Query critique 4/16/20

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY

Query critique 4/16/20

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 13th, 2020, 1:15 pm

Want to see how your editing approach compares to mine?

Below is the query up for critique on the blog on Thursday. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.

I'll be back on Thursday with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.

If you'd like to enter a query for a future Query Critique, please do so here.

Ms Literary Agent(name):
I am sending you this query seeking representation for my completed first novel, Heaven, Hell or Nothing, an 83,000-word Psychological Crime Thriller with elements of Southern Gothic. My novel shares similarities to popular books like, The Devil All the Time, Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

After a lifetime of mistreatment, painfully withdrawn Shelley Popper experiences feelings of rebirth when his abusive father is killed in Afghanistan and voices emboldening him to strike back against a childhood nemesis, Dalton Moon, who has grown to become a ruthless human trafficker.

The novel is set in rural Ozark, Alabama a quiet town, easy to miss and known mostly as a place one drives through on the way to the Florida panhandle beaches. Unspeakable evil can exist in the unlikeliest of places. Shelley Popper is a bright but awkward young man growing up in Ozark with crippling social anxiety. He has endured a childhood of abuse at the hands of his army pilot father who is unexpectedly killed in Afghanistan, triggering Shelley to experience a surge of confidence. Shelley is cheered on by Ichwurd, a mysterious hitchhiker he picks up on a dark highway, to fight his fear and seize his moments. Shelley has had a lifetime of being bullied by his nemesis, Dalton Moon. Dalton has grown to become a drug dealer and human trafficker navigating his way around the law, the Cartel and his own sociopathic ambitions. Small town life and a gulf hurricane seem to have surreptitiously placed Shelley in Dalton’s world, forcing Shelley to consider the voices of his dark angels and violently settle an old score.
I have enjoyed a career traveling the cities and towns of the South. I have met its characters – characters full of charm and contradiction. My experiences in the South and a degree in psychology inhabit and compel my work. I recently had a personal narrative memoir published on al.com.
As per your submission guidelines, I have included the first two chapters of Heaven, Hell or Nothing. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Dave Hammond

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