Sunday, December 2, 2018


Dear Query Shark,

MOB TREASURE is the story of Joseph, a recent New Jersey college grad, who discovers his recently deceased grandfather was a Mafia boss—and has millions of dollars hidden somewhere in Miami Beach.

So, is Joseph dimwitted? Cause I knew what my Gramps did for a living starting around age 6. Or, perhaps he was estranged from that side of the family? Or maybe everyone in the family never said what Grandpa did; he was just the old guy down in Dade County who smoked cigars and played canasta pool side.

The point here is that we need to understand why something that would seem to be obvious, comes as a big surprise.

Joseph never knew about his grandfather’s former life in the mob, but now, armed with clues scribbled in the margins of a copy of Treasure Island – the book his grandfather read to him most often as a kid – it’s up to him to recover the hidden millions. But he’s not the only one looking.

So Gramps leaves clues in a book. Why? 
Is it to keep the dough out of the hands of his other relatives?

Along with his best friend—and a crafty Art Deco tour guide—they embark on an adventure tour of the beautiful Art Deco hotels and mansions of Miami Beach’s Historic District. Hot on his heels are the mob, who claim the hidden money is theirs.

What does the sidekick bring to the plot? Why are they touring hotels and mansions?
I assume it's because the clues lead them to these places, but honestly, this is not a middle grade mystery.  Following a trail of treasure needs a level of sophistication here to make it interesting.

Entering a world of danger, mobsters, hidden casinos, secret rooms, underworld drama, and even a pirate or two, danger follows around every corner. Joseph and his posse grow more and more determined to beat the mob at their own game, finally uncovering a treasure that means more to him than money ever could.

This is a laundry list, not a plot.
The treasure isn't money? You told us the mob, claiming the money is theirs, was hot on their heels.

MOB TREASURE (78,000 words) is commercial fiction imbued with the mysteries of historic Miami—the mob boss version of The Da Vinci Code and reminiscent of the National Treasure series. It’s partially inspired by the life of Meyer Lansky, the “Mob’s Accountant,” who is rumored to have hidden over $300 million before he died.

I’ve lived in Miami Beach for over 20 years and have written for local publications on the arts, history and nightlife of the region. For the past five years, I’ve also been working as a tour guide in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach and have fallen in love with the beautifully restored buildings and the rich mob history, which inspired the story for this book.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

There's nothing surprising here.
There's no twist on a trope, or a stock character given a fresh perspective.

When I look for books to take on, it's essential there be some sort of suspense. Suspense comes from choices the main character makes, and what's at stake.

All that is missing here. 

If Joseph doesn't find the treasure, there's nothing to indicate the world will fall apart either literally or metaphorically.