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  1. #1
    L. J. Kottke
    Guest

    Critique please. Take one.

    I know these are starting to sound alike, but this is the last mystery for which I am trying to form a coherent query. Does this work? Thanks.

    LJ

    Dear Agent:

    Sid Langdon, a newly licensed private investigator scrambling to pay his rent, is approached by an insurance agent whose client has filed a million dollar claim for stolen jewelry. The recovery fee would pay Sidís rent for the next ten years.

    The theft was discovered during an audit following the death of the clientís grandfather, presumably of a heart attack. Sid agrees to look into the matter and starts with the client, an emotionally fragile young girl still haunted by the deaths of her parents several years before. Although her grandfather was an old man, she suspects his death may not have been a heart attack, and now with her jewels missing, she wonders if the two events are connected.

    Sid wades through suspects with motive and opportunity, finally uncovering the link--blackmail. But was the old man already dead when the safe was opened, or did theft escalate to murder?

    At 50,000 words, DEATH COMES CALLING tells a sordid tale of adultery and conspiracy among the manicured lawns of an exclusive enclave.

    Full synopsis and additional chapters available upon request.

    Thank you for your attention



  2. #2
    Finnley Wren
    Guest

    Re: Critique please. Take one.

    Broken record time Ė "struggling to pay his rent" is just not compelling! All of us struggle to pay our rent!

    Sid Langdon, a newly licensed private investigator with Tiffany taste but a Walmart income . . .

    Sid Langdon, a newly licensed private investigator with a penchant for the fillies and an eye for the ladies . . .


    Ah, well. Had to drop it anyway in my re-worked version below because the sentence was just way too long.

    Not sure I'm really happy with what I've come up with either, but it may give you an idea or two.


    Dear Agent:

    Sid Langdon, a newly licensed private investigator, is approached by an insurance agent whose client has filed a million dollar claim for jewelry that went missing following the death of the client's grandfather. The recovery fee alone would pay Sidís rent for the next ten years.

    After eagerly accepting the case, he starts with the claimant, an emotionally fragile young girl still haunted by the deaths of her parents several years before. Although her grandfather was an old man, she suspects his death may not have been a heart attack. Now, with her jewels missing, she wonders if the two events are connected.

    Sid wades through suspects with motive and opportunity, finally uncovering the link--blackmail. But was the old man already dead when the safe was opened? Or did theft escalate to murder?

    At 50,000 words, DEATH COMES CALLING tells a sordid tale of adultery and conspiracy among the manicured lawns of an exclusive enclave.

    Full synopsis and additional chapters available upon request.

    Thank you for your attention

  3. #3
    Denise G
    Guest

    Re: Critique please. Take one.

    This is a novel I would want to read, but the query lost my attention because all of the sentences are much too long. I am also guilty of writing long sentences.

    How about this for the first paragraph? I want to show you what I mean, I can show you better than I can explain. (I'm just doing this quickly, not trying to out do your writing, just want to give you some ideas about how to shorten it.)

    Sid Langdon is a newly licensed private eye. After months of struggling to pay his rent, Sid has finally landed his first case. If he can recover $1,000,000 in stolen jewelry, Sid Langdon will never have to worry about the rent again.

  4. #4
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Critique please. Take one.

    The problem I see with this is, you don't show why your story is different from all the other detective-hired-to-solve-a-case-was-it-really-murder episodes of thousands of tv shows and hundreds of pulp fiction novels. If there's something unique about your character, or the main villain, or some new twist on the genre, you need to punch it up. It may be your voice that's different, but that doesn't show in the query, which sounds rather lackluster in its tone, until your last paragraph, re: "...sordid tale of adultery etc..." Also, 50,000 words sounds a little on the short side for crime stories; around 80k seems to be the norm.

  5. #5
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Critique please. Take one.

    By the way, have you heard from the agent who requested the 50 pages?

  6. #6
    L. J. Kottke
    Guest

    Re: Critique please. Take one.

    Finnley - can I help it I talk 'struggling to pay his rent'? This is the last time you will see the dreaded phrase--next we do my westerns!

    Jayce - phooey on the 50 pager--I got a request for the whole thing and so far no news is good news.

    I also was concerned about the length. Will see what I can do, but I am so sick of going over these I can hardly see at all. But you're right.

    Will rework this when I have plumped it up some; but I don't seem to be really far off.

    Thanks to all.

    LJ

  7. #7
    Richard French
    Guest

    Re: Critique please. Take one.

    I liked it eventhough it seemed short. I was looking for a little more inforation about Sid. Why does need the money, why is he new to the business, why would he get a case like this? Maybe that's good because I want more inforation but I think the agents are going to want more also.

    good luck

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