Reviews for When Is Love?
Phenitial chapter 12 . 11/15/2011
I really liked tnhis story and think you should make a sequel!
Li Daisuke chapter 12 . 7/14/2011
Excellent! such a goopd read, personally i don't hate OCS's that much as long as they are writen right. Neville, Henri and Smith are all very entertaining characters and is easy to get attached to them, and seeing Tomo involved in all this mess add the little touch of humer and energy to make things more entertaining. I like the strange teacher-student relationship Neville and tomo mantain, i see the problem for Neville is that he had the chance to get closer to Tomo early but let it pass and Tomo is not the kind of girl who waits too much for something, still they become really close buddies and Tomo respects him adn even consider to think seriously on his offer someday(altough, Neville will indeed need to remind her of that xD). This looks like the absolute end of this fic which i think is really good because it feels like the end of a real action movie(action movies tend to end with unclear resolutions unlike romance or comedy movies).

Nice proyect and nice pic. Loved it!

P.D.- I has passed a long time since i readed a Tomo-fic and writen this on a review ...TOMO ROCKS! xD
Solarius Scorch chapter 12 . 7/15/2010
I really liked it. It was entertaining and funny. Sure, it had next to nothing to do with reality, but as an action movie it was okay.
TheoneandonlyKaorin chapter 12 . 7/11/2010
Good job writing OCs that I actually liked! However, the ONLY thing that makes this an Azu fic is Tomo. I also see that you seem to know what you're talking about when it comes to all this weaponry and stuff. Makes things much more realistic, even if I don't know half of what you're talking about. Well, for the most part atleast. I did lol quite hard at the library containing magazines...because when I was little, my dad liked teaching me about gun safety, proper care, etc. I always pretended that I was reading the magazines. I've always wondered why they're called that...
962YearsOfDarkness chapter 12 . 7/6/2010
Re-jected! Glad it didn't end on some sort of predictable note. Like "They get married and live happily ever after and whatnot." Overall, I liked it.
Dr. Mason chapter 5 . 7/3/2010
To me, this chapter was a little bit more difficult to follow than some of the previous ones. It may be because of the reliance on action scenes in this chapter. But I'll get there in time.

Good stuff:

The character development on Neville is really interesting here. This chapter delves deep into the pathos of the Interpol agent, and why he is pretty much the way he is. I can identify with Neville in a way - that not being "rich enough" thing is a hard pill to swallow. Given enough time in the dating world, this will happen to everyone at some point, though. The first 5 or 6 paragraphs really humanizes him and sets up emotional conflicts nicely. It also set up the emotional conflict when he pulls away from Tomo. That was believable considering what he's been through.

I have to say, I gave myself a high five when I read that Tomo tried to kiss Neville. I was speculating that she would be a little on the fast or sexual side, and that appears to be the case. haha. You did a good job of foreshadowing this and in a very subtle way.

I also was really pleased that you made Tomo a crackshot. Although, maybe she's a little too good with that gun. But that's for the nitpick section!

And overall, I liked that this chapter was a role reversal of sorts. Neville came off more as the person who acted without thinking than Tomo, and Tomo was ultimately the one who saved Neville from himself. Tomo also showed a softer side, which was nice. It's excellent that you're balancing out her character. She's not just the bonkura that's shown in the show, and you recognized that.

Nitpicks:

1. Action scenes

I have to say that your dramatic scenes are very well done. They're well thought out, the dialog's good, and you have a strong way of conveying mannerisms. Your action scenes seem to be a little rougher around the edges.

Action scenes are really tough to do well. A lot happens very quickly, and you have to tread a very fine line between leaving out detail (to make the scene read as fast as the fight is happening) and including detail (fights are confusing - details helps to ensure that the audience understands what is happening). I think you might have strayed a little too far on the leaving out details side in these though. Let's take the second scene where Tomo saves Neville. It wasn't until the second time reading it that I understood that there were two people mugging Neville. Rereading it again, then I understood that you were describing the actions of four people: Neville, Tomo, the mugger holding Neville and the one who drew the gun on Tomo. Without mentioning that there were two muggers, and without distinguishing between their actions, it makes the fight a lot harder to understand for the readers. With some work though, I think that this scene would work well, and be a very interesting scene!

