Deadspace by James O’Fallon
How many millions of murders since the first man (certainly a man, not a woman) picked up a rock? In 2018 Los Angeles, James Decker and Sarah Silverman uncover a murder never seen before. A young woman wearing only a black cocktail dress, Petra Cowpertwaite, floats in space, slowly rotating, a death mask for a face, blonde hair luminous in a weightless halo, on an orbit that will loop her around the sun for centuries.
Her husband, Reid Cowpertwaite, builds rockets and capsules in Carson, California, the private sector now dominating the space business. He hired them months ago to find his then missing wife. Only Decker and Sarah have come to believe their own client is the killer. Reid is an arrogant elitist in a Tom Ford suit, what kings wear now instead of fur. Decker is an ex fighter who favors jeans and a leather jacket, Sarah’s a girl who can break your nose while stylish in all black, a tough and smart duo.
But the dead girl haunts Decker, so like the ex he never got over. The two swirl in his head along with margaritas. Across the bar both women seem to walk toward him. Time to stop drinking. Another LA blonde slides onto the stool next to him, a town full of them. He glances over.
Petra Cowpertwaite. Then who is the dead girl floating in space? “You won’t believe what I’m about to tell you,” she says, trembling.
The Book Doctors: We absolutely love the image of the young woman in the black cocktail dress floating in space, slowly rotating. We’re always looking for something new in a genre, a story, a character. And this is definitely it. We think you should actually open your pitch with that. It’s so visual, stunning and unique. Of course we have no idea how many millions of murders have happened since the first man (yes, we agree, it was probably a man) picked up a rock in anger. But who really cares? The cool thing you have going for you is that corpse floating over the earth. It’s really important to begin a pitch, and a story in fact, with a bang, a hook, something that grabs us by the back of the neck and won’t let go. You have also given us a classic partnering of James Decker and Sarah Silverman. We can absolutely see a series with those two. You give us some of an insight into who James is, and that’s great, we really need that. In fact, we’d like more. But we would like more information about Sarah as well, besides the fact that she can break your nose while looking totally hot. Are they cops? Are they private detectives? Not quite clear. It would be great to have a little bit more information about why his ex haunts Decker. But we love the fact that his mind confuses the girl in his head and the girl who’s floating dead. And it’s such a fantastic ending, when she’s standing next to him, trembling. Very well done. Would love to get more of a sense of who Reid is. We’re assuming he is the villain, but all we really know about him is that he’s an arrogant elitist in a Tom Ford suit. Make us hate this guy. Make us want to hiss at him. No comparison titles. That is never a good thing. We’d love to have more specific incidents which lead up to the twists and turns that will rivet us as your book climaxes. Very promising murder mystery set in California, with a fantastic hook, full of intriguing possibilities. Not a bad enough villain, not enough information about our hard-boiled detective in the middle of the story.
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