Thursday, June 7, 2018

QK Agent Round 15: Found Wanting, Adult Thriller

Title: Wake Up Call

Entry Nickname: Found Wanting

Word count: 83K

Genre: Suspense


Gehrig Newman devises the perfect murder. Again. A desolate highway exit this time, twenty miles west of the city. He almost kills his client…

Which is exactly what he was hired to do.

Operating on the fringes of legality, Gehrig’s business delivers near-death experiences to help unsuspecting people value their lives more. Friends or family members hire Gehrig’s team to administer a wake-up call for clients who aren’t even aware they’re part of the plan—because a person who survives a brush with death will place a higher value on life.

The near-death assignment is more than a job for Gehrig. He has pledged to “save” fifteen people to atone for his father’s atrocities. But when his ex-fiancĂ©e, Patricia, arrives with a sinister plan of her own, Gehrig becomes the one who needs saving.

Patricia applies for her husband to become a client, but not for the reasons Gehrig thinks. She wants a new life, and she wants to finance it with her husband’s life insurance money. Patricia and her lover escalate Gehrig’s near-death staging to a murder. Now there’s a homicide investigation. Gehrig can’t go to the cops because his fingerprints are all over the crime. To avoid a life behind bars—and complete his path to redemption—he’ll need to save himself and punish Patricia. He’ll also need to risk his life in the process.

I’ve published stories in Flash Bang Mysteries, The Drabble, and other venues. I’m an active member of Sisters in Crime and St. Louis Writer’s Guild.

First Page

Gehrig Newman locked his office building’s deadbolt. His best friend, Gus, a three-year-old Labrador retriever, stood watch. The bolt struck metal, and two foraging animals scurried into darkness. Gus raised his head, stiffened, and emitted a soft growl.

“Relax, Gus. Couple raccoons. Fur would stick between your teeth.”

A chill knifed through Gehrig as he tapped numbers on a pad next to the door to set the alarm.

Gus elevated his warning to a guttural rumble. Ears up and alert.

“Easy, boy.” Gehrig patted his dog’s head to calm him, smoothed stiff fur on his back, then turned toward his truck. He pulled a key fob from his pocket and pressed a button to unlock the Ford pickup, the lone vehicle in the quiet parking lot. A breeze swept through the downtown St. Louis streets bringing a scent of oncoming rain and something more foreboding that Gehrig couldn’t place. Perfect night for pizza and a glass of wine with a good book on the side. A click-click broke the silence behind him.

Gehrig froze.

Sucked in his breath when the gun barrel jabbed into his lower back.

Dropped his jaw when he recognized the voice.

“Don’t do anything stupid, this’ll all go smooth.”

His father’s gravelly voice, product of a pack of Marlboros a day for forty years, was as unmistakable as the firearm shoved into his back. The nine-millimeter Beretta was “Uncle Charley,” Dad’s service-issue weapon. Gus barked twice before sidestepping a boot from Gehrig’s father.



    I love this! Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages) to Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Add "Query Kombat Request" along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Lynnette Novak
    The Seymour Agency

    I'm calling in my wild card on this one—please send your query, synopsis, and first 50 pages to Please be sure to write "Query Kombat" on the subject line. Thanks and I looking forward to reading more!

    Lisa Abellera
    Kimberley Cameron & Associates

  3. Would love to see more of this if my colleague, Lisa Abellera, decides it's not the right fit for her. Please send your query, synopsis, and first 50 pages (as a Word or PDF attachment) to