Feb 6, 2011

Query- Assassin's Redemption (First revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Let's see how this works:

Dear Agent,

Death goes by many names, but one of them is Etienne de Villaine.

When the presidents of Israel, Iran, and Turkmenistan are assassinated by a sniper, Etienne and his wife Nel attempt to stop the killer and avert a war. They’re a step too late to save the Ukrainian president, but catch a glimpse of the assassin who looks familiar to Etienne.

The son of the North Korean president is murdered next, raising global tensions to the verge of world war. While setting a trap baited with the Russian president, Etienne realizes the assassin is his brother, the fallen angel Munkar. Etienne and Nel foil the assassination, but Nel is injured and the assassin escapes.

The couple returns to their Chicago home, so Nel can recover, but Etienne discovers Munkar has followed them. Munkar vows to kill Etienne then set off World War Three. But nothing prepares Etienne for Munkar’s confession to the murder of his two previous wives. As if that isn’t enough for Etienne to pursue him to a death duel, Munk drives a nail into the coffin of motivation by threatening Nel. Etienne must head off a world war and protect Nel, but stopping his brother may cost one of them their souls.

I am seeking representation for my 91,000 word supernatural thriller, ASSASSIN’S REDEMPTION. Professionally, I am a molecular biologist employed by a biotechnology company. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,


Book Butler said...

The story sounds extremely interesting. I can tell by the query's prose and pace, the novel is obviously a fast-paced suspense that grabs you and doesn't let you go!

I like the hook, but I don't see how it connects with the rest of the query. It seems like with all the killing going on, Etienne is the one trying to prevent it.

It feels like it doesn't build up and crescendo the way a query letter is supposed to. It feels very, Jack did this. Jack saw that. Jane thought this. Queries are supposed to tell the story in the same way the novel does. Build-up, build-up, build-up, drop.

Also, I'm uncertain how the death of three wives is related to the rest of the story. There's a lot of good tension, I'm just not sure how it all connects. I think there's too much information, here. Just focus on a few key points.

Faraci said...

I love the log line! It really grabs the reader and makes me want to read more. Make sure to explain this hook though - the rest of your summary did not mention your character bringing death to anyone. He was saving lives instead of ending them, so how could he be a name for death?

I would also recommend simplifying the plot you described. I felt a little overwhelmed with the number of names and places thrown around. Queries should be short and simple - focus more on the point of the novel and the struggle the character has to face.

And I wouldn't mind hearing more about the supernatural element.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, count me as a no for the hook. I have the feeling I've seen this one many times before (usually on the back of old pulp fiction novels selling 10 for a dollar, if you get my drift).

The problem with a hook like this is that it doesn't draw me right into the action. Which is exactly what the next paragraph does.

Also, the line makes it seems like Etienne de Villaine (really?) is the bad guy, a killer, certainly not the hero who is going to avert a global war. "Justice goes by many names" perhaps. "Revenge", possibly. See?

There are still some problems though.

For one, the logic in the first paragraph is off: "When the presidents...are assassinated" and "attempt to stop the killer" makes no sense. He can't stop the killer if the presidents are already dead.

He can stop him from killing again, of course, but you don't say this.

I'd also ditch the "and his wife Nel" bit, unless she's a co-main character, in which case, it should read "Etienne and Nel de Villaine." If he's the real main character, focus the query on him.

The bit about "the fallen angel Munkar" makes no sense: is this a supernatural novel? If not, that line does not mean what you think it means. If it is, then you'll need to establish the supernatural element much earlier.

In any event, bring Munkar in earlier.

"Called to stop the assassin who has already claimed the lives of the presidents of three countries, Etienne de Villaine must choose between family loyalty and threat of a new world war."

Or: "When he discovers that his own brother is behind the waves of assassinations threatening to bring the world to the bring of a new world war, Etienne de Villaine must... "

You get the idea.

I'm also bothered that I don't know why Etienne de Villaine should be the one to stop the killer, much less his wife -- what's his credentials?

And lastly, calling him Etienne throughout the query makes it seem like you're writing a romance novel. Use his last name. Much more butch.