Thursday, April 17, 2008


April 17, 2008

Ms. Janet Reid
FinePrint Literary Management
240 West 35th Street, Suite 500
New York, NY 10001

Dear Ms. Reid:

REDEMPTION is not your mother’s romantic suspense novel. Its racy romance and thrilling suspense should appeal to fans of Sandra Brown, Allison Brennan, and Lisa Jackson.

Four years ago in L.A., a sadistic rape robbed Angela Reardon of her trust in men and her sexuality. Now living near San Diego, the twenty-nine-year-old interior decorator has built a successful business and a new life-sans love or sex. Haunted by her inability to identify the rapist, Angela wants only to be left alone until a shadowy stranger reignites dormant desires. But Angela’s journey to sexual recovery may be brief because someone wants her dead.

Jake Stone, a thirty-five-year-old hitman specializing in hits disguised as suicides, orchestrates a charade to get close to his next victim. Unexpectedly, Angela chisels deep into his granite emotions, fracturing the rock until compassion and love seep through the cracks. While battling his own demons, Jake struggles to restore Angela’s sexuality despite knowing he must eventually consummate the contract. Can Jake find redemption by searching for the person who needs Angela killed? When the trail leads him into the carnal underbelly of L.A., even the hardened hitman is unprepared for the shocking truth.

Angela chisels deep into...etc is one of those sentences that doesn't belong in a query letter. For starters you're beating the metaphor into the ground: granite emotions isn't evocative, it's purple prose. As is carnal underbelly.

Tell us the gist of the story and leave the dramatics for the actual book. Someone hired Jack to kill Angela. He specializes in making hits look like suicides so he has to get close to the victim to make it look authentic. He falls for her.

I'm not all that sure the sex therapy part needs to be here, you don't have to put everything into a query letter and frankly, I'd stop reading if I saw it, whereas if you beguile me into reading pages, I might get so involved with the story I'm less likely to say ewwww.

I am a member of RWA, the San Diego and Kiss of Death chapters, and Sisters in Crime. I write a column for the new San Diego Woman magazine. As a longtime San Diego resident, I have sprinkled REDEMPTION with many well-known and not-so-well-known landmarks. I hope the magazine and the landmarks will prove useful in a regional marketing campaign.

The first five pages are enclosed. I would be pleased to send you sample chapters or the full 99,000-word, completed manuscript. While I hold my breath, I am writing a romantic thriller about a young woman who becomes a pawn in the FBI’s battle to capture a Mexican drug cartel kingpin and his money launderer. This will be the first book in a trilogy of FBI stories set primarily in San Diego.

All the rest of this works fine except of course I'm really over Mexican drug cartels and money launderers. That story line doesn't feel very fresh to me, but it's not going to stop me from reading your pages if the query is enticing.

Please note that this is a simultaneous submission. Thank you for your time and consideration.



jjdebenedictis said...

If you shave off the last sentence of the first paragraph that survived the shark's strike-through, I thought that was pretty engaging, and an excellent place to start the query letter. I agree that the mentions of hitman sex therapy are a bit creepy, however. Good luck with it!

none said...

Any mention of battling demons is a turn-off for me :). Sorry. It's become a cliche in recent years.

Who's the protagonist here? I thought it was Angela, but then Jake seems to do the protagging--trying to turn her switches back on while battling those pesky demons and searching for whoever hired him. Angela does...what? I think one thing I'd like to know from a query is, who's the protag?

Anonymous said...

"battling demons" is, I think, a euphemism here. he's battling personal demons, not literal ones.