Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #27

GENRE: Traditional Mystery

Identity theft, computer hacking, and murder—and it’s only Monday.

Cooter Ferry’s top news jockey, Quindley Dempsy is a transplanted Yankee with a penchant for interfering in police investigations and a knack for solving murders. The former embedded war reporter has raised a mountain of cash to build a high-tech rehab clinic for injured combat veterans. When a body drops from the rafters during the clinic’s dedication, Quindley sets out to nail the bastard who killed her best friend—the chief finance officer of her mega-bucks foundation.

The first time I fired a gun, I killed six people—and all I got was a lousy t-shirt. Actually, a shirt and a three-inch titanium screw that holds my right ankle together.

I’m Quindley Dempsy, Eagle 7 News feature reporter, and I’ve learned there are only two rules in deep-pocket fundraising. Rule 1—reel in as much loot as possible at each event, and Rule 2—repeat Rule 1, as needed. I’m a Rule 2 Goddess. Good thing, too. Because my Global Warrior Foundation needs more scratch. That’s why I decided to dangle another money-raising shindig alongside the dedication of our new veteran’s rehabilitation center.

I funneled a Diet Mountain Dew, held back a belch, and strutted to the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen.” The gala’s velvety hum subsided. “Your generous contributions made Five Angels a reality.” I swept my arms around the atrium connecting the new rehab clinic with the vets’ medical center. “Tonight, we’re dedicating this miraculous facility. But our work is unfinished.”

It was one of those blithe, sultry Lowcountry evenings. Bow-tied waiters, proffering trays of champagne and canapés, slalomed through the crush of moneyed-elite, noted philanthropists, and local celebrities eager to donate to my cause.

“The war has created a painful and expensive legacy—brain-injured and limbless young bodies—who will challenge our ability to care for them for decades to come. And Government resources for prosthetics and specialized medical attention are at a breaking point. One high-tech leg starts at sixty-thousand dollars. Cheers to each of your two good ones. Now, how many limbs will you buy tonight?”


  1. The first sentence of your log line certainly captured my interest, but I had to re-read the second sentence to understand that Cooter Ferry was the name of a town (I think), not a character.

    Quindley has a strong voice, and she seems like an interesting character. Without reading the log line, though, I probably wouldn't have known she was female--the gun, the belch, etc. threw me. (You do say Goddess... and maybe one more hint, like she's wearing a dress or "strutted to the microphone in my five-inch heels," would solidify that).

    I didn't find her sympathetic immediately, but I'd definitely be willing to keep reading and see how she develops in the first chapter.

    The opening sentence was gripping, but didn't seem to relate to the paragraphs that followed--assume you'll explain this event later. It does make her sound a bit callous!

    Your last paragraph was great--Quindley became more likable, and I loved the line "Now, how many limbs will you buy tonight?"

    You also have some great descriptions in here ("bow-tied waiters, proffering trays of champagne and canapes" provides an instant image). Nice job!

  2. I like this. The voice is good, and there are some interesting word choices, ie - the waiters slalomed.

    I agree about feeling like the MC was a male, but I get that with my main characters as well, so saying Goddess helped.

    Good job:)

  3. I don't think the first sentence is doing much for you. It's a list without context. I think your log line'd be stronger without it.

    The rest of the log line worked pretty well, but I do think there's a bit too much info in there. Also, we learn that Quindley is a 'transplanted yankee', but not where she has been transplanted to (I don't know where Cooter Ferry is).

    I like the intro to the character - a lot of voice there. But, why present the fact that she has killed 6 people and has a screw in her ankle, then not explain at all? I'd consider starting with the second para.

    More importantly: I like your mc a lot! She's spunky, aggressive, funny. I like that she has a noble goal and that I already feel like she's going to be able to handle this murder that'll be coming up. Well accomplished; I feel like I'm in safe hands.

  4. Logline: The first 3 lines here are too much. Focus on your main character and give us one detail about his/her life. Then, move on to the "when a body drops..." and tell us a couple things that will make this a challenge.

    Good luck!

