NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

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D.T.Roberts
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NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by D.T.Roberts » April 18th, 2011, 9:26 pm

Hey all, this is the first draft of my query for my new novel NOCTURNAL. (also still in first draft) All comments welcome.

Dear (agent name here):

When FBI profiler Reardon Meeks goes to Albuquerque to help find a serial killer, clues left at the crime scenes begin not only to reveal a profile of the killer, but secrets from his own past that are more horrific than even his darkest imagination.

After the death of his older brother, twelve- year- old Reardon endures the cruel comparisons by his father to his perfect older sibling. Longing for acceptance, Reardon tries in vain for three years to fill the now empty shoes, only to meet with more torturous ridicule, until his father is brutally murdered. The case goes unsolved and fifteen-year-old Reardon vows to find the killer, no matter how long it takes.

Now, after a glorious twenty year career as an FBI profiler, Reardon is ready to retire, but one final case has piqued his interest. A serial killer is targeting public figures in his hometown of Albuquerque. At each crime scene, Reardon finds strange clues left by the killer that alone are meaningless, until a final clue ties them together causing a flood of repressed memories to surface. They seem to be a message from his long dead brother. As Reardon begins to question his own sanity, he is convinced that he is on the trail of his father’s killer. He becomes obsessed with the message and spirals deeper and deeper into madness from which there may be no return.

NOCTURNAL is a psychological thriller complete at 93,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dale Roberts
dale2118@yahoo.com
It has been said that writing comes more easily if you have something to say.

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alienbogey
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Re: NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by alienbogey » April 19th, 2011, 2:33 pm

Dale,

I'll offer my thoughts. Keep in mind that I'm just another unpublished wannabe.

D.T.Roberts wrote:Hey all, this is the first draft of my query for my new novel NOCTURNAL. (also still in first draft) All comments welcome.

Dear (agent name here):

When FBI profiler (What's a profiler?) Reardon Meeks goes to Albuquerque to help find a serial killer,clues left at the crime scenes begin not only (This is passive and a little wordy. How about simply 'he uncovers clues to reveal a profile...")to reveal a profile of the killer, but secrets from his own past that are more horrific than even his darkest imagination.

After the death of his older brother, twelve- year- old Reardon (He's a 12 year old FBI agent? That was my first thought) endures the cruel comparisons by his father to his perfect older sibling. Longing for acceptance, Reardon tries in vain for three years to fill the now his brother's empty shoes, only to meet with more torturous ridicule, until his father is brutally murdered. The case goes unsolved (Which case - the death of his brother or murder of his father? I'm confused) and fifteen-year-old Reardon vows to find the killer, no matter how long it takes. (This paragraph is somewhat unclear to me, but I believe the important point is that it is all backstory. So Reardon had a bad childhood - the whole paragraph shows us nothing about the the conflict in the current story. I would cut the whole paragraph)

Now, after a glorious ('glorious' strikes me as overdone) twenty year career as an FBI profiler (you already said he was an FBI profiler), Reardon is ready to retire, but one final case has piqued piques his interest. A serial killer is targeting public figures in his hometown of Albuquerque. (Albuquerque was mentioned in the first paragraph. It may not be necessary to mention the town even once, let alone twice) At each crime scene, Reardon finds strange clues left by the killer that alone by themselves are meaningless, until but a final clue ties them together causing to cause a flood of repressed memories to surface. They seem to be a message from his long dead brother. (This strikes me as your big hook, but it's kind of lost in the paragraph and needs to be written more dynamically than 'They seem to be...' ) As Reardon begins to question his own sanity, he is convinced that he is on the trail of his father’s killer. He becomes obsessed with the message and spirals deeper and deeper into madness from which there may be no return.

NOCTURNAL is a psychological thriller complete at 93,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dale Roberts
dale2118@yahoo.com

There are my inputs, don't forget how much you paid for them.

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wilderness
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Re: NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by wilderness » April 19th, 2011, 11:46 pm

D.T.Roberts wrote:Hey all, this is the first draft of my query for my new novel NOCTURNAL. (also still in first draft) All comments welcome.

Dear (agent name here):

When FBI profiler Reardon Meeks goes to Albuquerque to help find a serial killer, clues left at the crime scenes begin not only to reveal a profile of the killer, but secrets from his own past that are more horrific than even his darkest imagination. You don't need this log line -- it's redundant with the rest.

After the death of his older brother, twelve- year- old Reardon endures the cruel comparisons by his father to his perfect older sibling. Longing for acceptance, Reardon tries in vain for three years to fill the now empty shoes, only to meet with more torturous ridicule, until his father is brutally murdered. The case goes unsolved and fifteen-year-old Reardon vows to find the killer, no matter how long it takes. This is all backstory. Query Shark would tell you to cut it and I agree.

Start here -> Now,After a glorious twenty year career as an FBI profiler, Reardon is ready to retire, but one final case has piqued his interest. A serial killer is targeting public figures in his hometown of Albuquerque. At each crime scene, Reardon finds strange clues left by the killer that alone are meaningless, until a final clue ties them together causing a flood of repressed memories to surface. Vague. What are the strange clues he finds? Why do they remind him of his brother? They seem to be a message from his long dead brother. As Reardon begins to question his own sanity, he is convinced that he is on the trail of his father’s killer. He becomes obsessed with the message and spirals deeper and deeper into madness from which there may be no return. Why is it madness? Seems like he's on his way to solving a case.

NOCTURNAL is a psychological thriller complete at 93,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dale Roberts
dale2118@yahoo.com
My advice is to cut the first 2 paragraphs and flesh out the last one. Your story is in the clues he finds -- let us feel as chilled as Reardon does by filling us in on the details. Hope that helps & good luck!