2. Continuity Issues

I liked the character insight of the first 5 or 6 paragraphs, but they also left me a bit confused. In chapters 1 and 2, you established that in 1998, a traumatic event occurred in which Neville's team died in some sort of raid. Moreover, he had spoken at length with a criminal who was pointing a shotgun in his face. Alexander appeared to have intimate knowledge of these events, which implied that he had either been there, or had been filled in by his bosses on the event. Finally, there was an indication that Neville was disappointed with the performance of local SWAT teams, because both the local SWAT team and his were massacred. The story at the beginning of this chapter seems to contradict a good amount of the previously established story.

The assault on the drug runners was only carried out by one SWAT team, and it is unclear which one it was. Was it Interpol's SWAT team, or Sierra Leone's equivalent? In any case, the fact that there's only one team suggests that the previous information was faulty in some way. Either the Interpol team could be sent out, or the agent had only been sent as the leader on-point. In either case, that sounds like a really bad idea for all parties involved - I'm not surprised it didn't turn out well.

Also, the story seems to play out significantly differently than was indicated. Neville here is gunned down by a .357 as was implied before, but there wasn't a shotgun in sight. Neville didn't do any talking either. He, along with the rest of his team, got gunned down. The only reason he survived wasn't because he was talking, but because he was running away. I guess I was confused by how it played out.

Also, the drug runners made a strange choice in not checking to see whether they killed Neville. Sierra Leone, in 1998, was going through a particularly bloody civil war, and life was cheap all around. (I'm also surprised the government would send a SWAT team to take down drug runners smuggling a couple thousand dollars worth of cocaine during a civil war.) I'm surprised that the drug runners, knowing that the government was likely too overloaded to do anything about it, didn't make sure he was dead by walking over to where he was and shooting him again.

In fact, it's implied that this almost happened. Neville didn't try to run away, but instead tried to play dead. (This wasn't likely a good idea, because the bullet didn't pierce his skin. If he had been mortally wounded, he would be lying in a pool of blood. No piercing - no blood. So, it was obvious he wasn't dead.) There's an indication that someone stood near him and reloaded their .357. Neville wet himself, which means that he wasn't able to maintain control of his organs. When this happens, the lack of control also means that the person would be unable to lie still. They would likely be twitching or shaking in fear.

Even with these clues, which all indicate the drug runners could be sure that he wasn't dead, they didn't shoot him. There's no indication that they left the scene, so it's possible that they also allowed him to crawl off a few hours later. I guess I'm just puzzled about the whole situation. Why didn't the drug runners kill him? What purpose was there in letting him live?

3. Tomo is Vash the Stampede

I'm not surprised that Tomo would carry around such a hardcore weapon. It actually fits her character - it's overkill for any situation. The HK 45 is a .45 caliber semi-auto handgun; it's insanely powerful, and any .45 is going to kick like a small nuclear blast unless the gun weighs like 10 pounds.

We also know that Tomo was getting better at firing a .357, but her accuracy on this weapon was just getting to the point where she could hit the target (not necessarily the center of the target, but just somewhere on the paper). It's clear that she's skilled with handguns, but then she hits an incredibly small target perfectly, twice, at a greater distance (likely), with a handgun that's roughly twice as powerful, and her shots were in rapid succession. DANG! I think she just put Vash the Stampede (Trigun) and Watari (Death Note) to shame in terms of shooting skill. I'm not sure if this is an inconsistency, or if Tomo was holding herself back and just playing the fool for Neville. Either way, I'm thoroughly puzzled, and looking forward to what you do with Tomo's mad skills in future chapters.

4. Worst. Help. Ever.

I guess I was also a little puzzled as to how Neville tried to help Tomo out of the fountain. It says that he lost his footing and fell in. This means that after Tomo fell back out of the bench, that Neville stood up, walked around the bench to the ledge on the fountain, stood up on the fountain, bent over to where his hands were below his feet, and then tried to pull Tomo up out of the fountain. That has to be the worst way to get leverage to help someone up. I can't see him doing that in character, but the mental image is hilarious none the less. This isn't really a nitpick, but I did find it strange of Neville to do this. At least it's really funny when you think about it, and that, IMO, makes the strangeness completely worth it!

