Saturday, June 7, 2008


Dear Query Shark,

The jogger Charlie Rudder never meant didn't mean to abduct Mrs. Ann Kocheka Skyler from her suburban home in Simpsonville, South Carolina. At least that’s what he writes in his first letter to case detective, “Mr. Bruce Willis.”

The fact that he takes the lawn service owner's name is a one note joke, not a plot point. Don't use your brief amount of time explaining it, we'll see it in the pages.

Taking the alias Charlie Rudder (Mrs. Skyler’s former lawn service owner), the jogger Charlie professes he and Ann share a great love and how unfortunate it was unfortunately her husband discovered them in the act and had to suffer an accidental death. To save Ann from the bloody scene and police interrogation, Charlie claims he had no choice but to sedate Ann with booze and Benadryl and whisk her away on the road.

Smart-ass Charlie floods Sergeant LaRoche (Detective Willis) with letters, and a cross-country chase begins. For Charlie, a simple affair gone wrong spells Canada and, hopefully, a loving Ann.

Why on earth is he calling LaRoche Bruce Willis? It may be a hilarious part of the book, but is it something we need to know here? (I'm guessing not)

It also signals the difference between Sergeant LaRoche’s law and in what is becoming Charlie’s law at the hands of love, oh so transformational.

I don't understand what this sentence means at all.

Given Ann’s escape attempts, Charlie knows she has to be mentally astute and drug-free to choose a life with him. Once Ann is no longer under sedation, life is blissful, until they discover her husband is still alive.

I'm confused. She's trying to escape because she's sedated?

Sergeant LaRoche closes in on the outlaws, though his detective team worries about his judgement, given the recent affection from spitfire reporter Roma Reva.


A rural Montana town provides the setting for the face-off as love battles the law in a final showdown.

Pow Pow Willis! is a literary crime novel complete at 79,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

It's a great title. I'm also a tad confused about why the detectives are chasing him if the victim is alive and/or it's an accidental death.


Dear Query Shark,

Charlie Rudder says he didn’t mean to abduct Mrs. Ann Kocheka Skyler from her suburban home in Simpsonville, South Carolina. And he certainly didn’t know Ann would kill her husband.

Sergeant Nik LaRoche thumbs a confessional letter from Charlie Rudder and realizes what first looked like a botched burglary and assault is going to be some kind of difficult.

What Charlie and Ann don’t know is the husband survived though he is comatose. What Ann doesn’t remember is that she is the one responsible for the assault.

Charlie professes to Sergeant LaRoche that he and Ann are deeply in love. He had to save Ann from the bloody scene and police interrogation. He had to knock her out and sedate her with booze and Benadryl. He had to whisk her away on the road.

Ordnung muss sein. There must be order. Sergeant LaRoche’s firm German upbringing won’t allow for anything else. After the tragic loss of his own wife, LaRoche is unswerving in his attempts at justice. Charlie and Ann must be caught or the world might just not make sense.

The more miles Charlie and Ann put in, the more the love affair deepens. Together they mastermind a plan to cross into Canada while LaRoche’s pursuit is as exact as his dry-cleaned fedoras.

dry-cleaned fedora is a perfect phrase. I love it.

Just when the lovers seem to be in the clear, Ann learns her husband is alive and has awakened. TV crews, police station mayhem, a hot Corvette, and Ann’s second thoughts instigate the face-off as Charlie, Ann, her husband, and LaRoche meet on the streets of a rural Montana town.

Pow Pow Willis! is a literary crime novel complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Yup, that's much better!


Anonymous said...

I thought I had some of it figured out. Like Charlie murdered the husband (and calls/jokes it was accidental), kidnaps the girl and drugs her. The police find the dead body, and either they know already that the guy was murdered, or the wife was kidnapped, or they figure it out once they get a letter that reads something like:

"Hi, I'm some lawnmower guy taking a trip with a drugged up woman here. But she's totally with me on her own volition. She's also married to a corpse in your station's morgue. Yeah, the dead guy you found yesterday. The really, really bloody one. With the axe in his head. But listen, 'bout that... total accident."

But then everyone has two names, or they're on drugs, or they come back to life... and I have no idea what's real anymore! Chaos!

Julie Weathers said...

Well, I'm thoroughly confused.

If the title is something to do with pow wows, I would assume it plays some kind of part in the story.

Anonymous said...

I think it's "Pow Pow Willis" as in the Batman comics: "POW!"

Lehcarjt said...

Hey Josh -I rather like your version.

I spent most of this query confused as well. What totally did me in though was this: though his detective team.

I pretty much know nothing about law enforcement, so I could be wrong, but I don't think detectives come in teams. And because it feels wrong to me, I end up wondering if the writer knows what he/she is talking about.

talpianna said...

I don't think detectives come in teams.

They usually come in teams of two, for the simple reason that if there's another cop witness it makes it difficult for someone to accuse a detective of coercion or other misconduct.

If it's a series of crimes, especially if it extends over more than one jurisdiction, a task force may be formed to concentrate on the case/cases.

Lehcarjt said...

They usually come in teams of two

Yes. This is exactly why I questioned it. Why would one detective call one other detective his 'team'? said...

I'm all for the Bruce Willis part. The rest: WTF? I think the author is going for a fun story, and fun is good, but this was just too confusing. Sorting it out would be like trying to unravel a ball of yarn the cat has been playing with. If I could figure it out, I'd probably like it.

talpianna said...

Lehcarjt, it sounds like the reference is to a task force.

JS said...

I may be old-fashioned, but in my day, it wasn't considered the thing to show your love for someone by drugging or abducting them, let alone killing their spouse.


Seriously, it seems like the query author is going for a "wacky Carl Hiassen kind of charming felon" and just falling flat.

JS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Thanks all for your wonderful feedback. Josh, you're pretty damn close, but it makes clear what I need to make clear. And sesgaia, Pow Pow!, you're right.