Guess the Plot
Prey for the Church
1. Gay people, rational thought, those who ask too many questions, gay people...
2. A devout Evangelical Protestant goes undercover at the census bureau and changes the choices for 'religion' on the form to 'Christian' and 'hell-bound heathen', only to find his plans thwarted by an angelically blonde Episcopalian data-entry clerk. Can they overcome their differences and find love amid the printouts?
3. In 1964 Jack Singleton discovers he can use a certain red telephone booth in London as a time-travel machine. Life is stimulatingly dangerous as he revisits different parts of the 20th century, but when a glitch propels him back to 1376, he stands amid the scattered fragments of his ruined booth and realizes he's in veeeeery deeeeeep s**t.
4. When Stevie and Bill find smelly old bones in the grass, they realize the haunted church is carnivorous!! It ate a dog! They flee to safety, and don't cross the street again until it occurs to them that perhaps they can be rid of cruel teenager Jack McDaniels, if they can only convince him to stray too close and become . . . prey for the church!!
5. When attendance falls at Pineview's Sunday school, the Reverend Mackenzie takes action, sending his elite squad into the streets and playgrounds of the surrounding countryside to bring lost sheep of ages 4-12 back into the fold.
6. Three priests have been shot in the head, and the beloved bishop is the chief suspect. It's up to one intrepid reporter, with the help of a handsome butler and a band of Euro-brats, to solve the case before the Pope finds out what's going on.
Re: Pederasty, the Catholic Church and Murder in PREY FOR THE CHURCH, a mystery novel by ______________
Dear Ms. ______________:
Chaz Kennedy quit the Boston Globe because she wanted to change things, not write about them. [Way too vague. The only specific is the Globe, and she no longer works there. I'm much more interested in her future plans than her previous job. What does she want to change? Does she have a new job lined up? Compare that to this: Chaz Kennedy quit the Boston Globe and joined Greenpeace because she wanted to sink Norwegian whaling vessels.]
Sailing along the Charles River in her tiny sailboat on the first day of her vacation, after putting away a bunch of nasty perps who sold pets to labs, [She quit the Globe to become Ace Ventura, Pet Detective?] Chaz enjoys the perfect weather that Boston serves up in June. When a big boat's wake throws her overboard, she surfaces nose to nose with a floater in priest's clothing. A bullet hole in the white bloated forehead doesn't help. [Doesn't help what?]
Meanwhile, a beautiful Indian activist is attacked in her hotel. Boston's premier defense attorney wants to hire Chaz to find out who and why. Chaz insists her vacation is more important than another job, until the police arrest her great uncle, the much beloved Bishop Kennedy, for murder when he is found giving the last rites two more priests with bullet holes in their foreheads. [Was the much beloved bishop holding the holy oil in one hand and the murder weapon in the other? What makes them think he shot them?]
Indian activists out to avenge the children abused by priests in Church run boarding schools, a wacko Internet cult of religious conservative vigilantes and elements within the Church itself, all have reason to want her uncle, the bishop dead. [However, he's still alive, so it's a little early to be thinking about who killed him.]
When he disappears from his jail cell before Chaz bails him out, [I know Massachusetts is easy on criminals, but do they really grant bail to people they believe shot three priests in the head?] [Although admittedly the bishop isn't a flight risk like a cardinal would be. Ba dum ching.] she is led on a frantic search that leads to a bizarre religio-military execution scene. [Nothing says vacation from hell like bizarre religio-military execution scene.]
Because widespread pederasty in the Catholic Church and the efforts to cover it up are still in the headlines, I thought this would be a good time to sell my work. [Anytime is a good time to sell your work if you're successful.]
Here are a few more elements to my story.
· The beautiful Native American (Canadian) comes to town to demand an apology from Boston's Cardinal, but the sniper's rifle hidden under her bed indicates another agenda. [It indicates she may soon be involved in a bizarre religio-military execution scene.]
· The elaborate Internet cult of priest abuse survivors runs its own bank and sets about wreaking private vengeance on abuser priests with money it gets from exploiting former abuse victims. [They are the former abuse victims.] [Whattaya mean, "wreaking vengeance"? Shooting them in the foreheads?]
· People suspect that the now dead Archbishop, [Bullet hole in the forehead?] her uncle's former boss, knew of the abuse. But his vile notebooks of the crimes were never found. [How do we know they're vile?] As his executor, Chaz's uncle, Bishop Kennedy, may have them. [Check the drawer in his bedside table.]
· That diary is worth a fortune to those eager to cash in on the Church's perfidy, but also to the Church, to prevent its publication. [By "that diary," singular, do you mean "his vile notebooks," plural?]
· The Big Dig, a massive public works project, forces Chaz and the villains to use water routes around the city, adding a new dimension to chases. [The dimension of water.] [Travel by boat is new only when measured against the age of the universe.]
· Defense attorney Erskine Villard III, his handsome French butler, and his band of Euro-brats give Chaz a hand. [Careful, this is turning into a comedy.] [If it's a comedy, change the title to: Who is Killing the Great Pederast Priests of Boston?] [Although your title is pretty funny too.]
Naturally, [Naturally?] there are a number of murders, chases on land and sea, and an intro to a cool new series character, Chaz Kennedy, brave, gun slinging, computer savvy, intrepid and sexy.
I was raised in Boston with priests and nuns in my family. [Sounds like a fun household.
Father O'Hara: What's that on the television, boy?
Author: Charlie's Angels, Father.
Father O'Malley: Turn it off and drop your pants. Sister Catherine, bring us our whips.]
I have read a great deal on the subject of pederast priests. I am angered and saddened by the situation that still unfolds in the news, yet know from my research that it's been known a long time.
I have made my living as a journalist, humorist, and radio news reporter and radio talk show host, on the air in Los Angeles, and nationally, as a commentator on the daily business show, Marketplace.
I hope you will consider representing me, uniquely qualified as I am to cover this explosive material.
What is Chaz, a freelance reporter? A private detective? The fact she just "put away some perps" makes me think cop. But a cop wouldn't have vacation coming already. How long ago did she quit the Globe?
Your murder suspects seem to be Indian activists out to avenge the children abused by priests in Church-run boarding schools, a wacko Internet cult of religious conservative vigilantes and elements within the Church itself. Have you considered making it one abused person, the cult leader, and one misguided person out to avenge the Church for its damaged reputation? Wouldn't it feel more personal with individual suspects instead of conspiracies?
You make it sound like nonfiction, like you're blowing the lid off a scandal, when you talk about actual pederast priests and call your material "explosive." It's a novel. The subject may be somewhat timely, but the editor/agent knows this without being told.
It's too long. We don't need the weather in June or the lab animals. We don't need the list of other elements. Only the vile notebooks are interesting, but as the archbishop wasn't even mentioned in the plot summary, maybe they aren't that important. I'd start with something like:
When investigative reporter Chaz Kennedy falls overboard while sailing on the Charles River, she surfaces nose to nose with a floater in priest's clothing. The bullet hole in his forehead suggests that this was more than just a baptism gone bad. And when the cops find Chaz's great uncle, Bishop Kennedy, administering last rites to two more priests who've been shot in the head--and arrest the bishop for murder--Chaz cuts her vacation short and starts a big dig into the evidence.Then work in the motive: they were all pederast priests. And a few suspects. That's plenty for a murder mystery query.