12.29.2006

HH Com 572

The beauty of the late Alabama autumn makes little impression on Lt. Marisa Strange. She is trying to get a solid footing in her new life and is finding the path full of rocks and hard places.

Her detectives are not happy to see an outsider heading their unit. Rumors abound about why she left a top position with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation for the sheriff’s department in rural Garrard County, Alabama. And Captain James Frazier, a man she both loves and hates, has been made head of the regional ABI office, her main backup for big cases.

(your hook starts here)
Then a lovely red-haired woman is found dead on a pile of bright fall leaves in an isolated area of the county. Before the body can be removed, the crime scene blows up – literally. A crime scene technician and a new sheriff’s deputy are killed. Now Marisa is in the middle of the worst crime in Garrard County history. And everyone at the scene, including Frazier, is under suspicion.

The investigation takes Marisa into the back woods of rural Alabama, and into her own past. She soon suspects the killer lurks among those closest to her. As she pieces the case together, she realizes the killer is harvesting a victim for each season of the year, and he's collected three.

Winter is next.

And she may be the killer’s fourth season.

Gives a whole new meaning to getting your colors done, doesn't it?
You're going to have to come up with something a whole lot more unusual than a woman in a tough job with a love/hate relationship and a killer stalking her. This stuff is absolutely done to death. You can survive pedestrian plotting with amazing writing of course, but "amazing" and "good" aren't the same thing.

Don't work on the hook, work on the book.

5 comments:

Zany Mom said...

I'd read this. Right up my alley. Done to death? Probably. Sounds like 90% of the books on my shelf by Coben, Deaver, Cornwell, Kellerman, Brown, and Hoag. May be same old, same old, but it sells well.

Lurking, stalking killers. Yay!

Word Ver: kkiytu -- sounds like a kung-fu kitty!

BernardL said...

This is an interesting pulp fiction entry I would read, if the first few pages I skimmed through in the book store tempted me.

Virginia Miss said...

I agree with zany mom that this sounds like a lot of stuff on the bookshelves. Stuff lotsa readers love to devour.

I've learned a lot from this crapometer in terms of adhering to Miss Snark's formula.

However, I continue to struggle to understand what counts as a "twist" that would hook an agent, especially in certain genres. In a murder mystery, there's always gonna be a body, a killer, and suspects.

Laura K said...

OK, so the hook isn't well-written. It's just not exciting until the last 3 sentences.

On the other hand, this is formulaic romantic suspense, so if that is what the author is aiming for, the fact that the story is done to death doesn't really matter. As long as there's good detail, lively writing, well-drawn characters, the story will do fine. I am sure Miss Snark is desperately tired of seeing this formula used, but that doesn't mean it can't succeed.

The problem is that the hook doesn't give a reader the sense that those things are going to be evident.

So...it may, indeed, be that you need to work on the book as well as the hook, but if you're aiming for a certain market and the book is better than the hook...well...you see where I am going!

I Said said...

The theme of leaves/autumn/harvesting/ etc. is just altogether too forced. This may likely show up in the writing of the novel as well.