All month long we’ve been celebrating the fathers in MG, YA, and NA books by having guest authors share father scenes from their novels. Today’s guest is Charles Suddeth, author of the YA thriller novel Experiment 38. This sounds like a fascinating story. If it appeals to you, buy links are below. And please feel free to scroll on back and read some of the other guest author posts from the month and leave a comment.
Eighteen-year-old Emily, small for her age, lives alone with her scientist-father and learns too late that he holds a terrible secret, one that might destroy her life.
As she and her boyfriend, Nate, try to unravel the mystery behind her father’s secret, they face danger and uncertainty.
Her dad. More memories flooded her mind. Emily had been maybe six or seven, and the odor of rubbing alcohol had stung her nose. Weasel and two men wearing lab coats and carrying metal boxes visited her at home. Her dad leaned against the wall, staring at them while she sat on a kitchen chair. Weasel stood between her and her dad, perhaps to keep her dad from interfering.
The first man asked her questions: Did she get dizzy or sick to her stomach? Could she sleep and eat okay? Did she have trouble with bleeding or pain? She told him she didn’t have any problems. He made a face and jotted in his notebook. Weasel read the notebook and scowled, but her dad grinned as if he’d won a contest.
The second man asked her if she knew her name.
She giggled and said, “Course, I do. Emily Watkins.”
He told her to count to ten. She counted, and then she recited her ABC’s. He scribbled in his notebook again and showed it to Weasel, but Weasel waved him off. Her dad looked Weasel in the eye, but he didn’t speak to Weasel.
The first man used a syringe to take a blood sample from her arm. The needle smarted until she could barely hold still. She whimpered, but he put a bandage over the spot of blood.
“Hold still,” said the first man. “Now I’m going to give you a shot to keep you from hurting.”
He gave her an injection in her chest, and then he bored into her collarbone with a metal hand tool. She squirmed and screamed at the top of her voice.
“I told you to hold still. I’m trying to take a bone marrow sample,” he barked.
She didn’t know what that meant, but she slid out of the chair and lay face down on the floor, panting as if out of breath.
He lifted her back into the chair. “Don’t give me any more trouble,” he hollered.
“I don’t like you,” she yelled.
The second man knelt close to her, his nose almost bumping her nose. “Nobody asked you.”
“Stop!” Her dad jumped toward her, but Weasel grabbed her dad’s arm. Her dad backed off and stood a few feet away. Her dad trembled, but he didn’t take his eyes off Weasel.
The man finished taking the bone marrow sample. She wailed and tried not to curl into a ball. As soon as the three men had left, her dad hugged and kissed her.
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Charles Suddeth was born in Indiana, grew up Michigan, and has spent his adult life in Kentucky. He lives in Louisville with his two cats. He is a graduate of Michigan State University. He belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, International Thriller Writers, and Green River Writers. He likes to spend his days hiking and writing in nearby Tom Sawyer State Park.
Books: Halloween Kentucky Style, middle readers, 2010. Neanderthal Protocol, thriller, 2012. Experiment 38, New Adult thriller, 2015. Eighth Mask, mystery, 2015. Spearfinger, picture book, fall 2015.
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.