Apr 23, 2009

Query: The Saving Race

Dear Agent,

Nick Sanchez has just arrived in hell. And he didn’t have to die to get there; he simply accepted a temporary Bureau assignment in Northern Idaho.

Sprague, Idaho—a backwoods town with bad weather—is exactly how Nick envisions hell. But the only burning he feels is in the pit of stomach, stemming from the frustration of three dead-end investigations. The keys to his salvation are within sight, but illusively beyond his grasp. One comes in the form of a perky blonde cashier at the local grocery store. The other comes with the prospect that he may have stumbled upon the most abhorrent cult of the twenty-first century.

Three women have gone missing from Sprague within three consecutive years, and the FBI has sent Special Agent Nick Sanchez to investigate. When Nick discovers the common factor in all three cases, he begins to scrutinize dormant white supremacist factions in the area. What he finds is beyond shocking: a prominent author has turned his controversial books into a doomsday cult promoting beliefs in Nordicism and polygamy. Nick is about to break the biggest case of his career—if he can prove that the missing women have been inducted into the cult of Nordica. But Nordica mastermind Pierce Crawford seems to outwit and outmaneuver Nick every step of the way. Nothing—especially an intrusion by someone with dark skin—will stop Pierce from preparing his cult for the imminent Armageddon. Pierce shrewdly strikes at Nick and all that is close to his heart. Nick will come to question his instincts, his impartiality, and his future at the Bureau. But even more troubling to Nick than a major career derailment is the fact that his misjudgments may cost the only woman he’s ever loved her life.

The Saving Race is a 104,000 word romantic mystery. I am confident with my finished product, as it is certainly the best of my three completed novels. While The Saving Race does stand alone, I am now working on its sequel. I am excited with the prospect of The Saving Race entering the market in the near future, as many of the elements adapted by the cult of Nordica are taken from current headlines.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Author

6 comments:

anaquana said...

I would cut out the first two paragraphs. They bog down the query and don't add much to it. The best parts of the query start with the third paragraph.

I would also suggest cutting up the third paragraph into smaller chunks. It's a great big wall of text that invites people to start skimming.

You might want to mention Nick's dark skin earlier in the query. I've come across a quite a few blonde-haired, blue-eyed people with Latino last names.

Good luck!

Windsong said...

First off, I love your hook. :)

For me, there's a big gap between the second paragraph and the third paragraph. It's as though they're coming from two different places.

I would maybe get rid of the third paragraph, or take the really pertinent information from the second and third paragraphs and form a new one. Personally, I would probably get rid of most of the third paragraph.

For your last paragraph, I'd cut everything that doesn't deal with the title and the word count.

Suzan Harden said...

Is this really a mystery? The reason I ask is it seems that we already know Pierce is the antagonist. If this is more of a cat-and-mouse gameween Pierce and Nick, then it may be more of a suspense story.

Take a good hard look at the first two paragraphs. They read vague. If this a temporary (voluntary?) assignment, why does Jake look at it as hell, and does it really advance the plot?

In the third paragraph, the meat of the story becomes apparent, though it could use a little tightening. In queries, every word counts.

Ex. Three woman have disappeared from Sprague, Idaho, in the last three years. FBI Special Agent Nick Sanchez drew the short straw and arrives in the backwater burg to investigate the possible serial abductions...

Hope this helps. (Only leave out the cliches. Sorry, I just got home from work so my creativity sucks...)

MonikaS said...

I think you have a great hook with paragraph one. It certainly kept me reading.

I agree that paragraph two should go and three should be divided into smaller chunks. And other than title and word count I would cut everything from the last paragraph.

I think the query does read more like a thriller or suspense than a romantic mystery.

Otherwise, I love the idea and would definitely read the book!!!

Weronika said...

"Nick Sanchez has just arrived in hell. And he didn’t have to die to get there; he simply accepted a temporary Bureau assignment in Northern Idaho."
This is both cliche-ish and uninteresting. Get into the action and let us see exactly why the assignment can be considered hell.

"Sprague, Idaho—a backwoods town with bad weather—is exactly how Nick envisions hell."
Get rid of this. SHOW us WHY.

"The other comes with the prospect that he may have stumbled upon the most abhorrent cult of the twenty-first century."
You need to get into the action right away. This is unnecessary in revealing some kind of real action within the story--why do we care about this character and the story?

"Three women have gone missing from Sprague within three consecutive years, and the FBI has sent Special Agent Nick Sanchez to investigate."
I think this could easily be your hook with a little bit more info and perhaps a quick rewording.

"What he finds is beyond shocking: a prominent author has turned his controversial books into a doomsday cult promoting beliefs in Nordicism and polygamy."
Many agents claim that they dislike authors/books/writing playing a big part in the story--too cliche-ish.

"Pierce shrewdly strikes at Nick and all that is close to his heart."
Be more specific.

"But even more troubling to Nick than a major career derailment is the fact that his misjudgments may cost the only woman he’s ever loved her life."
"...he's ever loved her life..." Do you mean "his life"?

"The Saving Race is a 104,000 word romantic mystery."
"Mystery" may be the wrong word.

"I am confident with my finished product, as it is certainly the best of my three completed novels."
Don't say this. Ever. Do you have credentials instead? If not, leave it out.

"While The Saving Race does stand alone, I am now working on its sequel."
Not sure, but I think this may play against your chances.

"I am excited with the prospect of The Saving Race entering the market in the near future, as many of the elements adapted by the cult of Nordica are taken from current headlines."
Take out the first part of this sentence if you really want to keep it in, but instead of "current headlines" specify exactly what part of this culture makes your book relevant and historically correct.

Overall, not bad--the general idea of the story seems relatively unique, but you need to be more specific about the CONFLICTS in the story. What kind of emotional, physical, etc., conflicts does your MC need to deal with? That's what agents are looking for.

Cheers!

DLJensen said...

I have one quick comment to add. You say this is a romantic mystery, but who is the "love interest"? Is she the cashier? I think that aspect needs to be developed further in order to call it romantic.