MENTOR: Jen Swann Downey
MENTEE: Glenn McCarty
TITLE: LANG SAWYER AND THE DEN OF NOSTROMO
CATEGORY/GENRE: Upper MG Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 72,000
Lang Sawyer’s quest for glory as a teenage monster hunter becomes a struggle for survival after he makes a monstrous discovery – characters from storybooks are disappearing, causing havoc in the worlds they’ve left behind. Now Lang must match wits with Alistair Frankenstein, a ruthless scientist whose hunger for new research specimens threatens to destroy the stories themselves.
Here’s the thing about finding out your great-great grandfather Tom Sawyer was a big time monster hunter, that he killed Dracula, and that your Dad’s running the family business out of the former Indian cave behind your house.
(You know, in case that ever happens.)
The thing to remember? It’s not all fangs and glory. It’s a hit-or-miss proposition.
Like literally, hit or miss. Sometimes you hit the crossbow target your Dad sets up for you in the backyard. And sometimes you miss. And hit your neighbor’s poodle.
In the tail.
Yeah, that was a thing.
The upside? Missing school to jet to Peru and track a deadly creature called the Mapinguari.
But even that’s got its drawbacks. Sweat being the biggest one. Hunger, too. That’s pretty much all I can think about on day two in the Amazon rainforest. Late afternoon. Heat still in the triple digits. Everywhere green on green, the sun strafing the leafy canopy.
Dad skids to a stop and points at a spot on the ground inches from my right foot. I mop the sweat from my already-drenched St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.
“Freeze, Lang,” he says, with zero irony.
I don’t know much about the jungle, but I’ve read about the snakes. Fire hose-sized ones. With a proclivity for squeezing people until their insides turn to Cheez Whiz.
“Python?” I ask.
Dad scowls and jabs his finger toward the ground. “No. Some sort of track. And it’s a big one. Step around it. Carefully.”