Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Query Crit #2

Dear Awesome Agent,

Her testimony put them in prison. Now they're out... and seeking revenge.

Wherever Amanda O'Flannigan goes, trouble follows. Soon after her testimony puts two murderers away for life, she ditches her career as a journalist in Wichita, beginning anew as a real estate investor in Kansas City. With the ink barely dry on her letters of incorporation, Amanda walks into a routine inspection... and trips over a dead body.

Would've been nice if those she helped put away had stayed behind bars. Now the two escaped cons are in Kansas City on a killing spree. And they've put Amanda in their crosshairs.

HOMEBODY is a 90,000-word mystery with series potential.

My short story "Family Reunions Are Murder" appears in the April 2012 issue of "Over My Dead Body" online mystery magazine. I'm a regular contributor to Christian Children's Book Review (, have previously served as program coordinator for my local Sisters in Crime chapter, and hold an Associates in Journalism.


  1. I think your query can be expanded some more to include more details because right now it does not really stand out among other novels that may tackle a similar plot line. How dangerous are the people she put away? How did she become involved in whatever crime they committed? Why does she ditch her career and move if she put them away for life? I don't feel like I know enough about Amanda and the conflict she's dealing with so I think you should add more details to make it sound more enticing.

  2. I agree with A.J. about details. Maybe explain more about the murderers. Do they kill people in a particular way? The plot is well-presented, but the query needs something more to really catch the eye.

  3. Great first line. It hooked me. :)

  4. I agree with Rachel. The first line was amazing. It definitely pulled me to your query. I also think, though, that a little bit of detail about (1) the murder she witnessed and (2) Amanda's personality would make the query stronger. I can tell that Amanda wants peace and quiet, and that's why she probably left her job as a journalist, but what is her personality like? Is she a strong, Katniss type of girl? Is she always going to be the 'journalist' wherever she goes, even if she tries to walk away from her roots? Is she oblivious to most of what happens around her? Maybe pointing out her personality traits would set the mood for this query. Best of luck!! :)

  5. My first thought was who? As soon as I started I wanted to know those details. I think if you expanded a little, you'd have a killer query.
    Sorry couldn't resist! : )

  6. Personally, I love short queries that get right to the point. I think of them as what you'd see on the back cover. I could totally see this on the back of a book. I think you've created a nice voice also. If you do decide to add more, I'd say it shouldn't be more than an extra sentence or two. Good luck!

  7. Thank you, everyone!

    This is my query. I'm taking your comments under advisement. I've wondered if it's too short, but I'm not 100% sure what to add yet to lengthen it, even if it's to share a bit about my MC. It would probably be about the fact she was approached as a journalist by the victim/acquaintance whose murder trial she testified in, but this is all backstory, then again, it shows how strong she is, too. (Of course, I'd word it better than this!)

  8. This is an excellent start - great voice, great setup. I think what's missing, for me, is more about what actions Amanda takes. We know her life is at stake, but that's so commonplace in books that it comes off as vague despite being the ultimate stake. Are there other stakes/conflicts that could be teased out to help us connect with her more in the query? Bring those out, then tell us what she DOES. The part about moving to another city sounds like backstory, so we need a little more about the present.