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Query Critique: Fantasy

The second critique in a month. I’m on a roll. Here’s one for a fantasy in a genre that interests me, but would still likely be better for either  Beth or Moe.

“I agree that the material in this email can be posted and critiqued on the BookEnds Literary Agency blog. I give permission for it to be archived for the life of the blog.”

Dear Query Queen,

For Reseda Heartsease, being a Fae means she gets harassed by the cops on a daily basis.

I’m not sure your query benefits from this opening sentence. It feels a little like a rhetorical question. What’s the point? (tee-hee). Anyway, I think you could drop it. If you wanted, start your query with the title, genre, etc. I’m not a stickler for that (since I can skim to the bottom to find those answers), but I do know a lot of agents prefer queries that way.

When her ex-husband—a human—is murdered, she’s the prime suspect. He was shot with a gun registered in her name and she has no alibi for the night in question. Her ability to fly and shapeshift would’ve allowed her to make it back in time to do her lounge singer act at Club Noir. And to make matters worse, her ex was an addict hooked on the illegal substance found on the wings of a Fae. Hers.

I like this. I’m intrigued. The only thing I feel I’m missing is information about the world this is set in.

When the human detective in charge of the case interviews her she senses his attraction but she doesn’t need a cop in her life, especially not a human one. But Ree can’t resist a human male, they smell so delicious so they spend a passionate night together. Unfortunately, their subsequent involvement—with explicit photos—leads to the detective being fired for consorting with a known murder suspect.

Unfortunately, for me this paragraph removes any interest I had in the story. It feels to me like the book has gone off track. I wanted an urban fantasy mystery ala Jim Butcher, but now I’m getting a romance, maybe slightly erotic (“they smell so delicious”) and it feels a little corny to me. This paragraph, in fact, feels totally disconnected from the first.

After two more murders are pinned on her, Ree has to pair up with the detective to figure out who is framing her. If she doesn’t she’s going to go to prison for a very long time.

Now I’m completely lost on where this story is going.

THE HEARTSEASE DETECTIVE AGENCY is the first book in a planned murder mystery series. It features a human male and a female Fae as partners-in-love solving crimes in an urban setting. Although it has potential be a series, it is also a standalone. It is complete at 65,000 words. THE HEARTSEASE DETECTIVE AGENCY will appeal to readers who enjoy Jim Butcher’s, Dresden Files series and Tanya Huff’s, Blood Ties series.

I’m confused by the title since no mention of a detective agency was made in any of the query.


Category: Blog



  1. My 2 cents… the first sentence should be cut and added the next paragraph. Something like When [Reseda Heartsease’s] ex-husband—a human—is murdered, she’s the prime suspect. Not only is she fae but her ability etc

    I agree with Jessica on the next paragraph. It certainly swings to the realm of romance. I think you could make this one sentence Ree’s close relationship to the human detective on the case gets him thrown off the job type thing. The last sentence about Ree pairing up with the detective seems a bit late as I already thought they had paired up.

    Make the second paragraph about the detective agency, or at least about Ree doing the detecting.

    It sounds intriguing! Best of luck.

  2. I’m a romance reader, and I don’t often go or crime. But I do like urban fantasy and paranormal, great crime done in those areas does appeal.

    Agreeing with what has already been said they first sentence needs moving or removing, it floats for no reason.

    The first paragraph grabbed my interest. However, you lost me at the second one. The romance feels like an afterthought. Oh, romance and erotic elements are popular, I’ll add them.
    As many people don’t like romance, as do, so for some having a book without that may be a refreshing change.

    When you jump back to the story, you bring the couple together to get her out of trouble, then later mention a possible series of them working together. Could these pieces of information not be brought together?
    If they are lovers, start working together, and open an agency themselves. That gives a lot of room for tension between the couple as well as the working situation they are in and would play a major role in the story arc.

    It sounds very interesting, good luck with it.

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