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The Last Lost Warrior (mystery/thriller)


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#1 Tom Preece

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:30 PM

Dear most excellent agent,

 

Maybe his friend killed her, maybe not; George Duvall wants not to know, so he's careful not to ask. The killer was terrified, desperate and deceived by noises in the night, noises not the enemy but only wild pigs. Duvall, afraid to lose his friend, draws suspicion to himself to hide the crime.

 

Thirty five years later the Army CID begins to ask questions. Tuco Ruis runs and looks more guilty than before. With little hope but desperate to help a friend, Duvall tracks Tuco down. Tuco hasn't made it easy; he's ripped off another old comrade, a gangster who wants him dead. Tuco's running but maybe not just from cops, and Duvall's less sure of Tuco's doing or what he wants. If the cops get Tuco he's down for murder, if the gangster gets him, worse. Duvall has to find Tuco, evade the gangster and the cops, but find Tuco and learn the truth, maybe from the barrel of Tuco's gun.

 

The Last Lost Warrior complete in 96,806 words is a mystery/thriller with elements of war and should have a niche market among combat veterans of any war and their families.

 

A war protester of the late 60's, drafted and trained, I proudly served in E Recon 1/7th Cavalry during the Vietnam war. I subsequently enjoyed a 30 year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs, you may consider me expert in the pains and shackles of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which haunts the subtext of this book.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Tom Preece

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#2 kevinmont

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:56 PM

This is not a sentence:

Tuco is running from a biker drug gang banger that he just ripped off, the Army C.I.D. investigating the 35 year old murder, and an old web of lies, misunderstanding, and deceit which when finally revealed gives both men a temporary peace.


You can't do that in a query letter.

And I might as well warn you up front, that half of your query letter is about you, and not your story. Expect some comments about that here.

#3 Stephanie Diaz

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:02 AM

Dear Most Excellent Agent,

In Vietnam, George “Blondie” Duvall chooses to conceal murder of a blameless wounded Montangnard by his buddy Tuco; 35 years later the deed still haunts both men, and when another murder occurs, Tuco runs and Duvall must follow to discover that nothing then or now is quite what it seems.

In The Last Lost Warrior, Duvall, now a retired Police Chief, doesn't know how Tuco is involved in the new killing, but knows Tuco ran away. Duvall must find him. His old friend has always relied on him for help. Tuco is running from a biker drug gang banger that he just ripped off, the Army C.I.D. investigating the 35 year old murder, and an old web of lies, misunderstanding, and deceit which when finally revealed gives both men a temporary peace.

I am Vietnam combat veteran. I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs and for many years had daily contact with veterans haunted by war. Many men with whom I personally served are haunted still. You can consider me an expert in the trauma of PTSD, which is very much the subtext of my book.

I have always been a writer. This is my second novel, but the first I want to publish. I've been working at the craft steadily most of my life, well over 10 thousand hours of work, and well into my second if not third million words of composition. (This is the kind of stuff you don't need to include in your query. Agents just wanna know if you've published anything before you--and if you haven't, it's all good. It gives you more time to talk about your novel ;)

The complete 103 thousand word (put this as 103,000-word. also, you'll need to include the book's genre in this section) manuscript of The Last Lost Warrior THE LAST LOST WARRIOR is available at your convenience.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.


Tom Preece


This is a great start, but it reads a little more like a synopsis than a query. I'd suggest taking a look at some of the other queries on this site--particularly the ones with 5+ pages of revisions, since those tend to be a bit more polished. Basically, you want to lay out who your MC is, what he/she wants, and what is in the way. Your hook needs tightening, and (once you delete that bio paragraph) try to flesh out more of the story.

If you have a moment, it would be awesome if you could take a look at my "Erhistaut" query, even just to say if it sounds like something you'd read or not ;) Thanks, and good luck with this! Welcome to AQC!

EXTRACTION_FINAL_COVER.jpg

Extraction

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July 22, 2014


#4 kevinmont

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:18 AM

OK, maybe it is a sentence, but your comma usage makes it difficult to understand, especially this one, "...murder, and an old web..." If that comma had not been there, I might have taken "and an old web" as the object of "investigating," instead of the subject of a clause that has no verb.

I'm not trying to be a hot-shot, I just think it's confusing.

#5 Tom Preece

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:24 AM

OK, maybe it is a sentence, but your comma usage makes it difficult to understand, especially this one, "...murder, and an old web..." If that comma had not been there, I might have taken "and an old web" as the object of "investigating," instead of the subject of a clause that has no verb.

I'm not trying to be a hot-shot, I just think it's confusing.


