Query Critique 69

Thirty-one-year-old Francy is sure she’s already solved the mystery of her family’s murder. Until she discovers she was wrong. Intriguing hook!

When Francy was just twelve years old, her entire family was murdered aboard a chartered yacht, all while she was fast asleep below deck. The media dubbed it the Shook Family Vacation Massacre. I’m not sure this sentence is very important as it doesn’t really provide me with new information about the plot. Phobic loner Francy has spent most of her adult life trying to forget this past while barely scraping by in the present. When the convicted murderer—boat captain Harvey Denham—passes away in jail, Francy becomes unexpectedly mixed up with the killer’s son, Eli. Just to be clear, Eli is the captain’s son? It’s a little confusing to call him the killer’s son since you’ve indicated that the captain wasn’t really the murderer. Eli is adamant about his father’s innocence, and Francy is sure of his guilt. Together, they set out to discover the truth—him searching for new suspects, and her trying to rule them out. When Francy finally separates fact from fiction, though, she begins to wonder whether the truth isn’t actually worse than the lie. I like that you’re trying to introduce some stakes here, but I think it could be made stronger by including more specifics. What makes it worse than a lie? Overall, you have an interesting concept, though.

Can’t Take It with You is a 75,000 word mystery novel. Readers of Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train, Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, and Susan Crawford’s The Pocket Wife will find enjoyment in this book. Good comp titles, but this sentence feels a little awkward in the wording.

Partial or full manuscript is available upon your request. Thank you for your time,


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