Aug 11, 2009

The Last Flight- Revision 3

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the second version.

Richard Harper, freelance and highly touted insurance investigator, accepted an offer from the Chief Financial Officer of Global Investments LTD to investigate the largest investment scheme he had ever known. Becoming part of an elaborate cover-up never entered his mind, nor did the idea of his wife Lydia being seduced by Mark Flannary, CEO of Global Investments LTD.
The Division of Enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission has been monitoring the irregularities in the hedge funds data base for Global Investments LTD all of 2008. Now in early 2009, Jeff Conklin, special investigator for the SEC, begins to unravel the scheme that may well take the company to financial ruin. Collaborating with Richard Harper, Jeff finds that not all is what it seems to be. Trust, sex, and murder are wrapped tightly in the investigation as Jeff gives due diligence to his case.

I am looking for representation for a completed 85K word crime genre novel. Your agency was recommended as one of the top 50 in the country for longevity and for getting results. Also, Mr. Fry, I noticed when visiting your web site, you have particular interest in crime genre.

Thank you in advance for your time reading my query and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Robert Meacham


MonikaS said...

I've read your other attempts and think you've cut the query to short and sweet but here are just a few thoughts:

1. By putting in the years you are dating your work so that in a few years (when it gets published)it may actually seem less relevant. These events could happen at any time so I suggest you leave out the years.

2. I'm still confused as to who the real protag is - Richard or Jeff. If it's both then each should get their own paragraph with who they are, why they're involved, and what's at stake.

I think you have a great premise. Hope this helps.

Anica Lewis said...

I like the premise. There's definitely tension.

I agree with MonikaS on both counts, and would suggest making a paragraph break after Mark Flannary, CEO of Global Investments LTD. If the book contains both Richard and Jeff's viewpoints, I would definitely recommend starting paragraph two with an introduction of Jeff a la paragraph one's intro of Richard. If it contains only one viewpoint, make it clear whose that is.

Per MonikaS' suggestion, I would remove the dates, so perhaps The division of Enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission has been monitoring irregularities in the hedge funds data base of Global Investments LTD for a year. Here, I also removed "the" before "irregularities" and changed "for Global Investments LTD" to "of . . ." to avoid repetition with the "for" I added at the end.

In the first paragraph, too, I wouldn't capitalize the Chief Financial Officer. Usual practice is that if you use a job title without an article, i.e. "Queen Elizabeth," then it's capitalized, but not if you use it as a noun, i.e. "the queen." Not everyone follows this, but I think it's technically correct, and I think your first paragraph would be smoother without quite so many caps.

You also might take Mr. Fry's name out of the letter, as I think this site's policy is to keep the agents anonymous. Anyone who knows, am I right on that?

Anica Lewis said...

Ooh, also, I just noticed that your query doesn't include your title! And you might cut out that you are looking for representation; the agent will know that by the fact that you're writing to her/him. :)

Diana Byron said...

Sounds like an interesting and timely story.

Maybe I'm nit picking, but one thing stood out for me in the first paragraph - if he's just been hired to investigate the fraud, how does he know it's the largest one he's ever encountered?

Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Meacham, it sounds like a great story full of intrigue and very relevant to the current times. Do you have background in finance, hedgefunds or with the SEC? You may want to note it.

I would change your query letter in a few ways.

Richard Harper a highly respected, freelance investigator, never expected he would become part of an elaborate cover-up when he accepted an offer from the CFO of Global Investments LLC to investigate an investment scheme larger than he had ever known. And he would never have imagined that while he was investigating Global Capital, his wife was being seduced by its CEO.

Global Investments has been on the SEC's Division of Enforcement radar for a long time. Their increasing power in the markets and trading irregularities had triggered alarm bells. Jeff Conklin, SEC invesigator, was assigned to the case.

When Conklin investigates, he discovers irregularities that go far beyond suspicious trades. Global Investments isn't a run of the mill powerful hedge fund. It's a massive investment scheme. Built upon a complex web of betrayal, trust, sex and murder.

Conklin teams up with Richard Harper to try and unravel the scheme. But the more they unravel, the more they find themselves (entangled in/drawn towards--depending on your novel) the darkest corners of the hedge fund world where Global Investments operates.

