HH Com 214 (210)

Ex-convict Joe Fane wants to make a clean break from his past, but Houston racketeer Charley Shyler wants him back on the job--and Shyler will kill to get his way.

While on the run, Joe meets Molly Teague, a captivating woman who volunteers at a homeless shelter. The shelter occupies land that Shyler covets, and when his thugs torch the place, Joe and Molly vow revenge.

They set up a sting. Molly's mother poses as a wealthy dowager from Martinique, Joe as a crooked developer. As expected, Shyler muscles in, and Joe relies on his old boss's greed--plus a cache of stolen gold--to fleece him for three million bucks.

It almost works.

That's a hook.
It's also got some problems.
First, if he's an ex-convict, why is he on the run? If he's an escaped convict, sure, but ex-con implies they let him out.

And if Charley wants Joe "back on the job" why would he kill him? He only employs zombies now?

I'd send this query letter back with those questions but I'd read this if it was cleaned up.


skybluepinkrose said...

I think Joe is on the run from Charley. And this is a "you're either in the mob or you're dead" situation.

Make these two points clearer.

michaelgav said...

I would start reading to find out if the characters are edgier and speak with more freshness than the language in the hook. It sounds like an Elmore-esque setup, but of course that works best when the language and the dialogue really snap. Good job, though, you've got me wanting to read it.

wavybrains said...

I liked this one. I'd like more of sense of Joe and Molly's personalities, but this one has some real potential.

Anonymous said...

I assumed Joe was on the run from Charley.

tomdg said...

"It almost works." That sounds interesting - I'm itching to know what happens next :)

Kit Whitfield said...

I like the last line a lot. Mordant, tantalising, punchy.

Anonymous said...

Boy, Molly's an awfully bloodthirsty homeless-shelter head, isn't she?

Anonymous said...

The writer says:

ARRRGH!... In my pursuit of “less is more”, I blundered into the land of “too much less is not enough”.

Yep, Joe’s on the run from Charley Shyler, not the law. Maybe it should have opened--

“Ex-convict Joe Fane wants to make a clean break from his past, but Houston racketeer Charley Shyler wants him back on the job... or dead. Not liking either choice, Joe lams it.

"Living on the streets, he meets (etc.)”

Anyway, thanks for the generous comments. I don’t know if this makes the cut for the 750-word opening, but the critique on the hook alone was worth the effort.