  5. I have a problem with the beginning. The intro of her is that of a reporter who gets the big scoops but yet what we get is her as a fundraiser. I do think her voice sounds breezy and authentic but it will be a fine balancing act to reel her in so she is still likable. Also, I am not sure shat Cooter Ferry has to do with an ambitious - 'star' reporter or anything. I mean, would a backwoods place like that really have a moneyed and celebrity set or was that meant to be wry humor? I think the voice is probably enough to make me give this a chapter or two before I made up my mind.

  6. Logline: I agree with Happy in that your place name doesn't need to lead that sentence. You could move it to the third sentence following 'for injured combat veterans in the small southern town of Cooter Ferry.'

    First 250: IMHO, your paragraphs lack cohesive transitions - I'm not sure what your first graph has to do w/ her second, your second w/ your third, etc. There's a better way to weave in backstory, altho if this was mine, I'd start when the body falls from the ceiling. Or perhaps w/ the memory of the last conversation Quindley has with the dead guy.

  7. When the first line says the MC killed 6 people I kind of want to know more about that before I can go on. I think you have two choices - either lose the line or resign yourself to explaining it. Her callousness at this - even if it was, as I was assuming, in war makes me think she might not be someone I want to spend any time with.

  8. Too busy for me. Too much going on

  9. I didn't like the first sentence of the logline. I also felt it didn't give me information I could connect with anything in context. The sentences are complicated and there's too much "voice" (as odd as that sounds) in the logline that gets in the way of me understanding what's actually going on.

    I'm also not fond of the shocking first line of the narrative because it's not explained and doesn't connect very well as an introduction to the fundraising scene. What I can't tell from this page is whether she's raising money for altruistic reasons. The callousness of her description in killing people, her mannerisms, and her cut-throat approach to fundraising without any sort of empathy for wounded veterans made me think she's doing this for personal gain.

    I also think the speech goes on too long without anything to pique my interest.

    There is a lot of good voice in the narrative, though, and the MC is seemingly unique in both manner and backstory. I wish I knew whether I'm supposed to like her as a person.

  10. I have to say, "Cooter Ferry" makes me giggle every time I read it. I know it's very southern and we even have a Cooter Island here, but Cooter's just a funny word and I am truly immature!

    And "Cooter Ferry" also does a good job of conjuring up a backwoods, redneck southern town. So good job on the name.

    My main problem with the logline is the last line- is her BFF the CFO or is the CFO the murdering bastard? Wasn't quite sure.

    I love the first paragraph- I thought it was hilarious. But it doesn't flow with the second. While it does give us insight to Quin's character (tough and ballsy with a sarcastic sense of humor), it doesn't transition well.

    But I have no problem with sarcastic, tough, ballsy female MC's.I'd love to see more of them!

    Good descriptions, as others commented. Love the scene of the rich and fabulous you've conjured up. And that last line about buying "limbs", way to humanize and hit the empathy button! I hope you help out with local fundraisers in real life!

  11. I agree w/ DJ. Cooter is a funny word. It's a perfect name to conjur your locale. Although I do wonder how your MC ends up there if she's such a star-reporter.

    Th shooting 6 people really intrigues me. I'm not turned off by it, but it doesn't seem to fit into this scene anywhere. I'd save it for when you can explain it.

    Love the voice in this scene. Great word choice. Especially in the last line :)

  12. Not sure why this place Cooter is where a reporter 'makes her bones'? I mean, a backwater place full of celebrities seems strange. I founf the first paragraph disturbing because it was not explained - and no matter what the circumstance, humans usually have a reaction to taking 6 lives. I did not find that 'hilarous' as one person said. Big yucks. 6 dead.

  13. I have a cold, so my critiques are a bit spare. Apologies. What I said above still stands, but to elaborate a bit: too busy--both action and in adjectives.

  14. I like the quirk established - her name the town's name, it feels like this is set up to be a caper of sorts, but that first line about shooting 6 people left me unsettled. The belching I can deal with but why did she shoot people?!

    There are lots of jam-packed lines here that are clever and work. But it does feel like a little breathing room is needed. A few simpler lines to establish the character couched in the more descriptive lines. That's my take on the agent's comment about it being too busy. I think you have a lot to work with, so good luck.