Big Woods by May K. Cobb
When ten-year-old Lucy Spencer goes missing from her sleepy Texas town, her parents, the police, and the township all brace for the worst, assuming her body will soon be found. They imagine her case will follow the deadly fate of the other recent, unsolved kidnappings in the area. But Lucy’s sister, Leah, begins having dreams about Lucy and insists that she is still alive; that her dreams are messages from her sister, clues about what might have happened.
As the deluge of grief threatens to pull apart the once-close knit Spencer family, fourteen-year old Leah sets out on her own investigation, risking everything in her secure world to find her sister. Carl, Lucy’s father, slips further away from himself and his family as he tries to reconcile the fact th’s at his little girl slipped out of his hands one morning, while Roz, Lucy’s mother, must come to terms with the reality that some things lay beyond her control. But it’s Sylvia, a reclusive widow across town who witnessed something years ago, who might hold the key to finding Lucy, if only she can find the courage to come forward.
Set against the backdrop of 1980s small-town Texas and the feverish rise in paranoia surrounding satanic cults, “Big Woods” is a literary thriller about the enormity of grief, the magical bond between sisters, and a small town’s dark secrets.
“Big Woods” was selected as the winner in the 2015 Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest.
The Book Doctors:
Love the way you throw us right into the Texas hurricane of your story: girls gone missing, the background information adding to the deadly suspense with other children lost, a parent and community’s worst nightmare. We always say, what are the stakes? Well, they don’t get much higher than that!
We always want to make it difficult for our heroes to succeed. You put this family under such stress and duress. The dad is freaking out, the mom can’t control anything, and they’re spiraling out of control. It’s horrible in life, but it’s great for a novel. There’s a kookie neighbor who may be the key to it all. Then we have a telepathic dream-mystery, which leads to the sister becoming the detective and trying to find the murderer. It reminds us of Winter’s Bone, a wonderful book that was made into a movie which launched a young woman named Jennifer Lawrence into the stratosphere of movie stardom. You don’t have comparable titles. There is one right there.
And then there’s the setting. Everybody loves a Texas story, from Larry McMurtry to Friday Night Lights.
And the story really leaves us hanging in a great way. It makes me want to know what happens next, which is the ultimate goal of any pitch. I also love that you leave us with the fact of your not just winning a writing contest, but winning a writing contest in Texas, where your book is set. I would like to see more images from Texas. And there is a typographic/spelling mistake. Believe it or not, some agents will click the delete button on any query or pitch that has a mistake in it. Agents and editors are so overwhelmed and inundated they’re just looking for an excuse to say “no” to you. Don’t give them that excuse.
Excellent pitch, great voice, great story, intriguing characters, wonderful location. Just give me a couple of comparable titles and we’re ready to rock ‘n roll. Or, in this case, Texas Two-Step.
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