12.20.2006

HH Com 207 (202)

Ryan Harper solves problems with a gun. Single mother Frankie Castor uses her positive attitude and cheery disposition. Can they work together when their lives depend on it?

For Frankie, life is good when everyone around her is happy. She thinks nothing of dropping her Boston career and returning to her small-town Montana home to help her aging mother. When Frankie meets a troubled stranger, she doesn't hesitate to help him, unaware she will soon face choosing between her daughter's life and matters of national security that could cost the lives of millions.

For Ryan Harper, keeping his country safe is his life--first as a Navy SEAL, then as an operative for Blackthorne, Inc., a private organization that goes where Uncle Sam can't. Banished from the field after two missions go south, Ryan can't believe anyone thinks he would leak vital information. Unable to use Blackthorne's resources, he returns home, taking with him a computer file he thinks might hold the key to the leaks. Before he can unlock its secrets, he's sidetracked by Frankie and her daughter, Molly, who open a place in his heart he didn't know existed. When terrorists descend into the Montana mountains, Ryan must decide between fighting for his country or fighting to rescue people he loves.

These are character portraits not a hook.

Start with how they meet. What puts them in jeopardy? Who are the terrorists and why are they in Montana? Vacation?

I like the first paragraph but after that you need to get to the action and be specific about who the bad guys are.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this the same book as the cleaning lady with the Navy Seal as a husband hook I saw sowhere back in the 100's? If it is, this is a much better version of a hook, but then you lost the dead body. If it's not, then I'm left to conclude that it's essentially the faceless evil after them. This is another hook where I think the author is holding too much information back. You have to spill the beans about the antagonist. Maybe they don't discover who that is until the last page, but I think that a hook to an agent has to include that, unless that in and of itself is the plot (discover who's messing with us)

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong, but this appears to have multiple antagonists, one that's leaking info and some terrorists. If that's the case, then the reason that the leaking info is a problem should be made clear and we should get a hint as to the terrorists' intent (other than just to terrorize). If they are the same entity, then you could throw a global "the Russian Mafia" is messing with this guy. Otherwise, if finding out who is behind the terrorists and leaks is the main plot carrying the story, that should be spelled out.

HawkOwl said...

There is an Arrogant Worms song called Malcolm Solves his Problems with a Chainsaw. The moral is "he never has the same problem twice."

Other than that, it seemed no different from a lot of other crime / conspiracy novels. Not a bad thing if that's your genre.

wavybrains said...

I like this one. I'd read this--but then I'm a sucker for Suzanne Brockmann and other SEAL books. This does come awfully close to 2 of her plots though---you'll want to make sure that that your voice shines through and makes it unique. It sounds like you have a bit of humorous take--play that up. Don't give up! You've got something here!

Dave said...

I don't understand why terrorists are interested in Montana. I have nothing against Montana, it's a great place but there's nothing there. It's all mountain, high plains and wilderness.

If the action occurs there, they why? Perhaps that's the story?

When terrorists assemble in Montana to launch an attack on the western USA, only Ryan Harper, a disgraced killer-for-hire, and Frankie Castor, a faithful daughter taking care of her sick mother stand in their way.

Crys said...

dave, that's a good hook!

Terry said...

I'll fess up as author.
Anon 1 -- no, this is my only sub.
Wavybrains -- Thanks. I've had positive feedback from editors and agents about my voice.


Good points about how much to reveal; my lesson for this exercise. As suspense, I'm not sure how much to reveal, but obviously it needs more than what I've done here.

As a modification of my query letter, this one's got about a 33% request for partials from the agents I've sent it to. Maybe with what I've learned, I can up it to 50. Given that it's in the romance genre, they seem to like lots of character GMC in their query letters. But this was a lesson in hooks, not queries. My bad.

Dave:
Perhaps I should add: Ryan, sidetracked by helping Frankie find out what happened to her mother's savings, is blindsided by international terrorists who have traced him to Montana in pursuit of the file.

Or do I need to spell out even more? Like what's in the file?