Kevin, I know you're right. I've been struggling with this thing for days. I've got a known weakness for periodic sentences, and I know how to fix that - three clear sentences instead of one confusing one. When I try to read this aloud it comes out like one of those horrible movie ads on t.v.

I'll draft it yet again and try another time.

I'm also going to drop my non-publishing non-credit, because Stephanie is right. That will give me more room to make the voice of the letter sound like the voice of the novel.

Tom P

#6 anticipa

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:28 AM

Hey Tom. Sounds like you've got an interesting story on your hands. The query needs some detail and some tightening. Let's see:

Dear Most Excellent Agent,

In Vietnam, George “Blondie” Duvall chooses to conceal the murder of a blameless wounded Montangnard by his buddy Tuco; Change this to a period and split the sentence here. Your hook doesn't necessarily have to be just one sentence.35 years latercomma the deed still haunts both men, and when another murder occurs, Tuco runs. and Duvall must follow to discover that nothing then or now is quite what it seems. This is a vague wording. In fact, unfortunately, there's not really a good way to say what you're trying to say without it sounding vague. I'd leave it at 'Tuco runs,' and replace it with the reason WHY Duvall has to follow him.

In The Last Lost Warrior, Duvall, now a retired Police Chief, doesn't know how Tuco is involved in the new killing, but knows Tuco ran away. Duvall must find him. His old friend has always relied on him for help. Tuco is running from a biker drug gang banger that he just ripped off, the Army C.I.D. investigating the 35 year old murder, and an old web of lies, misunderstanding, and deceit which when finally revealed gives both men a temporary peace.

Dang. You were off to a great start with the hook, but unfortunately, this doesn't carry us forward. The things Tuco is running from? That's just backstory. But if Duvall DISCOVERS who Tuco's running from? Then it turns into a plot point, and we're moving forward. It sounds like you've got really good material. Just... restart this paragraph. Start from when Tuco ran away, and then lay out the plot for us. Just say what happens. It might sound a little summary-like at the beginning, but having a coherent chronological series of events is vital.

Then leave us with the CENTRAL CONFLICT and sign out.

Your web of lies, misunderstanding, and deceit? That's what we want to know about. Don't withhold it, or state it vaguely - show us exactly who lies to whom, what's misunderstood, how people deceive each other. The query is the one chance to hit the agent with all you've got - show us the plot!


I am a Vietnam combat veteran. I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs and for many years had daily contact with veterans haunted by war. Many men with whom I personally served are haunted still. You can consider me an expert in the trauma of PTSD, which is very much the subtext of my book. That's implied by your story.

I have always been a writer. This is my second novel, but the first I want to publish. I've been working at the craft steadily most of my life, well over 10 thousand hours of work, and well into my second if not third million words of composition.

The complete 103 thousand word manuscript of The Last Lost Warrior is complete at 103,000 words. available at your convenience. (that last bit is implied by the nature of a query letter.)

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.


Tom Preece



Very best of luck, Tom. And thank you for all you do for our country.

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#7 Tom Preece

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 01:57 AM

The shadow knows



#8 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:12 AM

Sounds like a story that I would read. However, the query has too much in it and too many names. Your story is about these two men; focus on that and use only the bare bones of what your story is about for a query letter. After reading the body paragraph my head was spinning as if I had just been on a merry-go-round. Think about the back cover blurb of your book; that's all the info you want in a query.

I look forward to reading your revision. :smile:

____________

 

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#9 Bill3

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:59 AM

Tom,
The last one was better but you've provided a little too much detail. It got confusing trying to keep up with all the characters and sub plots. Especially in the part where Tuco thinks Duvall is trying to kill him to cover up Duvall's killing in VN, when in the first paragraph you told us that Tuco had done the killing. Pare that paragraph and I think you'll have it.

Bill

#10 kevinmont

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:17 PM

Much improved. Your credentials paragraph is great, although aggressive, "you can consider me an expert," but that works well. It's a war.

I count seven names including some unnecessary ones, which, if you cut, will help. Cut "Blondie," George," and, especially, and I really hope you do this, "Montagnard." That will leave four, Duval, Tuco, Newton, and Glowry. You can manage that, and use SK's comments to pare it down to just Duval and Tuco.

"While they're trading bullets" is very good. Subtle. Read between the lines.

"...waiting on them in ambush and win a temporary peace." I would kill "and win a temporary peace." "Ambush" is a good word to end with

#11 Moonshade

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

Okay another try, though this one feels a bit clunky to me!


Dear Ms. Most Excellent Agent,

In Vietnam, George “Blondie” Duvall chooses to conceal the murder of a blameless wounded Montangnard woman by his buddy Tuco. 35Numbers should be written out if they're less than 100. years later the deed still haunts both men, and when another murder occurs, Tuco runs.

