Ask Daphne! About My Query LXXXIX

Street_3_0082We made it to the final day! Thanks again for all your comments and helpful advice to the writers who offered their queries for review. I’m going to post one more query with my comments below, then a second query this afternoon where I’ll ask you to comment FIRST. Let’s do this thing, shall we?

Dear Daphne,

Finding dead bodies is not what journalist-turned-real estate investor Amanda O’Flannigan had in mind when she changed careers. All she wanted was a distraction from the recent death of her fiancé. A former tenant dying in her arms doesn’t do much to help her grief. As she investigates the man’s death, Amanda stumbles into a web of lies and half-truths.

Two convicts, who Amanda helped put away as a journalist, have escaped. Intent on torturing and killing her, they’re on a warpath to her doorstep. Are they responsible for the growing number of murders among Amanda’s tenants?

Enter Rick Pierce. He has been in love with Amanda for a decade. A year and a half after the tragedy of her fiancé’s death, Rick has worked up the nerve to tell Amanda how he feels. With Amanda caught up in the past as she races to stop the men who want her dead, how will Rick make her see their future together?

Homebody is a 94,000-word mystery set in the Kansas City metro.

My story “Title” won a short-story contest hosted by the blog AuthorCulture (authorculture.blogspot.com). I recently accepted a position as reviewer at [Book Review Site] (web address) and have previously served as program coordinator for my local Sisters in Crime chapter. I also maintain a blog at [address] where I discuss a variety of topics including books and writing.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
L.S.

I like where you’re going with this! I couldn’t help but notice, though, that the first paragraph contains the words dead, dying, or death in some form, in every sentence. If the tone you’re going for is that Jennifer Crusie-style, one-thing-after-another snowball effect, then I think you can play it up EVEN more. Otherwise, it seems too silly for the “web of lies and half-truths” that follows.

Because the next paragraph gets REALLY dark — we’ve got convicts, torturing and killing, the warpath, and murders. Whoa.

And how exactly does Rick Pierce “enter”? Is he one of Amanda’s tenants? Do you we need to mention Amanda’s fiance’s death again here? It almost seems like more than enough to say Rick’s been in love with her for 10 years, and leave out that he waited 18 months after her fiance’s death. Although, I’ll admit I’m beginning to have my suspicions of Rick. Has his love for Amanda turned deadly?

I think I want to see more of the connection between the convicts and the current crimes, and what that has to do with Amanda’s past. I’d also love some indication of how Amanda feels about the whole thing — it’s all about other people, and we have very little sense of your MC.

Finally, I don’t know if it’s necessary to call attention to the setting of your mystery, and even if you want to “the Kansas City metro” seems a little awkward.

But maybe that’s just me. It would likely be a draw if you were submitting to local Kansas City agents or publishers, at least. Thoughts?

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