Friday, July 08, 2016

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured most recently here would like your opinion of the version below.

Mr. Evil Editor:

Ten years ago Leah watched as her husband was murdered by a man who was never identified or caught. Now a detective, she still has nightmares of watching her husband murdered, of feeling him die in her arms. She still wakes up screaming. [A better opening, and a better name than Lee. You should include her last name. It leaves me wondering if she was a police officer ten years ago or if she became one because of this event. I'm not crazy about "watched as her husband was murdered" in sentence 1 being followed by "watching her husband murdered" in sentence 2. You can delete the phrase in the second sentence. Or you could try:

A decade later, police detective Leah Chase still has nightmares. Her husband dying in her arms, murdered by an assailant who was never identified. She still wakes up screaming.

One day she’s given the job of catching a killer no one thinks can be caught. [I don't buy that no one thinks he can be caught. You're basically saying the powers that be are dumping a murder case on Leah because why waste our top detectives on a criminal who can't be caught? That would not play well with the people of Columbus, and the press would savage the department. With a serial killer active, any murder case would be top priority.] [Also, "One day" is not a good start to the sentence. It's better than "Once upon a time," but I'd go with :

When Leah is assigned a high-profile murder case, she (wonders if she's in over her head/wonders if her quarry might be the man who killed her husband/sees this an a career-making opportunity/whatever).]  

During the investigation, Leah meets [interviews] Harry Finch [, whose murdered son may have been a victim of the same killer she's hunting.] He asks her to coffee, then dinner. Leah worries she’s not ready for this new relationship they begin. [Not ready because it's only been ten years since her husband died?] And Leah is surprised her young daughter doesn’t seem to like Harry. [Is this a daughter by her ten-years-dead husband? I'd give her age rather than say "young." Or leave her out of the query.] But Leah and Harry’s friendship begins to grow into something more.

The murderer continues to kill using ever more brutal methods. [The murderer Leah was assigned to capture, or the serial killer? Or are they the same person? It's not clear whether she was assigned the serial killer case or an isolated murder case. In other words, does she fall for the serial killer while hunting the serial killer or while hunting another murderer? I find it hard to believe there's a prolific serial killer at work and they gave the entire case to Leah instead of calling in the FBI and putting several of their detectives on it.] As the bodies pile up, Harry and Leah fall in love. In a final clash, Leah is forced to confront not only other forces that want her dead, [You force us to ask what other forces want her dead. Since you don't tell us, you're better off not bringing them up at all.] but Harry, the man she loves. Harry, the serial killer. [I'd rather see an ending in which Leah discovers evidence that leads her to suspect the worst about Harry and leave their "final clash" for the book.]

JUSTICE BETRAYED is complete at 81,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration. A partial or full manuscript is available on request.



It's a better query than the previous versions. Most of my comments can be dealt with without much work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is better, but also makes me wonder if the author has done enough research about real-life crime investigations. Hopefully this is just part of the confusion EE mentioned. If it isn't, please do more research and make sure the details make sense. It doesn't need to read like a police procedural, but fans of the genre are going to be disappointed by incorrect/unrealistic details which can lead to disappointing sales for a crime writer.