Dear Query Shark:
After nearly dying in childbirth, physician Maddy Edwards can speak with the dead. But when the dead warn of murder, will anyone believe her?
Boston internist Maddy Edwards is a hypochondriac with one big worry-- she's more-than-a-little-bit pregnant, and afraid she won't survive the delivery. Maddy's fears prove justified when her heart stops momentarily in childbirth, the result of a serious medical error. When additional deadly errors occur at the same hospital, Maddy is invited to join the oversight committee reviewing the apparent medical miscues. But Maddy, plagued with
psychic abilities since her near-death experience, soon realizes the truth-- the seeming mistakes are being deliberately staged. As the attacks continue, hospital authorities ignore Maddy's warnings and doubt her sanity. Maddy begins tracking the killer herself, knowing another attack could strike the hospital at any time. The ghostly clues lead Maddy to a surprising culprit-- a grieving mother who wants to bring down the hospital in revenge for her
daughter's death after surgery. Exposed, the woman escapes with Maddy's baby, a replacement for the stricken woman's lost child. Now Maddy and her husband must find their baby or they too will lose a daughter.
DEATH BY ERROR (86,000 words) combines the sensibility of a Lisa Scottoline novel with the plot arc of medical thriller. It should appeal to readers who enjoy suspense novels with a strong female protagonist. My background as a physician and published author in medical journals brings realism to the story. I am seeking your representation because I love your blog.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Yup, that works!
Dear Ms. Shark,
Physician Maddy Edwards sees dead people, and not just at work.
Cliche alert! There's no way to say "sees dead people" unless you mean it sardonically and not have people think instantly of the movie. I mean really now, who doesn't see dead people these days!
Boston internist Maddy Edwards is a hypochondriac with one big worry-- she's more-than-a-little-bit pregnant, and afraid she won't survive the delivery. Maddy's fears prove justified when her heart stops momentarily in childbirth, the result of a serious medical error. After her near-death experience, Maddy is troubled by strange encounters with transitioning
souls, with whom she can now communicate. These wronged spirits confirm what Maddy already suspects-- the deadly medical errors that continue to plague her local hospital are really a series of vengeful murders. Skeptical at first, Maddy begins to accept her power as clues from the dead lead her to the killer. When the killer responds by kidnapping Maddy's infant daughter Grace, Maddy and her husband must find Grace before she becomes the killer's
There's a list somewhere of "If I Were The Killer I Wouldn't" and it captures one of the biggest problems with a lot of thriller queries I see. If I were the killer, and Maddy was after my hide, I'd KILL HER. What the heck does he hope to accomplish by kidnapping her kid? For starters, what's he going to do, keep the kid forever to keep Maddy from investigating? If he kills the kid, his leverage is gone.
This kind of "kidnap the girlfriend/daughter/wife/dog/Kindle" motif is as old as Aaron Spelling TV scripts. In other words, NOT fresh and new.
Also, you mention "vengeful" but it would really help if we had more of a sense of the plot. And why Maddy (mother of an infant!) would risk all to investigate.
And was the serious medical error during her delivery really an attempt to kill her? And why?
The plot has to make sense in and of itself. A lot of times you'll see the word "organic" and it means just this: the plot has to adhere to its own internal logic requirements. You can't just say "she'll get kidnapped!" to create tension. That's the stuff of bad romance novels and soap operas.
DEATH BY ERROR (86,000 words) combines the sensibility of a Lisa Scottoline novel with the plot arc of a medical thriller. It should appeal to readers who enjoy suspense novels with a strong female protagonist. I am a physician and published author in academic journals, currently writing full-time. I am seeking your representation because I love your blog!
Thank you for your time and consideration,