Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Public Slushpile #14

TITLE: Dead Like Me
GENRE: Mystery

Dear Ms. Snark:

In my mystery novel, Dead Like Me, Homicide Detective Kate Springer discovers she has something in common with the thirteen-year-old female victim in her latest case—the man the teenage girl cleaned house for is the same man who molested Detective Springer as a child.

Kimberly Callahan, the teenage victim, cleaned house for a neighbor to earn some extra cash. During the course of the investigation, Detective Springer’s partner brings this man into the precinct during a routine interview. Watching from behind the two-way mirror, Detective Springer is stunned when she realizes this is the same man who abused her for six years of her childhood. Too fragile from the experience, she never publically accused Roger White of the abuse she’d suffered. Now he’s in Tampa living under an assumed name. But at age seventy-five, Roger’s in poor health, and Detective Springer doesn’t know if he’s even capable of murder. She finds herself at a crossroads—keep Roger’s true identity a secret, thus ensuring her own secrets stay buried, or reveal everything hoping it will bring her closer to catching the Callahan killer.

37 comments:

Rachel Menard said...

No. As written, the story doesn't have a big enough hook for me.

Happy Dolphin said...

No.
Too many strands of story and it is like a jumbled ball of yarn.

Becky Mahoney said...

No - the 'female police officer as a victim' plotline has been done many times before, so I'd have to know more about what sets your story apart.

Nicole said...

No. This feels a bit too familiar, and the query repeats things, which makes me wonder how your novel would read.

Loralie Hall said...

No. The repeated information and lack of strong consequences deterred me.

A Little Push said...

NO, but I really wanted to say yet - I loved your opening hook, and your last sentence, but the middle rambled, and I'm not sure you have enough going on beyond "should she or shouldn't she" reveal she was molested as a child.

Michael Tate said...

No. The repetition in the query made me afraid to look at the MS.

Rick said...

No. Too much repetition, the tragically, sexually abused female heroine is an instant turn-off for me (and an overplayed trope in the genre), and there are really no stakes here that I can see.

Jean Davis said...

No. Repeated information and nothing to set this apart from a plotline that's been done before.

A.C. Turcotte said...

No. I agree with earlier commenters that there's nothing here to make the book stand out from similar works.

Lanette said...

No. There's no mystery here, at least not the way it's presented. Also, the stakes are pretty low.

Tina Moss said...

NO, the hook is great, but I didn't connect with the second paragraph.

Lori M. Lee said...

No. You don't need the "hook" in the opening b/c you repeat it all again in the actual meat of your query.

Holly Bodger said...

No. Takes too long to get to the real story here.

Sarah Ahiers said...

NO
Unfortunately the second paragraph just repeats everything that was said in the first paragraph, so i'm left with no real understanding of the plot

Miss Moppet said...

NO. I found the query repetative and it was missing some oomph. That said, I was drawn in by the story, It would have been a yes if the story had a slightly new angle.

Sarah Nego(vetich) said...

No, I'm not getting any sense of voice from this.

Heather said...

No.

The repetition bothered me too much (you can cut the first three sentences of the second paragraph), and I would need to know what could happen to her if she reveals everything before I decide if it's different enough to hook me.

Amber said...

No. I think this story would work better with the mc NOT being a cop. Or if the 'guy' was a man who supposedly molested her friend, but she was sworn to secrecy at age ten and never knew if he had really done it. But I found it impossible for me to like the mc if she is such a coward as to allow this man to remain in the public- no matter what age he is, if she knew what he was capable of.

SMKrafty said...

No- First paragraph had to be re-read to figure out what was going on; although the premise that can be sifted out of the pitch does sound interesting.

Stephanie G said...

No. I'm sorry. I liked your first paragraph, but the second paragraph read too much like a synopsis, and I agree wit other commenters about not seeing anything particularly unique about this story.

Durango Writer said...

No. Too much repetition and wandering; needs more succinct writing and set-up of conflict.

Cheryl said...

No. It seems as if the story hinges on a false choice: keep a secret and do nothing, or reveal the secret and solve the case. I feel doubtful that this premise can hold the weight of an entire novel.

Aldrea Alien said...

No. The repetition and lack of anything to draw me further. Can’t see her keeping it all secret either and that would likely get her kicked off the case.

Leah Petersen said...

Sounds like it's entirely backstory and no real mystery hanging over whether she's ready to confront her past or possibly choose not to reveal a murder suspect because of her own past trauma. (Which is kinda crappy for a homicide detective. I mean, I get trauma, but you'd think there would be a way to do something and that a homicide detective would be particularly motivated to not conceal a murder suspect.)

Is it the dealing with trauma story or some unnamed mystery she needs to solve?

Stephsco said...

No - This reads like a good start to a query but not a complete one. I liked the first paragraph, but most of the second is a repeat with the exception of the last line. What is the threat if she keeps his identity a secret?

Anonymous said...

No, for all the reasons that all the other commenters said no. Repetitive, confusing, no true sense of what the real mystery is...and this has all been done many times.

Mia K Rose said...

No. Your hook is great but then you go into repetition with your second paragraph.

S L Jenan said...

No. I'm going to have to really like a character A LOT before I forgive her for considering whether she should let a killer go free to protect her ego (especially as a law enforcement officer).

Adam Heine said...

NO. I don't feel like her choice is really a choice; what happens to her if she doesn't report, except that I lose respect for her?

MittensMorgul said...

No,

Build on the first line instead of repeating it. I'm itching to rewrite this!

macaronipants said...

No. I'm afraid it's too familiar and doesn't stand out, plus not enough stakes.

Elizabeth Light said...

No. I wanted to like this, but I find it hard to believe that a detective would stay quiet about her abuse if there was evidence that her abuser murdered a young girl.

Megan C. said...

No. I was excited when I read the first paragraph, but the rest felt more like a rough draft. A little more polishing might help.

CM said...

No. I'm not keen on the premise, the stakes are very low, and the writing is confusing.

sarahwedgbrow said...

No. I didn't believe the plot.

Krista V. said...

No, although I think Kate's dilemma is an interesting one. I really like the idea of a cop having a personal grudge against a suspect while doubting that the suspect actually committed the crime in question, but the writing didn't feel as smooth as it could have (especially that momentary switch to the victim's point of view at the beginning of the second paragraph).