Hh Com 350

The signs were there – twelve year-old Jason’s tantrums, bullying, emotional detachment and then there was the matter of the bludgeoning of a neighbor’s cat. But it’s only when four-year-old Karl, whom Jason has befriended, is missing that Grace Genovese can no longer ignore her son’s disturbing behavior.

When Karl is found murdered and Jason confesses to the crime Grace’s world is ripped apart. Impossible, she thinks. But, on a deeper level she’s suspected his guilt all along. She wants to stand by him but is horrified by his lack of remorse.

When Grace encounters Karl’s mother, she comes to the terrifying realization that she wishes her son had never been born. She discovers there’s a worse torment than the death of one’s child. That is to be the mother of a child-killer.

At her lowest point Grace comes to realize she cannot spend her life mourning her son and decides to pursue her dream of owning a business.

(your hook ends here)
I wrote Fruit of the Poisoned Tree to explore the themes of guilt, grief and healing after my daughter was killed. At that time I believed no greater tragedy could befall a parent, but after much thought, I discovered I’d been wrong.

My novel is a story about a mother’s hope, redemption and courage. While Grace’s situation is extreme, it is emblematic of every parent’s angst, especially mothers, who will relate to Grace’s struggle as they themselves must deal with a wide range of issues regarding responsibility for their children.

I absolutely assure you that no mother wants to relate to being the parent of a murderer. Even the ones who are.

I see a lot of novels that were written for therapeutic purposes. It's generally not a good thing to put in a query letter. Why you wrote it really doesn't matter to the story. The story has to stand on its own regardless of motivation.

There are some novels that deal with this topic, most particularly We Need To Talk About Kevin

The idea that she deals with the problems of her son by opening a business is such an oddball response that I'm left wondering what kind of business as if that would make it less odd.

This isn't a hook, it's sort of a description.


Anonymous said...

Very intense subject, sounds very promising too.

Kim said...

This one drew me in with a mixture of horror and gotta-read-on. My one question is, didn't Jason's mother think there might be problem when her son bludgeoned the cat? Every expert on the planet says that cruelty to animals is a HUGE red flag - why did she not see it? Is she too wrapped up in herself, her work, is she a single mother and that's why?

Still, I think this has the potential to be a very powerful story and my sympathies on the loss of your daughter as well. I can imagine this wasn't at all easy to write.

Good luck!

chanceofbooks said...

You had me all the way up until "opens a business" give her a more redeeming goal--social work, community center, victim assistance, spiritual calling. It's too abrupt a shift from "how do I deal with this unspeakable horror" to "let's open a business"---it sounds too much like "let's just forget about it." Which I am SURE is not your intent---it just needs to be more clear. Kudos to you for dealing with your grief in this way---I can't tell you how much I admire that.

Stacia said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, author.

Anonymous said...

I'd leave out the part about Grace pursuing her dream of owning a business entirely. It's probably handled with a lot more grace in the story than it is in this hook. Since the novel seems to focus more on emotions than mechanics, I'd focus more on the fact that Grace does put her mourning behind her than exactly how she goes about doing so.

HawkOwl said...

I have to agree that the "start a business" MO isn't very relatable, but I'd look at this.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to Miss Snark's comments, I'd be fascinated to read about how it feels to be the parent of a murderer. The idea that once you have kids you don't want to read anything more challenging than Green Eggs and Ham is patronising in the extreme.

(And I can't tell you how inspiring it is that you've created something so insightful from such a devastating experience. You have both my sympathy and my admiration - both of which would make me want to buy your book!)