HH Com 150

Peter Crag and John McCleary, both former Philly Homicide cops, operate a small and not very successful private detective agency in Philadelphia. John McCleary is found dead under a boat in Harrah’s Marina Casino harbor in Atlantic City, an apparent accidental drowning. A chance encounter leads Crag to believe his partner had been murdered, why and by whom unknown. Crag is driven by that most primal of urges, the honor-bound duty of a cop to avenge his friend and partner. Unraveling the mystery leads Crag to the grimy streets of Philly strip clubs, a gentleman’s suddenly sinister country estate in the beautiful rolling hills of Bucks County, the glitz of Atlantic City casinos, the seemingly senseless murder of his long time woman, a car containing a young couple and a million dollars at the bottom of a quarry, a former minor league baseball player in a bullet riddled wetsuit, and a bizarre marriage between a man he thought he knew and a beautiful woman in a freezer.

This is a run down of the plot. What happens if he doesn't solve the case? Why should we care? I love a good detective yarn as my library thing list shows, but you've got to give me some specifics to entice me to read the book, and care about the characters.

Your hook is probably that he's not a good detective but if he doesn't solve this one he'll be the next one in the freezer kind of thing. You'll want to twist that around and make it your own cause it's a bit long in the tooth as hooks go, but you get the idea.


HawkOwl said...

I don't think the "honor-bound duty of a cop to avenge his friend and partner" is the most primal of urges. Protecting your kids is. Other than that it sounds like a run-of-the-mill detective story. Maybe you need to focus more on what makes it an original detective story.

Anonymous said...

I am but, an amateur but…

“John McCleary is found dead under a boat” I am going to assume that somewhere in your story it states that his body had eventually got lose of some kind of restraint and it floated to the waters surface.

“senseless murder of his long time woman” Unless your using a voice behind your writing (or first person) this needs revising.

I find there too many commas; I would revise it a bit more.

Now I like crime dramas I would read this.

michaelgav said...

I like the elements included here, and wish you'd laid them out in a different way -- something other than a long (I stopped counting at 75 words) list of where Crag was led in his efforts to unravel the mystery. I would start reading the book, however -- it figures to move along. The cop / private eye honor bound to avenge his partner's murder obviously goes back before noir, but it is still a compelling motivator if handled right. But hey, I decommission offensive lawn ornaments for a living, so consider the source.

BernardL said...

This may not be a hook, but I would have taken a glance at a few pages if I saw the blurb on the back cover.

i_heart_francis said...

thank you, Miss Snark, for sharing these 'hooks' with your readers---i know that i, for one, have learned a quite lot.

i will say however that i worry for the authors who have submitted; too many frequent commenters offering alleged "constructive criticisms" are actually doing nothing but spewing consistent negativity, if not being outright hurtful. i find even their "compliments" difficult to read and have to wonder about their motives here, generally.

a little kindness really can go a long way.

Virginia Miss said...

This could be good, but you might want to tighten up some of the language in your hook. The last sentence is 87 words long.

Perhaps you could list some venues (grimy streets, country estate, glitzy Atlantic City casinos), then, in a different sentence, state some complications more simply (such as the seemingly senseless murder of his long time woman).

When I got to "a beautiful woman in a freezer" I thought wtf?

tomdg said...

Personally, I don't like "chance meetings" - they ruin my suspension of disbelief. Also, the last paragraph smacks of kitchen sink syndrome (see Miss Snark's excellent comment on #60).

I like the "small and not very successful" bit though.

Problem is, when the partner dies, I'm reminded of The Maltese Falcon, and the book has lost what could have been an interesting relationship.

Anonymous said...

Really Miss Snark how can anyone ask for us to be any nicer than we are when someones blog is titled "My travels around the world with the disembodied ceramic head of St. Francis of Assisi"

:P whatever! I'm catholic and I find this offensive.


aries said...

I liked the hook but then I'm a crime novel fan and I'm from Philly. I agree that the hook needs more urgency, but this is something I'd definitely want to read further.

i_heart_francis said...

Saint Francis has never liked the Catholics, so this explains everything.