Overall:

I think that it might be helpful to review your action scenes a little more to make sure that there is enough detail in the action to make sense. Also, be sure to maintain consistency in the plot and details that you mentioned before. I know that there are a ton to keep track of, and it's not always possible to be perfect in this respect. But still, if you remember writing about that subject before, I'd recommend rereading that previous passage just to make sure you don't contradict yourself. It's what I'm having to do constantly in my new chapter's draft. It may not be fun, but it's worth the hard work.

Your dramatic and romantic moments seem to be really well done, so keep up the good work. Your action scenes will come along with time. If you want any advice on them before you publish, feel free to get in contact with me.

Another good chapter, and looking forward to 6-9!

-Dr. Mason
Dr. Mason chapter 4 . 7/3/2010
Hey!

This chapter proves that this story is turning out to be pretty interesting. I'm enjoying how it's character driven, as opposed to being plot-driven. It has a very natural feel about it.

As always, the good before the nitpicks:

The characters are all developing in a believable way, and mostly in canon with their pre-established personalities. Like I said to you before, the three characters in this chapter feel very organic and dynamic. The conversations have an air to realism about them. And you've started subtly dropping hints in the conversations about the characters' past and their paradigms. My favorite thing about conversations is that what people say often tells more about them than they realize. My favorite example of that was here: "But he seemed a little off didn't he?"

"Probably troubles in bed [...] Those things usually kill relationships." The fact that Tomo thought of this right away (as opposed to Joseph getting in trouble, or an impending failed mortgage, etc) and mentioned it as the likely source of anxiety is very interesting. Why did she jump to that conclusion? Could it be that she's experienced this first-hand and it was on her mind? That would indicate that Tomo's character is somewhat sexually-driven (which is believable). And what does that mean if she and Neville do get romantically involved later on? It's an intriguing possibility. We're seeing the first stages of development! I'm excited to see what's next. So, very well done and I'm looking forward to seeing where this all goes!

Another good thing is that your transitions are very fluid. I didn't notice it the first time I read it, but there are quite a few scene changes in here and they transition nicely, at least in terms of connecting the relevant subject matters. The idea at the end of one scene was immediately explored in the next scene. Well done, although I have an idea in the nitpicking section about how to make it even more fluid.

Third good thing: it's obvious that you've done your research on the guns you mention. I have a feeling that you're a fan of the sport, because you're pretty detailed. I'm enjoying the fact that it's pretty well thought-out.

Nitpicking:

1. Speaking of weapons and weapons training, there's something to keep in mind. If Tomo was trained by any branch of the police in Japan, or by the NPA, then she's already gone through at least 60 hours of weapons training. That's more than 6 times the mandatory minimum for police in the States (which is where Neville's from). It's believable that she is a bad shot and would do incredibly taboo things like pointing the gun at her foot in the shooting range, because cops don't use guns much at all in Japan. (Every year, cops fire only between 6 and 12 shots in total in Tokyo.) Once it all comes back to her, she should be pretty skilled with any type of gun Neville can throw at her. Then again, it's Tomo...

2. Speaking of Japanese police - how in the world did Tomo come across enough money to buy a Mercedes (or import one)? It's not really a nitpick, but it's got me wondering... This could be an interesting plot point down the road.

3. Plot points

Another thing that got me wondering - Smith's an official member of Interpol, right? That would generally mean that his access to any confidential FBI info would have been cut off. And wouldn't his accessing that information be recorded? Again, this isn't a nitpick so much as me wondering how this will fit into the story...

4. Section Breaks

This is actually the main nitpick that I would have here. Like I said before, you have a lot of scene changes here. You'll have Tomo and Neville walking along and discussing stuff, and then in the next paragraph, we'll have shifted to Smith's internal dialog. Then we shift back, transition naturally into Neville's internal dialog, and then jump through time and space to Neville and Smith's conversation.