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SariBelle
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Re: NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by SariBelle » April 21st, 2011, 9:22 am

Hi Dale, I'm not a big reader of thrillers but hopefully I can help. I think your premise sounds interesting but I think the query could use a little tightening.

Here are my thoughts:
D.T.Roberts wrote: Dear (agent name here):

When FBI profiler Reardon Meeks goes to Albuquerque to help find a serial killer, clues left at the crime scenes begin not only to reveal a profile of the killer, but secrets from his own past that are more horrific than even his darkest imagination. This is a very long sentence, especially for an opener. You want to grab attention straght away and I think that would be better achieved with short, sharp sentences. And I actually agree with Wilderness, I think the next para would be a stronger opener.

After the death of his older brother, twelve- year- old Reardon endures the cruel comparisons by his father to his perfect older sibling. Longing for acceptance, Reardon tries in vain for three years to fill the now empty shoes, only to meet with more torturous ridicule, until his father is brutally murdered. The case goes unsolved and fifteen-year-old Reardon vows to find the killer, no matter how long it takes.

Now, after a glorious I'd cut 'glorious'. I can't tell if it's supposed to be sarcastic or not, and the sentence feels grittier without it, more matching the rest of the query. twenty year career as an FBI profiler, Reardon is ready to retire, but one final case has piqued his interest. A serial killer is targeting public figures in his hometown of Albuquerque. At each crime scene, Reardon finds strange clues left by the killer that alone are meaningless, until a final clue ties them together causing a flood of repressed memories to surface. They seem to be a message from his long dead brother. As Reardon begins to question his own sanity, he is convinced that he is on the trail of his father’s killer. He becomes obsessed with the message and spirals deeper and deeper into madness from which there may be no return. I think this whole last para is great, except for the last line. 'He becomes obsessed' is weak, and as an agent I'd be worried that the book is more about him going mad than about solving the case and figuring out what the mysterious message is.

NOCTURNAL I usually don't say anything about names, but I'm just wondering how this relates to the story? Are all the crimes committed at night? is a psychological thriller complete at 93,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

dms0525
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Re: NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by dms0525 » April 21st, 2011, 11:33 am

D.T.Roberts wrote:Hey all, this is the first draft of my query for my new novel NOCTURNAL. (also still in first draft) All comments welcome.

Dear (agent name here):

When FBI profiler Reardon Meeks goes to Albuquerque to help find a serial killer, clues left at the crime scenes begin not only to reveal a profile of the killer, but secrets from his own past that are more horrific than even his darkest imagination. This sentence is very long. I agree with the others, cut this paragraph.

After the death of his older brother, twelve- year- old Reardon I had to go back and reread the previous sentence to figure out if it really was the same guy. endures the cruel comparisons by his father to his perfect older sibling. If you end up keeping this sentence, it might flow better if you reverse the order. Longing for acceptance Reardon, <--I would delete that tries in vain for three years to fill the now empty shoes, only to meet with more torturous ridicule, until his father is brutally murdered. The case goes unsolved and fifteen-year-old Reardon vows to find the killer, no matter how long it takes.

I would start your query here Now, after a glorious delete glorious twenty year career as an FBI profiler, Reardon is ready to retire, but one final case has piqued his interest. A serial killer is targeting public figures in his hometown of Albuquerque. At each crime scene, Reardon finds strange clues left by the killer that alone are meaningless, until a final clue ties them together causing a flood of repressed memories to surface. Here's where I'd tie in his backstory but only in one sentence. FYI, THIS is where I start to get interested in your story. They seem to be a message from his long dead brother. As Reardon begins to question his own delete OWN sanity, he is convinced that delete THAT he is I would make this HE'S on the trail of his father’s killer. He becomes obsessed with the message and spirals deeper and deeper into madness from which there may be no return.
I hope this was helpful!


NOCTURNAL is a psychological thriller complete at 93,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dale Roberts
dale2118@yahoo.com

dragoness
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Re: NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by dragoness » May 23rd, 2011, 10:04 am

The story sounds very interesting!

I think you should explain why he feels he's becoming crazy- the story is special because of his mental progress, not only his concrete findings, and that should get more weight.

AllieS
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Re: NOCTURNAL, psychological thriller

Post by AllieS » May 24th, 2011, 6:43 pm

When FBI profiler Reardon Meeks goes to Albuquerque to help find a serial killer, clues left at the crime scenes begin not only to reveal a profile of the killer, but secrets from his own past that are more horrific than even his darkest imagination. I agree with the others. Cut this and start with the next paragraph.

After the death of his older brother, twelve- year- old Reardon endures the cruel comparisons by his father to his perfect older sibling. Longing for acceptance, Reardon tries in vain for three years to fill the now empty shoes, only to meet with more torturous ridicule, until his father is brutally murdered. I think this line could be tightened a bit. The case goes unsolved and fifteen-year-old Reardon vows to find the killer, no matter how long it takes.

Now, after a glorious Yeah, I'm a little iffy about the word glorious. twenty year career as an FBI profiler, Reardon is ready to retire, but one final case has piqued his interest. A serial killer is targeting public figures in his hometown of Albuquerque. At each crime scene, Reardon finds strange clues left by the killer that alone are meaningless, until a final clue ties them together causing a flood of repressed memories to surface. They seem to be a message from his long dead brother. As Reardon begins to question his own sanity, he is convinced that he is on the trail of his father’s killer. He becomes obsessed with the message and spirals deeper and deeper into madness from which there may be no return.

Sounds interesting!

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