PW #351: Young Adult Contemporary Suspense: CHASING JOHN SMITH

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Judi Lauren

Mentee Name: Danielle Thurby


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Suspense

Word Count: 90,000


For years, brothers Cole and Jack, under orders from their obsessed father, have had one purpose: catch their mother’s murderer. Molded into warriors and forbidden to have personal relationships, the boys are strangers to normal—something Cole, a defiant son but loyal big brother, wants desperately to change. And Jack, always an obedient soldier, starts thinking for himself for the first time when he experiences feelings for a cute boy at school. But as they struggle with trading their fake identities for their true selves, the brothers fear that in their hunt to catch a killer, they could lose their lives, or worse, each other. Told through dual POV, it’s Supernatural meets I Hunt Killers.



“You are no longer Jared Turner. Your name is Cole Matheson.”

If I jumped out of the car now, I could avoid Dad’s bullshit identity exercise. But if I’m gonna bail, it’s not going to be on this endless stretch of mono filter land that someone had balls enough to declare a state.

Say it,” he warns.

“I know my new name.” I glance up long enough to catch Dad’s dark eyes giving me the I-just-gave-you-an-order look, that somehow still works on my brother. Dad shifts his gaze to him instead.

“You say it.”

Immediately, he sits up and recites, “I am no longer Dylan Turner. My name is Jack Matheson.”

Dad claps him on the shoulder. “Good. Again.”

He says it a little louder each time, more determination in his voice. “My name is Jack Matheson. My brother is Cole. Our mother was Lucy. She died in a car accident when we were kids.”

“Because that’s original,” I mutter.

Dad’s voice rises. “It isn’t about originality, it’s about believability. Anonymity.”

“I know,” I say. “It sure as hell isn’t about the truth.”


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