I was able to figure out what was going on and didn't really have any questions. But I did feel that without something to indicate "Hey, we're changing times/ places/ characters," it was a little jarring. With an indication that we're changing times and places, it feels natural.

There's a lot of different ways to do this, and most of them are typographical. You don't have to change any of the text itself, but I might recommend adding section or page breaks. Some authors do this by adding "***" in between paragraphs where the scene changes. Others add a horizontal line. Berlioz II tends to use a cool little thing like this o0o. It's all your personal style and flourish.

5. Quick Character Question: Neville

I noticed a couple things about Neville's character in this story. He seems to be a pretty pensive guy. He reflects on his lack of a family, and on his history with Smith (24 year history). He also had that moment with the Ramen - is this all that he's accomplished? Finally, he reflects on those bad experiences in 1999 (I think it was). He seems pretty introspective and emotionally attuned, despite a wall of indifference he's tried to raise between he and everyone around him.

I find it odd for him to say that he hasn't really thought about his past. I find it interesting that he would say that. Was he trying to hide something, or does he actually believe that he doesn't think about the past?

Perhaps even more odd is that he isn't more attuned to Smith's drama. They went to school together and have known each other for 24 years. That's a long time to know someone! They should know every major sign that something is off, and possibly enough to figure out roughly what it is. On the other hand, Neville's ignorance might also indicate that Neville, while he can be attentive and intuitive, is a little too self-centered at the moment to really see what's going on here. Is that the case? In any case, it's not a nitpick, but just a general observation and question. If this seeming discrepancy leads to more character development, then it's all good. Otherwise, it seems to be a little out of character.

In any case, these nitpicks didn't distract too much from the story. It's good to keep them in mind when crafting future chapters though!

Again, great job overall, and still looking forward to new chapters!
Dr. Mason chapter 3 . 7/3/2010
This chapter is pretty well-written. I don't have a lot to say about it actually.

The Good:

The description is good. The imagery is vivid and the actions of the characters succeed in giving the chapter a cinematic feel. And some of the lines you had in there were crowning moments of awesome. My favorite line? "The guard looked into his eyes; they might as well have been the gates of Hell for all the sympathy they held." It brought back memories of Dante's Inferno - "Abandon all hope, ye who enter in." That was an excellent way to describe the eyes of the character and the moral attitude of the character himself. I have a feeling that, like the gates of Hell, once you know and work with this guy - there's go going back.

This chapter will also introduce a lot of intrigue, and character conflicts. Good stuff all around!

Nitpicks:

The real thing that I reflected upon was the climax of the chapter. The entire chapter, we have rising action building to the moment when the bad guy puts the picture frame into the skeet launcher and blasts it. The build up was good. There's hints to it and foreshadowing with the boss man enjoying a skeet shoot entirely too much. The climax fell a little flat though; I feel like the climax lost some of its impact through the description.

Why do I say that? The impact and climax depend upon the surprise of Smith seeing his family's picture, seeing it launched, and then seeing his family (and himself) metaphorically killed before his very eyes. The surprise needs to come quickly and be resolved just as quickly to retain its emotional impact. If it takes a long time for the surprising action to be executed, then it loses some of its impact. The reader will see what's coming, and then it's no longer a surprise, and that distance cuts off the emotional impact.

The moment the reader knows about the picture frame, they can see what's coming. The picture frame needs to be destroyed within the next couple of seconds of reading time in order to keep the maximum impact.

When the boss man presents the picture frame and double checks to see if Smith understands the situation, this does two things. The first is that it takes up that precious time and increases the distance between the surprise and the emotional impact. The second is it confirms to the reader exactly what was going to happen next, which makes it easier to cut off that emotional impact.