In THE LAST LOST WARRIOR, Duvall, now a retired Police Chief and private detective, does not want to be looking That's an odd way to phrase it. for his friend. He's spent a life time looking out for him, and maybe he'd rather not. Another odd phrase. Tuco's been looking for another missing person, Newton, who was found tortured to death. Did Tuco know he's been tortured to death? Lots of people are looking for Tuco. That's four instances of 'looking'. I think it can be mixed up a little. He and Newton ripped off a local biker drug lord, stealing a van full of weapons that Glowery, the biker, Unless he's the only one, he's either 'a biker', or 'the notorious biker outlaw' or something to that effect. wants back. Duvall figures Glowery for the torture-murder but can't guess why Tuco would risk ripping him off. Meanwhile Duvall's old platoon leader tells him that Tuco's got another reason to hide;: the Army CID is investigating the 35 year old murder. Duvall must take down Glowery, neutralize the C.I.D., and learn Tuco's motives. When Duvall finally finds Tuco he learns Tuco's been hiding from him. Tuco thinks Duvall will kill him just as Duvall killed the old lady in Vietnam, where Tuco believes he concealed Duvall's crime. I think there's a neater way to phrase all that. While they're trading bullets, Duvall must convince Tuco they're both innocent. Finally armed with some of the truth, they discover the true killer waiting on them in ambush and win a temporary peace.

I am Vietnam combat veteran. I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs and for many years had daily contact with veterans haunted by war. You can consider me an expert in the trauma of PTSD and the artificial co-dependence of veterans.

The Last Lost Warrior is complete at 103,000 words.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

Tom Preece

This definitely looks like a good story.

WARNING: posts made by Moonshade are dangerously low in Sodium. Therefore, all questions, quandaries, comments, corrections, and curiosities should be taken with a heaping dose grain of salt.

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#12 Tom Preece

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 05:44 PM

The shadow knows



#13 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 10:15 PM

In Vietnam (why no first names in this?) Duvall chooses to conceals the murder of a blameless wounded woman by his buddy Tuco. Thirty five years later the deed still haunts both men, and when another murder occurs, Tuco runs.

Duvall has spent his lifetime looking out for Tuco and doesn't know how to stop. Duvall's a detective now. Tuco works for Duvall, assigned to a missing persons case, but the person missing is the one who was killed. Everyone seems to be after Tuco. Duvall must take down a local drug lord and neutralize an Army C.I.D investigation before finds his friend. Tuco, Duvall discovers, was hiding from him. Tuco thinks Duvall will kill him because only Tuco knows Duvall was the killer thirty five years before. Both men have been wrong. Trading bullets, Duvall must persuade Tuco that they are both are innocent. Armed with some of the truth, they find the true killer waiting for them in ambush. (This paragraph is very awkward with the constant usage of the characters' names. It's too A-B-C...just the facts, ma'am, and no emotion. I want to feel these two men's bond with each other.)


____________

 

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#14 Late Bloomer

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 10:20 AM

Sounds like everyone is giving you some good advice and it's all coming to together.

And, I think you're right Tom about the emotional hook being missing. The hook itself needs something, but I don't know quite what.

I look forward to seeing the next revision.

#15 Tom Preece

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 11:02 AM

The shadow knows



#16 kevinmont

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:28 PM

The only suspects are you and your best friend, and and you know you didn't....

I wouldn't go second person, rather "The only suspects are Duval and his best friend..."

#17 Tom Preece

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:35 PM

The Shadow knows



#18 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:19 PM

During 1971 in Vietnam on a mission, an innocent civilian is murdered. There are only two suspects, you and your best buddy. You know you didn't do it, but you keep your silence and let others suspect while the war covers the truth. Thirty Five years later after another murder and your friend is on the run.

Your name is George Duvall and you're a retired detective. For most of his life your friend Tuco has counted on you to get him out of trouble. Now Tuco's in the worst fix of his life, and he's run away. He's running from cops. He's running from tthugs he ripped off. He's running from the Army C.I.D., and he's running from the beautiful woman in the wheelchair. He's running from you too, and you've got to know why. You're his best friend. You've taken care of him. He's family. He lives in your house. Why would he be running from you? Turns out he thinks you want to kill him because he's sure you killed old lady long ago in Vietnam. You have to persuade him that you both are innocent while trading bullets. Now armed with some truth, you find the real villain waiting in ambush.

This is the tale of THE LAST LOST WARRIOR complete in spare prose at 103,018 words.


OK, I like the emotion in this one but I would strongly caution against telling it in second person; makes it sound...not adult. :blush:

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#19 Tom Preece

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 04:02 PM

The shadow knows!



#20 Tom Preece

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 04:31 PM

The shadow knows!






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