Starting to get feedback on "Takeover." The person who I was certain would insist on having more action in the first half of the book thought it was "excellent."

Writer's group, and two other readers thought the first half was too slow.

Duncan and Linda like the book the way it is.

But those three votes against can't be ignored.

So I'm not sure what to do.

I do know I don't want to mess up "Takeover" by screwing around with it too much. As I always say, adding and subtracting are fine. Moving things around, not so much.

I think the conflict in the first half of the book is interpersonal rather than "action" thriller type conflict. I'm trying to be realistic, setting up the ending. But I don't know how long I can impose on the reader. 

But I can see how the story might benefit by bringing some of the action up sooner in the book. If I add, say, 3000 words of new story, I can cut 3000 words that maybe aren't working as well.

Bringing up the hostage situation earlier, having one of the characters murdered earlier, both of those might add to the tension long enough to keep people's interest. But this would require changing the plot, moving things around, which is always really really dangerous for me. I mean, I can keep the version I have untouched for now, and test a new version.

Without a doubt, the idea of the FBI trying to attack earlier makes sense (and fits with the "hostage" scenario.) And I also think conflict between the original occupiers and the Nazi's is a good idea.

Bringing in earlier murder as a flashback toward the beginning of the story is more of a judgement call. It would remove some of the mystery, but then...I'm not sure it was much of mystery. That is, it would reveal one of the characters to be a villain, but I think that might be all right if the reader knows but the characters don't. Might create a bit of tension.

My feeling is that the first half of the book needs about 4 beats of action that it doesn't have, and needs about 2 beats of non-action taken out. That's pretty vague, but feels about right.

I didn't really want a situation with this book where I fuck it up by trying to fix it too much.
Without messing with the story. Which I'm not sure is possible.

I'm waiting until all the feedback is in before making any decisions.