Dear Query Shark:
Twenty-eight-year-old Verity Hearst fears being single forever, but solitude isn't so bad, not with a loaded Springfield 1911-A1 pistol and a warm cup of tea to keep her company. She has killed over eighty criminals as one of the world's elite assassins. It's a reputation she has proudly earned alone.
When I see the name Verity, my mind instantly turns to Code Name Verity, a darn good book published a couple years back. Sort of like any character named Ishmael makes me think of that book about the whale. If you want me to think of Code Name Verity, you have. If you don't, you might think about the names you choose.
And any woman who thinks a warm cup of tea is good company sounds like an idiot. If you're trying for light hearted, you've missed the mark. Books, a cat, even a daily soap opera would be less frothy.
Verity's manager Enoch is her only link to the mysterious company she works for. When he tells her she'll have a male partner on the biggest assignment of her life, taking out three men at the head of a billion-dollar human and drug trafficking operation, she wonders if her employer is doubting her abilities. All she knows is she must maintain her reputation, or die trying.
Really? Why? She's earned her reputation (paragraph one) but we have no sense that it's her entire sense of self-worth (die trying.)
This is hyperbole, and it's death in a suspense novel. A suspense novel is a very delicate creation that must hold our attention, suspend our disbelief and make sense. It's a hat trick of a novel, and a writer can't miss a step, or it will all come crashing down.
Verity's new partner Cy thinks he's the world's greatest assassin. He knows more than she does about everything, including how to pour a cup of tea properly. Doing her job with this smartass doubting her every move is going to be a lot harder than she imagined.
This is so jarring I'm sort of dumbfounded. Up until now we've had a lady assassin with a tea fetish who takes her work too seriously, now we have some guy who's a smart ass. The tone went from serious (if over wrought) to smartass. My head is spinning.
And I've stopped reading.
This is where I hit "thanks but no thanks."
For starters there's not a hint of plot. What does Verity want? What does she care about? What's keeping her from getting what she wants?
What does the antagonist want? Who IS the antagonist? What does the antagonist care about? (For an exquisite portrayal of an antagonist look no further than Omar in Season One of the The Wire.)
There's no reason to care about Verity at all. Cy is literally one dimension. No one is enticing.
KILLER IN HEELS is a 70,000-word novel of suspense.
There's no suspense.
I would say I have experience as an assassin, but that might get me in trouble.
This is the best line of the query.
I chose to contact you because you are looking for female-centric thrillers.
A novel of suspense is not a thriller, neither is a comic crime novel. You're telling me I can have a cookie cause I like cake. Both are good, but they're not the same thing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
I'm not sure if you're writing suspense or a comic crime novel here. It's seems more comic than suspenseful right now.
There's no plot, and the characters seem artificial.
I'm not sure if that's a problem with the query, or the novel.