Monday, March 26, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #11

Genre: YA Historical Thriller
Word Count: 80,000


June, 1923. Seventeen-year-old Tiny Coniello works for her father’s smalltime bootlegging operation near Detroit, running Canadian whiskey across Lake St. Clair and delivering it in their suburban neighborhood. She only gets to keep the tips, but every cent helps: college in New York City won’t be cheap, and every dime her father makes ends up lining the pockets of his bookie. But when a gangster in Detroit’s exploding organized crime scene kidnaps her father and threatens her family, Tiny has to come up with the ten thousand dollar ransom in one week or kiss her father and their profitable operation goodbye. Desperate, Tiny turns to the one person who might be able to help her get the money: irritating, street-smart Joey Lupo. But deciding whom to trust isn’t easy when everyone has ulterior motives and no one cares about breaking the law.

THE BOOTLEGGER’S DAUGHTER is about temptation, trust, and ambition, best described as equal parts Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY and BOARDWALK EMPIRE, with a shot of Stephanie Plum. It was inspired by research for a local magazine article about rumrunning on Lake St. Clair.

First 250:

June 8th, 1923

I never thought of myself as a criminal. Just a girl trying to stay one step ahead. That wasn’t easy in a business dominated by men, most of them bullies, scoundrels, or thieves. I met plenty who were all three in my racket, which was bootleg whiskey. Not an ordinary summer job for a girl my age, but the last thing I wanted to be was ordinary.

“Tiny! Delivery!” Aunt Marie shouted. I’d come out to the alley behind her neighborhood grocery store to sneak a smoke, but I had one foot wedged in the door to the stock room, where I was supposed to be unpacking boxes of Kellogg’s Shredded Krumbles and Toasted Corn Flakes. After one last drag on my cigarette, I threw it down into the dust and ground it out with the heel of my scuffed black oxford. I hated to waste half a Chesterfield, but deliveries meant tips—and tips meant tuition money. After a quick glance in each direction to make sure nobody had seen me, I slipped back inside.

At the counter, Aunt Marie was filling two brown paper sacks with groceries. “How many boxes did you unpack?”

“Um, two.” I slipped off the white Gianetti’s Market apron and hung it up behind the counter.

“That’s it?” As I got closer to her, she picked her head up and sniffed the air. Her brown eyes went beady. “Have you been smoking again?”

“No,” I lied. “One of Daddy’s customers was, and I was helping to load his car out back.”


  1. Um, yes. This sounds totally awesome. Could I read your manuscript?

  2. Sounds terrific! Please send the first three chapters to with the subject heading: Cupid's Literary Connection: The Bootlegger's Daughter.

    Thanks! Carly

  3. I agree, this book sounds fresh and intriguing. I love the voice and the plot is right up my alley. Please send the complete manuscript and the full synopsis in word doc attachments to gpanettieri at talcottnotch dot net. Thanks and I look forward to seeing it!

  4. LOVE. IT. This is a historical time period I adore and I like the hook a lot. Please email me the full ms + synopsis as attachments at laura at bradfordlit dot com. Please note in the subject line that it is an Agent Invasion submission. Wheeee!

  5. I love your premise--such a great combination. I'm not crazy about the opening pages though. There's a good voice here, but it feels a little telling/forced.