For this type of situation where you're depending upon a twist or surprise, I'd just recommend keeping all that in mind. For this passage, it would actually be easy to make the emotional impact you were going for. You would just have to delete from "Here give me that," to "Alright Smith." I think the interstitial material could be implied just as easily. The boss man would only choose to target Smith's family if Smith really cared for them. If Smith didn't care for them, then they wouldn't function as good leverage. Thus, it would be okay to assume that because Smith was a family man and valued his family as one of his top priorities, that he would quickly recognize the picture from his work desk, even at a distance. And we, as the audience, know what's coming as well, so the confirmation that Smith knows what the picture is could probably just be implied. As the boss man says a couple lines later, "I think that what will happen if [Smith] fail[s] is pretty self explanatory."

Other than that small issue, that scene was fantastic. Again, it was very cinematic, and even with the couple second delay, I still got the majority of the emotional impact.

2. Semi-colons

The only other thing is a terribly small matter, and I might not even mention it except you seem to pride yourself on good grammar and such.

I did notice with a sentence here or there where the use of a comma vs. a semi-colon/ colon was a little off. Here's the rule as I understand it. Semi-colons are used to connect two clauses that could stand on their own (independent clauses). A colon is used to connect two independent clauses, and the second clause must be directly related to the first clause or follow naturally from it. A comma can't do either of these because it's only used for connecting an independent clause with a dependent clause (a clause that couldn't stand on its own as a complete sentence).

For example, when you said

"No one would dare to attack this man, he couldn't be killed,"

both clauses could stand on their own.

No one would dare to attack this man.

He couldn't be killed.

So, we can't use a comma to separate it. We could use a semi-colon or a colon. The two clauses are related, so which one you use is a stylistic choice up to you.

Other than those two nitpicks, I'd say a job very well done! The chapter overall was tight, concise yet descriptive, and there were a couple of lines in there that I thought were just awesome. I'm looking forward to Smith's conflict and where the story takes this boss man!
962YearsOfDarkness chapter 9 . 7/1/2010
Almost time to attack! Yays! Still looks pretty good.
962YearsOfDarkness chapter 8 . 7/1/2010
Hey, your story seems pretty good so far. I can't really say much about Tomo or anything considering I only watched, like one episode, but to me, it seems cool.
Dr. Mason chapter 2 . 6/30/2010
Another good chapter! Lots of good to mention, and a couple things to keep in mind for the future.

Good stuff:

We get to see more about how Neville interacts with other characters, including one of his friends at the agency. We get more development in terms of where Neville is coming from emotionally, and we get a hint as to where he might be trying to accomplish.

Another gold star for the symbolism at the end. 'Nuff said.

Another gold star for you regarding the the "Let's just grab a handgun and end this now" interaction. I could see Tomo's frightened expression in my mind, and I got a good guffaw out of it. Nicely crafted.

Tomo is well written again, and in character. She doesn't learn too fast, does she? After Neville positions her hands, she obviously has the skill to fire steadily despite the recoil. And yet she can't make the adjustment herself and misses the next six shots. I smiled at that. Tomo hasn't changed much since high school.

I also like how the cast is shaping up to be international. Just be careful to balance stereotypical traits with ones that make the characters interesting. Cardboard cutout characters aren't necessarily a bad thing if we're only going to see them once or twice, but anything beyond that, and be sure to have at least one non-stereotypical trait that's interesting for the readers.

Now, for nitpicks:

1. He lost the argument?

I have to say, I was quite surprised by this. By all accounts, so was he. He even knew that she was pushing the boundaries, and I can't see him standing for that.

This also brings up the question again: why is he so adamant about driving the car, and never allowing Tomo to drive? Especially relevant since he let her drive right after their first meeting. Not a good precedent for Neville to be setting if he plans on enforcing his authority at some point!

2. Neville knew the Aussie?

Why did Tomo think that Neville knew Alexander? What was it that tipped her off? Was it Neville's posture; did he smile; was it just intuition on her part? The reason I bring this up is two-fold.

a. This would allow insight into Tomo's character. She obviously arrived at the right answer, but how she arrived at it would be interesting and helpful to know. If she's observant, that would come in handy; if she was intuitive but didn't know how to use her senses on command, then that would lead to a different dynamic in whatever conflict is coming up.

b. The other reason is a general rule of writing and film making: show, don't tell. I can't say that even I succeed at this all the time - it's really very difficult to pull off. Sometimes, if the plot requires a quick explanation, it may be better to tell the audience something. If there's no pressure to do that, though, it's a nice touch to describe what's going on and let the reader read between the lines and come to their own inference.