The closer they get to the truth, the more desperate Global Investments becomes to stop them. As they target Global Investments, they discover that Global Investments is targeting them.

closing paras.

good luck I hope there is one or two ideas above that help you.


Steven said...

I like the query... but the name of the company turns me off immediately. Global Investments, like James Bond's Universal Exports, rings false as a corporate name (I was in the business world for 35+ years). It's something a novelist rather than a CEO might invent. Also, why would the SEC (a US org) be the lead investigator of a UK corporation (which is what Ltd. means -- and LTD is never all caps). Ltd. means "limited" (liability) and is effectively the UK's version of Inc.

What about Flannary Investments -- the CEO naming it after himself says something right there. You can refer to it in the first sentence as "the multinational Flannary Investments" to convey both size and scope.

Donna Hole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

Sorry; I re-read it and realized I put something in it that didn't fit this submission. Here's the revised comment.

Shiiiiit, Anon, I was working on about the same thing, but I made it shorter and added the
reason Richard accepted the "offer". I know he's (Richard)freelance, but I'm sure there was a compelling reason. So, if it was just getting paid - which is understandable - you might want to change "accepted an offer" to "hired by . ." and no motivation would be needed.

But, I'm really not liking the introduction, less so in your condenced version here.

It is obvious (at least to me) you have a complicated plot, one that involves both the Division of Enforcement, Global Investments, and Richard Harper. The multi-character plot does not turn me off, I'm very intrigued.

So (my opinion only of course), start with "The Division of . ." and end this first paragraph with ". .take the company to financial ruin." Don’t change that paragraph.

Second paragraph suggestion: "Collaborating with Richard Harper, freelance and highly touted insurance investigator, Jeff finds . . " and the rest of the paragraph. Leave out the personal bio of Richard Harper. His role will become apparent in the synopsis, and more importantly in the novel.

The meat of your query might look something like:

The Division of Enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission has been monitoring the irregularities in the hedge funds data base for Global Investments LTD since early 2008. Jeff Conklin, special investigator for the SEC, has unraveled a scheme that may well take the company to financial ruin.
Collaborating with Richard Harper, freelance and highly touted insurance investigator, Jeff finds that not all is what it seems. Trust, sex, and murder are wrapped tightly in the investigation, as Jeff gives due diligence to his case.

I think having multiple points of view in the novel is ok. But in the query, you need to pick a main character - the lead voice in the work - and stick with it. From what I've read of your query submissions - and I think I've read them all - Global and SEC are the main influences, and that leads us to Jeff Conklin, not Richard.

This is really an excellent query. You've been working so hard on it, and I think you're ready to submit. Excellent work, and thanks for letting us (me) be a part of your process.

word verif: illees. The feeling you get when offering your heart and soul to the world for critique.

Robert A Meacham said...

First, let me say I have taken time to read everyone's response and am thankful for your opinions.

Monika- #1 Great point, I see what you mean #2 As complicated as it seems, there are two POVs in the story and I must get this across better in the query.

Robert A Meacham said...

Anica- Thank you for your clarifications and I agree with your first paragraph. I must work on clarity so the agent may get the wholeness of the story.
Also, Mr. Fry is not a real agent but there may be one out there so I probably need to do as you suggest, not use the name.

Great points- thank you. I will work on your comments .

Robert A Meacham said...

Diana- You are not nit picking. Your view shows me that I need more clarity. I'll work on that point.

Robert A Meacham said...

Anon- You wrote the query better than I did! Have you been peeking at my manuscript?
Copy and paste is out of the question, but I can use your ideas.
Thank you for the nudge. I'll work harder.

Robert A Meacham said...

I like your input and correction on the Ltd. So it will be Flannary investments. I also like the way you suggested how I might refer to the company for its size and scope.
Thank you for reading my query attempt.

Robert A Meacham said...

Thank you so much for your insight. You have it right in that this is a complicated plot with not only two POVs, but nagging choices that Richard has to make. Those choices could mean the difference between life and death for Jeff and himself.

You have given me a great idea for the meat of the query.

Robert A Meacham said...

Deleted Comment-
I wish I could have read what was written. I find that I can learn something from everyone.

Donna Hole said...

Sorry Robert; the deleted comment was from me. Much the same info, just tweaked and sounding more critique friendly.