Aug 8, 2009

Query: FERRIS' BLUFF #4 (Thriller)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.
Click here to read the third revision.

Street Address
New York, NY, 10010

Dear Ms. Agent,

Ace Evans is an ex-SEAL/undercover operative forced to live a solitary vagabond existence. He risks a visit with an old friend and soon discovers that the quaint, gossipy little town of Ferris’ Bluff, Arkansas, has a very dark side.

His friend is in a coma, a virtual prisoner in the nursing home, and Ace is drawn into a series of confrontations with a number of ruthless local villains--a conniving greedy lawyer, his even greedier wife, and a brutal town tough.

And if that ain’t thorny enough—Russian gangsters, vengeful enemies from his shadowy past are skulking around.

Ace knows he should hit the road, not only to protect his fragile alias but also to (hopefully) assure the safety of his new friends; especially Annie Travers, the woman he has been trying to deny a growing affection for, a widow as lonely and damaged as he is.

But the body count rises and the lawyer’s murderous schemes continue to threaten the people he’s become very fond of.

Resolved to make a life for himself in Ferris’ Bluff, Ace enlists the aid of his new friends to try and pull off a dangerous ruse, a bluff of his own, luring both the lawyer and the Russians into a violent, deadly showdown.

FERRIS’ BLUFF is a 96K word thriller with a southern drawl and a smoldering romance tucked inside. Thanks for taking a look. I hope to hear from you soon.


Fred Limberg


gj said...

It works for me.

Good luck!

fred limberg said...

Thanks gj!

Donna Hole said...

So much better Fred. Your hard work shows. Its still a bit long; but it reads like a Sandra Brown novel to me and I love her writing. Maybe read the synopsis on the back of one of her books - Play Dirty is the one I was actually thinking of. And there's Lee Child's Nothing To Lose. Either of those might help you get ideas to condence it more.

But really, it's a great synopsis. Thanks for sharing it.

fred limberg said...

Actually Donna, the Ace character is a bit like Reacher, a bit...


Steph Damore said...

Oooh, I like it.

My only concern is that it is a bit long, it reminds me of synopsis more than a query. I haven't read your earlier attempts, but with that being said, I'd try to write a more condensed version - 2-3 paragraphs - and see what you come up with.

Other than that, your thriller sounds fantastic. Good luck gaining representation!

fred limberg said...


Thanks for your thoughts and kind wishes.

I'm renaming this site "Q" SCHOOL on my favorites list. I got great advice from some pretty unselfish and knowledgable people.

Now...on to the Query Shark!

Gavin Brown said...

Hi Fred,

Good stuff. The writing is solid and the concept is original.

I agree with Steph that you do seem to be telling us a bit more than is necessary--you just need to get the agent to read more.

I'd suggest at the least combining the last two paragraphs into one sentence. Something like: "But as the body count rises, Ace enlists the aid of his new friends to try to pull off a dangerous ruse--luring both the lawyer and the Russians into a violent, deadly showdown."

You also might want to call him "Ace" Evans in the first sentence, so that it's identified clearly as a nickname. Characters with unrealistic given names are a warning sign for many agents and editors.

Anica Lewis said...

I like this! Sounds fun and exciting.

I would give the lawyer a name. He's a villain, and he'll pack more punch with a name, especially given that he's mentioned twice more in the query. You might say, "the conniving lawyer John Doe, his even greedier wife Sally, and a brutal town tough."

In the next paragraph, you want a comma after ". . . from his shadowy past."

I'd take out "hopefully" in the next paragraph, mostly because of the parentheses. I understand the sentiment, but maybe it can be put another way? And you don't want a semicolon there. Semicolons can only be used to separate phrases that are complete sentences on their own. A dash would work here - if you're afraid of overusing those, you could change the one before "Russian gangsters" into a comma.

Overall, good letter, and looks like a great story!

fred limberg said...

Gavin and Anica,

Thanks for the comments. Your suggestions are good ones. I've heard that too many names in a query is kind of a no-no.

I'm hesitant to post another revision. I'd hate to be a greedy gus at this stage. I guess we'll just see what the agents have to say about it in the weeks to come.

Maybe I'll get the de-luxe form rejection!