12.15.2006

HHCom 8

Once Felicia Fascino decided to step into her father’s footsteps and become a contract killer, she named conditions: Stephen, her handler, would help search for the man that murdered her mother, every mark would deserve their fate and Elizabeth—his daughter and her best friend—would know the truth about what they do for a living.

Now a vigilante by means of hired assassin, Felicia has spent the last five years training, perfecting her craft and surviving the underground world of contract killing one hit at a time.

After Stephen decides to retire, he names Elizabeth as his replacement. The unexpected change triggers a chain-reaction of events and over the next year, Felicia’s normally isolated existence begins to unravel. Another hit man exposes her identity and becomes a provocative distraction. Secrets add tension to the relationships with her family and friends. Reckless mistakes on and off the job threatens her livelihood and almost claim her life.

When Stephen is targeted, Felicia effortlessly eliminates the menace only to realize she has become a liability to everyone around her. She is forced to make a tough decision, one that would save her family’s life and ultimately exile her from everyone she loves.


Here's the PW review for Barry Eisler's Last Assassin:

Japanese-American assassin John Rain would like to get out of the killing business, see the son he's only just learned of and perhaps try to reconnect with Midori, the child's mother. But first there's the little matter of the Japanese gangster Yamaoto and Yamaoto's Chinese triad allies, who are watching over Rain's son in New York City, not to mention Delilah, the beautiful Mossad agent who shares Rain's occupation and his bed. Seizing the initiative, Rain enlists the aid of his super-sniper friend, Dox, in a campaign to remove Yamaoto. Rain and allies clash with their many powerful foes in combat scenes full of lovingly detailed descriptions of knives, guns and other martial paraphernalia. Amid the threats to life, limb and loved ones, Rain finds time to enjoy good food, better whiskey and even better sex. While most of the action takes place in Japan, Eisler handles all the story's locales, including Manhattan and Barcelona, with considerable aplomb.


See the difference?

Your first paragraph is one sentence of 54 words. This bodes ill for your ability to write nimbly.

Good hooks are specific and enticing.

Try again.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ugh. A flap copy contest. Someone may break through, but it's going to be a long ride.

Mig said...

Miss Snark hits upon the main problem here. That first paragraph needs to be tightened considerably. The second paragraph is a waste and the third paragraph tightened further, but is the strongest part. Also need a better sense of what the conflict is. Is it the possible exposure of her identity, the tension with her family, her recklessness on the job, or how her job threatens the people around her.

HawkOwl said...

What does "now a vigilante by means of hired assassin" even mean?

Benja Fallenstein said...

I'm not exactly with Miss Snark or the commenters on this one. I like the setup of the first paragraph, and thought it was the best part of this, although I do agree that breaking up the overly long sentence would be a good thing -- I had to read it twice.

I would add a sentence about why whoever is in charge decides to agree to her conditions.

After that, in my opinion the query deteriorates. I don't care about unspecified secrets and events. The particulars you mention seem random. And there's nothing unique about any of it.

What's the central conflict? What's the decision your main character has to make? Why should we care?

My advice would be to "refocus and revise," as Miss Snark says.

Anonymous said...

thank you all for the comments, good and bad, they are appreciated!
~j