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A friend of mine from the LSFW is looking for feedback on his synopsis. In addition to being a thoroughly good chap, Nathan's one of those 'How can I be of help?' folks, so I was only too happy to offer to post it online in the hope some of my readers would spare a few minutes to offer a little constructive feedback.

Here's Nathan's synopsis:

The Right Medicine, Mystery, 87,000 words

Lee Thurman, a can’t-miss baseball prospect who missed, skates through life playing recreational fast-pitch softball and working as an IT consultant and part-time Blue Hills, NJ, constable. Since giving up on heroics after a pressure-filled youth on the ball field, Lee tries to be satisfied with his quiet, simple life. Until, that is, his Blue Hills police detective cousin Roger sets him up investigating DistaPharm CEO Walter O’Brien’s suicide.

Siobhan, the deceased’s smoking hot daughter and Lee’s new client, believes the cops are wrong; her father was murdered. DistaPharm was about to announce a cure for cancer, and Walter had a new lover. Why would he kill himself? Siobhan is alone in her belief, but she has money and time on her hands. Lee likes the potentially easy payday.

Walter’s colleagues and contacts, including close friend Doc Cramer, try to dissuade Lee. Still Lee tumbles over O’Brien’s secret plans to corner the recreational marijuana market and gets Walter’s drug-dealing, bike store owning partner arrested. Lee’s reward is a beating by the dealer’s minions and an ER trip with cracked ribs and broken pride where he meets a very cute physician’s assistant named Mule.

When Lee gets home the dealer is waiting in the living room, not to deliver another beating but to profess innocence. The arrangement with Walter was a chance to go straight, and Walter’s death ended that dream. He produces secret documents outlining the partnership under the DistaPharm seal.

Faced with additional evidence, the cops are forced to re-open the case. Siobhan fires Lee to protect him from additional harm, and to make up for it invites Lee and Roger to a political fundraiser. Lee is very happy to see Mule at the event and offers her a ride back to her car at the hospital.

Lee’s amorous intentions are thwarted when some jerk in a green sedan shoots Roger walking back to his car, and Lee scares him off with Roger’s gun by shooting out the back windows of a bunch of parked cars. In the confusion the cops think Lee is the shooter, sending Lee again to the hospital with a severe concussion. Mule is impressed and takes him home when he’s discharged for some TLC.

Everyone now agrees Walter was murdered, but the idiot detective who takes over from Roger focuses on the innocent (of this murder, at least) Hayes. This leaves the real killer free to track down Lee and his friends to finish the job started at the fundraiser.

So Lee has to play the hero again for the first time in over a decade, and he’s committed not to let everyone down. Lee uses his IT skills to root through Walter’s smart phones, laptop and cloud services and discovers Walter planned to give away the cure for cancer for free like Jonas Salk did for polio. Suddenly every employee and investor who would lose money on their DistaPharm stock is a suspect. Unfortunately, that puts Lee farther away from knowing how to stop the killer.

The killer misreads this discovery and considers Lee a growing threat, and the next morning tries to run Lee down, throwing him over the hood of his brand new car and head first into the windshield. Unsuccessful, the killer drives off in his damaged green sedan and Lee takes yet another trip, this time unconscious, to the emergency room to see his new girlfriend.

Based on the evidence, and the timing and locations of his various beatings, Lee narrows the suspect list down to two, including the acting DistaPharm CEO and Doc Cramer.  A search of car ownership determines Cramer’s lobbying firm owns a car like the one that smashed into Lee. Every cop in New Jersey mobilizes to search for Cramer on the roads, bridges, bus and train stations, and airports.

But they don’t search the bed and breakfast where Lee and Mule decide to take a break. Lee is happy to see Siobhan standing at the front door until Cramer emerges behind her waving a gun. Lee’s worst fears are realized: he failed to protect his client and girlfriend, and is afraid he won’t be physically able to stop Cramer before someone gets hurt. As Cramer is distracted Siobhan and Mule tackle and tie him up to save the day. Lee, stuck in his chair, sheepishly comes to terms with the fact that he isn’t the hero of this story.

And discovers he’s finally OK with that.

Any and all constructive criticism welcome.


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Mar. 27th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure that this is true. I'd assume that the book actually goes into why some of the complaints I have aren't really complaints - it's just not clear from the synopsis. Unfortunately, without being able to read the actual book, I'm left with bewilderment. (And, if I were an agent, would probably reject.)

If, for instance, we learn that the baseball abilities allow Lee to wield a bat and kill the bad guy, then we know why that matters. If the murderer needs to be tracked through IT, that ability might matter. Etc. etc.
Mar. 27th, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see.
I guess I was infering an accurate synopsis of an imperfect book,
where it may simply be an incomplets synopsis
of a perfectly good book?

Mar. 27th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
I tend to assume the second. ;) I mean, I figure that a synopsis is like...1/100th of what we see in a book. So likely there are all kinds of details that would make sense if they were added or explained. (And, of course, if the book itself is the problem, the author can always change that too, at this point.)

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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