Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #15

Dear Agent,

When attempting to topple a crime boss you think is framing your wife for murder and your son for arson, it would be a good idea to check that they're not on his payroll. Doubting their innocence is another stumbling block. In IS THERE A WITCH DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (Adult Mystery, 80,000 words), a satire of our greatest American pastimes: baseball, fame, gambling, adultery, murder, motherhood, fatherhood, and political corruption, our reigning pop idol is the son of the crime family Lou believes responsible for poisoning his pal and setting fire to the club they owned together. But Lou’s son is in the idol’s band and Lou’s former radical wife is wanted for questioning by the corrupt chief of police. Though Lou suspects his wife is guilty of many things, murder has not been high on the list. Until she mysteriously disappears, along with their son. Then Lou must confront his doubts while he fights to save his family, as only an out of shape, unemployed, former high school pitcher can.



At two minutes to noon, two weeks before Christmas, Lou Cooper was summoned into his boss’s office at Marvelous Memories, Inc. in Durham Crossing, Connecticut, where he’d toiled in pleasant anonymity for the past twenty five years writing catalog copy. There he was given two choices. He could take the generous package they offered, or be escorted from the building by security without benefit of fifty weeks of severance pay. Twenty minutes later, after choosing the former, he entered Gwen’s Styling Salon for his regular monthly trim, giddy and disoriented.

“I am now presiding over the waning days of my hair,” he announced as he stumbled toward the backless shampoo seat. “Why don’t you gimme a buzz cut,” he then told Gwen. “And, what the h***, let’s dye it blond.”

With an unexpected afternoon off--with perhaps the rest of his life off--Lou decided this would be the perfect opportunity to look in on Crunchtime, the heavy metal nightclub into which he and his wife had just sunk a boatload of money. Maybe he could persuade the owner, Hank Saunders, to offer him the Crunchtime account to launch his nascent PR firm, or an assistant manager position, or a role as part-time bartender or even a gig as talent scout. Gunning his eighteen-year-old Zephyr toward a familiar forbidden crossroads of a district no assemblyman had ever claimed, almost out of Bordenville but not quite East Ferry, Lou was more excited than he’d been in a dozen years.


Unknown said...

Interesting premise. Lots of twists and turns for the hero to navigate. For me, I get a Twin Peaks sort of vibe, loved that show! Sounds like a fun read.

Unknown said...

This query letter reads too much like the back jacket of a novel. I don't have a clear enough sense of why a publisher should publish this book. What makes this book stand out? Also, I don't know anything about the writer. I would like a short bio telling me of writing experience, publications, conferences, etc. The opening is also very slow. There is too much exposition.

Ben Langhinrichs said...

The query starts well, but gets a bit lost in the middle. I couldn't figure out whether our reigning pop idol referred to the main character or somebody else. I also think it is inadvisable to describe it as a satire on all those things. Perhaps you could break it out and say it later as "a satirical look at America's favorite pastimes" or something like that. I think you've got the premise, but need to make it clearer.

As for the opening, it is more of an info dump and gives me less sense of the character than before. Is he shocked by being let go? Maybe his is, but you also say he was never more excited. If that is true, why not lead off with a "he didn't see it coming, but he couldn't have been happier" scene. As an agent, I think I'd like the premise and possibilities, but pass on the execution.

The Agent said...

The query confuses me. it just throws all sorts of info against the wall, and that is too much work for me when I am checking tons of queries. Thus, I would pass after reading the one paragraph.

Jessi said...

I also had trouble following the query, but I did want to let you know that I love your title!