Calling All Critiques: Query Letter/Book Blurb – Entry #2

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It’s the third week of Calling All Critiques (man, that went by fast!) and today we’re looking at blurbs and queries! I actually think book blurbs and queries are tough to write so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the feedback this week and learning a few tricks.

And don’t forget about our giveaway! One lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card, an eCopy of Guarding Angel by S.L. Saboviec and an eCopy of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by yours truly.

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Entry #2

Author: Dawn Allen
Website: dawnall.wordpress.com
Title:
 The Drought of Sam Dakota
Genre: Adult Thriller

After the horrors Sam witnesses as a child advocate, he never expected four words to be what keeps him up at night. “I have your son.” When Danny vanishes, the chances of finding out who took him slowly dwindle with every dead end. Faced with changing theories and dwindling police interest, Sam makes the tough decision to hire Rami Amato, an unconventional P.I. with an aversion to “kid cases.” Amato uncovers more than a kidnapping. He uncovers conspiracy and betrayal, Sam never could  have imagined.

Then the second note arrives. “Thank you for your contribution. I always wanted a boy.” Each note depicts further the horrors being exacted on Sam’s son, there’s nothing authorities can do. The ongoing nightmare consumes his life as the kidnapper starts a clock, counting down to Danny’s death. Amato’s last kidnapping case ended badly; he refuses to let another end like that. Besides, it’s clear Sam won’t survive that final letter. Everyone’s time is running out.

There’s More!

After leaving your comments, you can head over to one or more of these blogs to see some more great entries:

Proof Positive

Official Blog of Brian Basham

MM Jaye Writes

Magic & Mayhem Book Reviews

Before Ink Dries

 


5 thoughts on “Calling All Critiques: Query Letter/Book Blurb – Entry #2

  1. I read all the comments so far, and I agree with every suggestion. What I could add is for you to try to be a bit more inventive in the language you use. Your third line shows the word “dwindle” twice. Find a synonym there. Also, why would Sam hire a detective who has an aversion to kid cases? Wouldn’t a father hire someone who could apply himself 100% to the case? Is it that he has a stellar record? But you say that his last kidnapping case ended badly. These are questions that formed in my mind while reading.

    The fact remains that this must be a gripping thriller, and that genre is very popular. Good luck!
    MM Jaye recently posted..Calling All Critiques: Query Letter Entry #6My Profile

  2. Great plot and totally creepy (in a good way)!!! I think the writing can be tightened up, and some awkward phrasing can be changed, and then this will be a rock star blurb.

    I’d recommend changing the first sentence to: “After the horrors Sam witnesses as a child advocate, he never expected four simple words to keep him up at night: “I have your son.”” Really small changes, but it flows much better. I kept stumbling over “to be what keeps him up at night”.

    I could go on, but others here have left some great suggestions, too. Good luck!!!
    Liz Blocker (@lizblocker) recently posted..Patience IS a VirtueMy Profile

  3. Brrr…this chills me to the bone. And that’s a good thing!

    OK, I’m back from checking the locks on all my doors…Just so you know, I don’t read any of the other comments before writing and posting mine. Here are a few of my thoughts on how to make your blurb even blurbier:

    Hook. “I have your son” hooks me immediately. Why not start there? Also, “hires” is much punchier than “makes the tough decision to hire.” (The “tough” is telegraphed in your other description.)

    Line. More specifics would help draw the reader in and make the story come alive. Is Sam a single dad? What is the setting for this story? What makes Amato “unconventional?” (You could also just leave it as he is averse to child cases. “Amato’s last kidnapping case ended badly; he refuses to let another end like that.” seems to work better here, rather than leaving it to the final paragraph: )

    Giving us a choice example or two provides more suspense than generic lines like “every dead end” or “the horrors.” “Each note depicts further…” implies multiple notes. “Additional letters” or something similar might clarify this. You might consider deleting: “Each note depicts further the horrors being exacted on Sam’s son, there’s nothing authorities can do.” and changing “that final letter” to “another letter.” “[T]here’s nothing authorities can do” can be deleted as this is understood/previously mentioned.

    Sinker. Rather than “everyone’s time”, it’s really Danny’s time that’s running out (and a little boy in danger is much more compelling than a generic “everyone”). Maybe Sam’s sanity is about to run out or he’s about to snap? And Amato is about to throw in the towel? Somehow linking back to your powerful first four words (I hope you put “I have your son” first!) could make for a very vicious circle.

  4. I was instantly hooked when reading the first paragraph. I liked how the author is already trying to connect the readers with Sam by showing them how desperate he is to get his son back. In most of the child abduction stories I have read in the past, the police tend to lose interest so it’s obvious he has to hire an unconventional P.I. Maybe somehow, make this less obvious?

    I love stories which have an underdog trying to solve a case and this one is perfect since Amato’s last case ended badly.

    The second paragraph was confusing. I wouldn’t start out with, “Then the second note arrives,” because there was no mention of the first note. Either mention the first or leave both notes out. The only other thing I would fix about the second paragraph is the use of the word “that.” But nonetheless, I’m definitely interested in seeing where the author goes with this novel.
    Gina Stoneheart recently posted..Liebster AwardMy Profile

  5. The first line of this query hooks me in right away. I get an immediate idea of what this novel will be about and exactly what the main character’s goal will be throughout. I like the introduction of Rami Amato because his “aversion to kid cases” hints at tension and conflict between him and the main character. But I did want more information about why he has this aversion and what’s personally at stake for him if he pursues this case.

    When I got to the second paragraph I was a little confused by “the second note” because I didn’t realize there had been a first. I then went back and reread the first paragraph and realized that the “I have your son” line was told to the main character in a letter (this wasn’t clear to me initially. For some reason, I assumed he was told this via telephone on my first read).

    I loved this line and thought it could use a bit more elaboration: “Amato uncovers more than a kidnapping. He uncovers conspiracy and betrayal, Sam never could have imagined.”

    I think the first paragraph does a great job of setting up the story’s conflict. I also thought that this line in the second paragraph: “The ongoing nightmare consumes his life as the kidnapper starts a clock, counting down to Danny’s death” did a great job of creating a sense of urgency for Sam and Rami. Good luck with this!
    Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

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