I think you tried to do this with the exchange where Neville fires the gun and hits the target 6 times in a row. He asks Tomo if she saw what he did. She responds in the affirmative. He then tells her to try again.

But the audience is left wondering: what exactly did Neville do? For all we know, he just shot the gun. Tomo can do that. What was the difference in technique that allowed him to hit the target with consistency? Tomo saw it, but we didn't. With a little extra description about what Neville is doing differently, it becomes a "show, don't tell" moment and offers additional insight into Neville's and Tomo's characters.

Last example here: the fact that Neville is germaphobic. Alexander lets us know about this, but we haven't seen anything that indicates that Neville is a germaphobe. Interesting character trait considering his profession...

Moving on!

3. Confusion regarding Neville's backstory.

Alexander lets us in on a big event in Neville's history: at some point, he was held at gunpoint and had to talk a criminal down. That's fricking incredible on Neville's part.

At this point, the reader makes the connection between what you said in Chapter 1 - this must be the incident in 1999 where everyone else died and he survived. That connection would explain a lot. The event would be incredibly scarring and would explain why he's uncomfortable around the job. He doesn't want to die and he doesn't want his friends to - he doesn't want to be put in that situation again. Makes sense and it's a skillful job at character development.

But then comes the scene where he's uncomfortable when Tomo's firing the .357. I have to say that I got a little bit confused why he was having a difficult time with that. A shotgun and a .357 are different in almost every way - from timbre and volume of sound to range to appearance. Why then does Neville have this reaction? This introduces three possibilities to the reader:

a. Neville is reminded of the event by any loud explosive noise. But if this were true, wouldn't he be crippled at his job and be the worst possible choice for a trainer? From what we've seen, this is what the Interpol SWAT has him do primarily, so that would be a really insensitive and overall bad choice on their part.

b. In the event in 1999, he was carrying a .357 on him and after winning the confidence of his assailant was forced to kill him and the rest of the assailant's team. Alone. This would certainly add to Neville's status as a BAMF, but if he's haunted by this, why does he choose this gun as a starting out point to train (especially if they never use it)? My only guess would be because he's punishing himself for whatever is haunting him from long ago.

c. The third option is that Neville was involved in i two /i hostage or life-threatening situations. One would be the shotgun incident, and the other was the .357 incident. But only one has been referenced thus far.

As readers, we don't know which of the three is right; can you see how it might be construed as ambiguous from our point of view?

Oh! I forgot to mention this in the other review, but it applies equally here, so I'll mention it. All of the nitpicks I'm mentioning are not necessarily plot holes or flaws in the story. These flaws are all illogical, but the world is an illogical place, right? They may actually enhance the reality of the world you're creating, but only if you explain why they're happening. The reason I was left with questions was not because the story/ characters made no sense. They may very well. It just requires a little more description to explain. For example, it's very possible that Neville would lose the argument about driving, as long as we know why he lost. It would make sense that Neville would pick a fight about driving, but only if we know why he's doing it. Bottom line: as you read through your story before you publish it, ask yourself "from a reader's perspective, what doesn't make sense?" Then take those elements and either change them or explain the confusion away. Make sense?

Again, well done chapter overall. You have some pretty good material to work with. Can't wait to see what you do with future chapters.
Dr. Mason chapter 1 . 6/30/2010
Hey! I have to say that I'm enjoying reading the story thus far. I've decided to review each chapter separately, so I can offer more detailed feedback. Fair warning here: I feel like this is a serious attempt and thus I will evaluate it as such. That being said, I'm going to pay closer attention to things than I have with your comedies.

On the whole though, I'm really enjoying the story thus far. There's not a lot for me to critique.

You've set up the characters well. I'm liking Neville - he has complex motivations and good room for growth. He's a man with many goals: he has yet to prove to himself that his work has meant anything, so he's driven to make a difference there. But the irony is that, ultimately, he measures success in non-work related ways: he considers true success to be measured by the development of a family. He's also had a difficult past - one that makes us question why he continues to work for the police if he's been scarred by the events of 1999. This gives a lot of insight as to why he's the unhappy curmudgeon he is at work, and insight into his future actions.

