Put all the housekeeping stuff at the end. Start with the good stuff: what happens.
Fourteen-year-old Charlene didn't come home from school today. Friends and relatives do what they can to console the Ives family, but only her safe return will suffice. With no witnesses to the abduction, and no demands for ransom, detectives focus their attention on the parents--they are not telling the whole truth. When a reporter overhears one cop tell another that the father is a person of interest, media speculation runs rampant.
John Ives is hiding something, but it's not the whereabouts of his daughter. It is the government-issue computers in the basement... and his past. Ronald Perkins, a former recruiter for the CIA and now Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security, knows Ives is not who he says he is, but doesn't care. Someone with an IQ of 180 and is not afraid to break the law is a valuable asset. With national security at stake, Perkins mobilizes forces to root out the perpetrators before Ives is exposed.
A waste of time, money and manpower. Her disappearance is not political.
If you stop here, you leave us wondering. If you put in that last paragraph, we stop wondering. Leave us wondering. Leave us wanting to read on.
Much better. Make those changes and I think you've got a good query.
She comes to in the dark. The flannel nightgown, the baggy underpants and the woolen socks are not hers. Panic forces the terrified fourteen-year-old upright. Nausea drains what little strength she has.
She gags with the foul odor in the makeshift prison. The room starts to spin. A shadow within shadows stirs six feet away. The ominous clink of a chain slithers on the far side of the cellar floor. Fettered at the ankle by the same chain someone, or something, pulls her closer...
This paragraph is just an event without any context.
It's the equivalent of putting the first paragraph of the book in the query. Don't do that. A query needs to provide some framework. Without framework, we don't know what's important.
If I were reading this query as a submission, I'd stop here. It feels like a psychological horror novel, and frankly, those things scare the crap out of me, and I don't read them.
Their daughter Charlene didn't come home from school that day, or the next, or the day after that. Friends and relatives do what they can to console the Ives family, but only her safe return will suffice. With no witnesses to the abduction, and no demands for ransom, detectives focus their attention on the parents. They are not telling the whole truth. Within hours, community support for John and Lauren Ives vanishes as media speculation runs rampant.
And this paragraph shows you've got something actually quite good: a high concept novel with a twist on the usual crime novel motif.
Trouble is, you don't have enough. Who's the hero? Who's going to solve the problem? We need the next step to see what the story is about. You've got the concept here but nothing more.