Mar 18, 2009


A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Julie Mc Nally has a lot to learn about being a cop in a predominately male world of police enforcement. She is the rookie detective with the Pittsburgh P.D. partnering with seasoned Detective Ross Maddox. When a kidnapped seven-year-old boy is accidentally killed in a police shootout, the entire community anxiously awaits the outcome of the evidence findings. Had this young boy died at the hand of Julie or her wounded partner Ross Maddox? Julie, herself, is unsure of the answer. When Maddox dies, most of the cops believe it was Julie’s bullet that killed the boy, and they intend to make life difficult for her.

Since none of the other detectives are willing to partner with her, Julie is challenged to bring in suspects single-handedly. And, her requests for backup are mostly ignored. Each day Julie must face the mounting pressure that she cannot trust or depend on her fellow cops. The situation comes to a breaking point when she is asked to assist in an interrogation. She is left alone with the suspect who attacks her, as her fellow detectives watch from the two-sided mirror.

To make matters worse, Julie finds her attorney boyfriend, Nick Falco, in bed with one of his clients. This looks like the right time to get out of town for Julie.

Her requests for transfer are denied, but she is assigned to assist with the nearby Bradford P.D., where she is paired with Michael Nolan, the town’s most sought after male. Working together they manage to catch thieves, burglars, and even nudists. The department nicknames them ‘Hot & Spicy’. They learn to trust and depend on each other.

When they are assigned to the embezzlement case against Bradford’s former mayor, they discover he was part of a highly classified government program. The ‘Crowe Project’ is such a guarded secret that those involved are willing to commit murder to avoid exposure. The investigation takes Julie and Michael to Las Vegas where they are aided by Michael’s police academy friend, Josh Kelly, and a stripper named Roxy, who is we learn is Michael’s estranged wife.

My 70,000-word womens' fiction titled JULIE’S JUXTAPOSITION, explores just how strong and resourceful a woman must be in a predominately male world of police departments.

I am in the Information Technology field and have authored procedural/technical white papers. If you would like to consider JULIE'S JUXTAPOSITION, I'd be happy to forward the complete manuscript to you.



Rick Daley said...

You have a number of plot arcs that you describe in the query, and I think you primary story line gets lost in the shuffle.

Are there two distinct stories, the first with the shooting and her partner Maddox, which seems to have its own beginning, middle and end, and then her pairing with Nolan and the pursuit of the Crowe Project? Or is the former exposition/set up for the latter?

You describe this as Women's Fiction, but it reads as much like Suspense/Thriller, especially when the Croew Project is introduced.

Try to focus on the heart of the plot and describe it in a sentence. Then expand that sentence to 150 words without going into sub-plots and a full synopsis.

Judy said...

The first thing I noticed is the length. There is alot of name dropping and sub-plots not needed here.
Also, there are a few grammar/punctuation errors.

I think, though I am not sure, that the real plot might be with the Bradford mayor and the 'Crowe Project.' If this is the case start your query from this point, then spin it from there.

I think the first sentence of your first paragraph you can keep, but then you can say something like- When circumstances become out of control, Julie is forced to assist the Bradford P.D. ...blah blah.


The ms sounds fascinating. Just trim this query down as Rick suggested.

Best of luck!

pulp said...

Does this fit on one page--with business heading and your contact info??

The first three-and-a-half or four paragraphs appear to be backstory and can be reduced to a couple of sentences. Or, if the novel has a Book One, Book Two structure, with the first story being as important and long as the second, your query is still too long. (Just because the MS is 400,000 words doesn't mean the query should be four pages long.)

And, as Rick Daley points out, it lacks focus.

These dang things are hard to do.

The Screaming Guppy said...

I'm really interested in your story, but I agree that this query needs some work.

Rick hit it dead on with the multi-plot arch problem. I was really into the first paragraph, then I started to be sad you moved away from it.

"When Maddox dies, most of the cops believe it was Julie’s bullet that killed the boy, and they intend to make life difficult for her." To me, this sentence pretty much covers your entire second paragraph.

I think paragraph three can be cut completely. Or, take para #2 and #3, and tell me what you want to say in one sentence.

"This looks like the right time to get out of town for Julie." This is an interesting line, and I like where it takes the reader and what it implies - but in the next para (Her requests for transfer are denied,)you make it sound like she doesn't get to move. So, unless Julie gets out of town, I don't think you should say that sentence, even though I like it.

"They learn to trust and depend on each other." Don't like this. It's too matter-o-fact and corny.

The last two paras give way too much detail. I think you should, again, try and cut it to 2-3 sentences.

You use this - "a woman must be in a predominately male world of police departments." - in your opening and closing para. I think repeating yourself like this in a query letter would be bad idea.

I agree that it doesn't sound much like women's fict and more like thriller/mystery/etc.

BUT, you have some stuff that hints at woman's fict when you highlight Julie's trouble with her hubby. I think you need to decide which way to focus, or consider writing two queries - one for agents that focus on women's lit, and bring in more about Julie's personal life, and one for agents that focus on thrillers, which focus on the action like you do in most of this query.

"I am in the Information Technology field and have authored procedural/technical white papers." <-- This should go. Fiction and tech writing have nothing to do with each other - i.e., the agent won't care.

Good luck. Sounds like you've got something cool here.

Anonymous said...

You've written a synopsis from what I can tell, and not a query, that's why it's so long. I would hate to think you'd get rejected because of it, since your book sounds promising. Also, there are more female officers these days, so I don't know if the "woe is her, she's a woman in a man's profession" in the beginning may in fact turn off a few male and female readers. Maybe along the way she realizes she's up against it, but telling the agent right off, I just don't know.
Also, I hope that's a working title and not the title of the book. Catchy titles can peak interest, but that one almost had me skip your query.