Shoes that look like they would kill your feet (courtesy of Go Fug Yourself and Posh Spice) for Rena, who sends along her thriller query for our review. (See what I just did there? “Kill”er shoes? I’m so witty!):
Normal people don’t catalog their neighbors by age, sex and race. But when Katherine’s son is killed and the murderer never found, she does just that.
The loss of her son causes Katherine to suffer from psychotic episodes: she hallucinates, experiences thought disorder, and is unable to remember whole days at a time.
Soon she discovers that her psychotic episodes are not only related to her son’s murder but to a family secret: when she was six-years old she found her brother, murdered, and it turns out he was brutalized in the same way as her son. Now that she remembers her past, she is convinced that her son and brother were killed by the same man.
Determined to find the murderer, she devotes her life to studying similar murder cases, and her obsession destroys her relationship with her husband David.
Frankie Jensen knows the man that killed Katherine’s son; in fact, the killer and Frankie belong to the same online community, The Convent. Frankie has something else on his mind — Cindy, the 12-year old from the community center where he volunteers.
Katherine finds the man, James Collins, who murdered her son and brother, and enacts revenge. Her husband David, realizing what she’s done, leaves her but promises to not turn her over to the police. She is contacted by Jon Wang, a man who she’d befriended at a conference months ago. After inferring from their conversations that she killed Collins, Jon asks the impossible of her: will she help him kill the priest that molested his daughter and caused her suicide. Once she had helped him with the priest’s murder, Jon reveals to her that he’s discovered other pedophiles through a website he hacked (The Convent). Katherine is eager to kill them all, and Jon is just as willing. And one of the men top on their list is Frankie Jensen.
Complete at approximately 100,000 words, JUST CAUSE is a crime novel that follows two grieving parents bent on revenge. The first three pages are attached for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Wow, that’s… that’s a LOT of information. I would say too much, for sure.
You need to focus on the flap copy aspect of your query information. How much of the book would you want given away on the jacket of the printed edition? Would you really want to tell perspective readers that the main character kills someone? Multiple people, actually? You allude to it so glibly here, when I feel like it should be something hinted at for much longer.
Then, you introduce a lot of characters in these paragraphs. Are they all necessary? Whose name can you leave out? Cindy? James? David? I would say all of them.
If the main pitch of your book is “two grieving parents bent on revenge” then you need to excise any information in your query that doesn’t support this. If there’s information that you want to convey that doesn’t fit with this log line, maybe the log line is wrong.
Readers, what are your thoughts?