Query letters

The very words cause me to feel like I’ve sucked on a lemon. The inward cringe. WHAT do they want? What DO they want? seems to run in a litany around my brain.
I’ve searched many websites and some say “DO THIS!” others say “Don’t do that!”
It appears to me that you have to hope to find the right query letter to match the right editor.

After trial and error I’ve come up with this letter. If there is someone out there that has some success with different styles, I’d love to know what they are.

Here is what I’ve written:

Dear XXXXX Editor,

According to your company’s website, you specialize in crime books. I’m pleased to introduce you to my novel Into a Silent River. On December 7 1958 a Portland, Oregon family disappeared. The case remains unsolved. In 1983 I read an article about this family and began to research and interview people who were involved. I wrote a rough draft and sent it to the Detective who investigated the case. Now 60 years after the incident, I’ve rewritten the story and added new evidence.

Into a Silent River takes the reader as a ride along with Detective Robert Collins a 1958 Portland, Oregon Homicide detective. He’s been given a case to find a family who has disappeared off the face of the earth.

After questioning family members, clues from all over the area begin to pop up to confuse the investigation. Picking out the real clues from the fake ones keep Robert, and his partner, Jake Monroe on their toes. Robert and Jake interview interesting characters as they move the case toward its goal.

Something isn’t right about this family. They seem to be an average American family who shouldn’t have gone missing. Robert follows their trail from leaving their home, to getting gas, to having dinner at a diner and then they vanish. Who would want to harm them?

As the investigation progresses, Robert gets a clue from a man who suspects the family’s car may have gone over the edge of a cliff into the Columbia River near The Dalles. When he tries to investigate the possibility, he’s threatened and tossed in to the marina by men clearly in the employ of The Mob.

Robert has a deep hatred of the Portland Mob. They had affiliates deep in the department until a few years ago when the Mayor was forced to make a clean sweep of the Portland Police Department. They instigated a drive by shooting at a policeman’s retirement party. Robert’s partner, wife and child along with other officers were gunned down that night. He’d love nothing more than to put a few of the Mob behind bars.

With this motivation driving him, he’s become a recluse and driven man. No time for socializing except for Jake and his wife Lorene. Gradually a coworker begins to show interest and with a little pushing from his friends, he takes notice of Barbara Taylor, who adds her insight to the case.

As the two detectives continue their pursuit of the truth, there seems to be a number of people who have reason, motive and opportunity to make this family disappear. Will Robert be able to find the clue that points to the one person who used all three to dispose of a family who might upset a member of organized crime?

Into a Silent River has been well received by those who like crime novels. The fact its setting is Portland, Oregon and along the Columbia Gorge will attract local attention.

I’ve had a number of short stories published in anthologies. A version of this, in a short story form, was published in an ezine. I’ve won writing contests and had another mystery novel published with Amazon.

I’ve enclosed the first two chapters of the manuscript for your reading.

Christina Weaver

As a note: I went to a particular publisher’s webpage and opened up a few of their published books. One in particular sounded interesting, but I was put off by the style of writing. There is an overuse of a word or two that bugs the living daylights out of me. I’ve worked hard to write a tight story.
After hearing the audio portion of the book, the prospect of buying it lessened. The reviews of this book weren’t encouraging. I passed on buying it.