emily in Tanya Byrne’s Heart-Shaped Bruise and a love story as explosive as Callum and Sephy’s in Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses, The Last Subject is fast paced and adrenaline-fueled, whilst addressing difficult topics such as victim blaming, child experimentation and manipulation.
My role as an Insurance Risk Analyst is a world removed from the laboratory in which Cass was created. But her desire to find where she belongs echoes that of all teenagers searching out their place in the world. I have been writing seriously for three years and alongside this YA project I am also drafting a MG contemporary about life in a right-wing family. I am in two local writing groups and am active on Twitter, building my contacts in the trade. Being selected for the WriteMentor programme was an honour that has made a significant impact to my writing, and I am confident that my book is ready for consideration.
The Last Subject – Part One – Chapter 1
“Not that one,” the prison officer grunted as he steered her away from the secure car that had brought her to court. “The Sweatbox.”
“All right keep your tits on, Barry,” Cass muttered, noticing his name badge and scowling down the lens of his body camera. She kept her eyes locked down on her handcuffs and let her hair fall in front of her face as the crowd of frantic paparazzi jostled to get the best shot. But she couldn’t resist snatching a glance at the Sweatbox. It was a huge van, the kind they showed on TV, with tiny black windows dotted across the side.
The officers guided her up the back step and down the narrow aisle between nine other cells. She peered through the windows as she passed. Empty.
“Why can’t I just go back in the car?” she asked the second officer, the one with the kind face, as she was placed in her cell. It stank of sweat and other things Cass didn’t want to think about.
“You’re not going back to Bristol STC,” the officer explained gruffly. “Orders from up high – you’re going to carry out your sentence at Ashworth.”
He hesitated before locking the door behind him. Cass had seen that expression before. It was the way that parents with children her age looked at her. A torn, pained kind of look. Like they wanted to hate her for the monster she was, but couldn’t, because all they saw was a skinny, lost girl peering back at them through a tangled mass of auburn hair.
Ashworth. She knew that name – the girls there were all destined to be ‘starred-up’, which simply meant they were bad enough to be sent to an adult prison once they turned twenty-one.
She would fit right in.