If you’ve never heard of “Query Shark,” don’t be surprised. It’s a blog with a readership that’s limited to hopeful authors who want to get published. Unpublished writers send their book queries, and the “shark” (as well as readers) provide feedback about how to make them better.
I’ve decided to send a query for my novel Drop House to the Query Shark for criticism and feedback. Before I do, I thought I’d give my own friends and readers an opportunity to give me “pre-feedback” so I can make my book query better before I send it.
So here goes—let ‘er rip!
Dear Query Shark:
Jorge is frantic. An expected “shipment” has gone missing, and he suspects a competitor is orchestrating a hostile takeover. He’s struggling to stay focused while trying in vain to figure out what happened to his “inventory.” One of his employees is already dead—lying gut-shot in the unforgiving desert. Jorge is a human smuggler, a pollero, and it’s up to him to protect his assets while figuring out who’s trying to put him out of business.
Sabel is desperate. After enduring the endless walking, the heavy backpack full of drugs and the brutalization at the hands of her guides, the 17-year-old has been kidnapped by members of a ruthless drug gang. Instead of a bottle of water and a quiet ride to Phoenix, she and her fellow illegal immigrants suddenly face extortion, torture and worse at the hands of brutal gunmen. Completely alone, the young woman knows the only way out is escape—or death.
Jorge and his cousin Javier are still doing damage control when two of their drop houses are attacked. More men are killed, more illegals jacked or murdered. A single survivor offers a possible clue about their unknown enemy. As the cousins sort through the wreckage of their damaged operation, they begin to suspect that the “survivor” might actually be the rat who betrayed them.
Against all hope, Sabel manages to escape her captors and is aided and protected by Cecilia and Paul, two sympathetic strangers. The terrors of human trafficking spill over into the suburbs as these more-or-less ordinary citizens try to help the teenaged girl. Now they’re all on the run, desperate to evade the coyotes and drug dealers as they try to help each other stay alive.
DROP HOUSE, a mainstream novel, is 135,000 words. Set against the backdrop of the passage of Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal-immigration legislation, the story dives deep into the dangerous, shadowy world of human smuggling, the illegal arms trade, and cartel-related kidnappings.
Thank you for your consideration.