Similarly, I like the dynamic you've established between he and Tomo thus far. Tomo seems believable in the role - she's headstrong and just as stubborn as Neville is. Their conversation is one constant argument... and it's pretty funny. Do I see the beginnings of a buddy-cop pairing? Also, by the end of the argument, I think Tomo might get the impression that he's a stereotypical "arrogant American;" maybe she'll see now why America has a rocky foreign policy!

By the way, the "It fits my lifestyle... fast paced and risky." "Well, that's absolutely the worst response I've ever heard" exchange is one of the funniest things I've read on the site, and very in character for Tomo. Neville practically had to channel Yomi on that one. Gold star for you.

-

Now, onto other stuff I've noticed. Yes, a lot of these are nitpicks, but they did leave me with some questions.

1. The hiring of Tomo.

This isn't outside the realm of possibility, and actually, I could easily believe the history and charter of this group based on your description. It's very realistic. The UN had 3 during and after the Kosovo debacle: Team 6 (which I believe to be the inspiration behind your Interpol SWAT), Team Mike, and the Prisoner Escort Unit. Taking some liberty and creating an Interpol SWAT team is an awesome concept - and it would match Tomo's ambition rather well. However, I was slightly confused by their hiring practices.

Interpol has spent millions on SWAT and they've apparently not been used since their inception in 2001. Yet they have a force of 200 people? And they're continuing to hire and train individuals too? Actually, based purely on bureaucracy, I could believe that, but it's not exactly a logical policy for Interpol. My question as a reader is "Why are they still hiring?" This leads me to believe that something HUGE might be going down immediately before they're disbanded, and that's why they're still recruiting. But no one seems to have any indication that anything big will be happening... So, there's one thing to consider when writing future installments.

2. Neville picks an argument with Tomo.

The other big question I had was "Why did Neville even bring up whether Tomo had a car if he was determined to drive his anyway?" Is it that he just isn't good with people or conversation? Did he expect her to say no and then didn't have a good response for when she said yes? I know he has a slightly standoffish personality, but I guess I didn't see the rationale behind purposefully picking a fight with a new recruit. It's pretty obvious that he'd win whatever fight he'd pick with a new recruit based on seniority and his general negative disposition alone, right? So, was it a hazing thing? Was it just a long day at work and he wasn't thinking straight? I guess it seemed a little out of character to me, but then again, it's only the first chapter.

3. Is he training her, or evaluating her for hire?

Finally, there is some ambiguity as to whether he's interviewing or training Tomo. I know he says he's training her, but in the shooting range next chapter, he says he won't hire her unless she could hit the target. Then it appears that he continues to train her when she can't. So, he's just giving her a hard time? In any case, it's another question I had as a reader - what exactly is he doing?

Those are the three nitpicks I had. The only reason I make them and explain how I read the story is to make a point: writing is about anticipating what the reader is going to want to know and then writing about that. Maybe even explaining beyond that come to think of it. It's partially about anticipating their questions and answering them preemptively. Also, knowing how the reader thinks, or how they read your work critically, is essential to crafting a complete story. If you understand the audience's mind set and how they think, you can lead them down a plot and they'll have a much easier time suspending their disbelief. They'll also enjoy it more and enjoy the nuances of the plot! Hopefully, the insight in how I read the story critically will help you out in terms of writing to an audience.

I have to say that this is pretty polished stuff so far, and I'm liking it! Next chapter review up soon.

-Dr. Mason
Elred Bluegreen chapter 6 . 6/28/2010
"After you eat the friggin' sandwich!"

I'm going to start using that in real life now. Even if there's not a sandwich to be seen.
Elred Bluegreen chapter 3 . 6/26/2010
Meet the Bad Guys. (Bum bum bu-BAAAAAM!)
Elred Bluegreen chapter 2 . 6/24/2010
Neville sounds more like he's going through midlife crisis than job stress... Really good so far.