(Author’s note: Here’s a draft for the query letter for “The Ardent Admirer.” I’m trying to a land an agent and this is my bait. I wish fishing didn’t bore me so much.)
Benton Dembow, the protagonist of “The Ardent Admirer” is a drama critic in 1920’s New York in search of a totally unknown Polish actress whose performance in a foreign movie leads him down the twin trails of obsession and madness. In his pursuit of the enigmatic Pola Negri, he lies to his insufferable wife, betrays his journalistic ethics and morals, and tosses every one of his values and beliefs away for her. To his own horror and disbelief, he also finds that as the truth about her is uncovered, his fellow critics die in macabre and unusual ways and to top everything off, he becomes the unlikely focal point for scheming blackmailers, backstabbers, murderous psychopaths, vicious gangsters, and a wronged woman’s vengeance. Loosely based on historic fact, the novel tells a blackly comic story set in a time when America was movie mad and movie stars were Gods. Our anti-hero finds that the cost of ardent admiration is death—and as Miss Negri is imported to these shores to make pictures in Hollywood, he fears he will be the next sacrifice to ensure her success. With scandal dogging his heels and the authorities closing in, will he outwit his rivals and tormentors and if he does, what has he become?
Now completed, the book is 95,648 words-long (403 pages). This work of fiction will intrigue those who like a dose of black humor mixed in with a plot taken from film history and laced with a frisson of tension, danger and certain death. It will be of interest to film buffs, fans of the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, and anyone with a slightly skewed sense of the absurd.
This is only the first novel in my “Silent Movie Stories” series of which three more novels have been written in the mystery/thriller genre and with two more are the works. I have a deal for a non-fiction biography to be published in the summer of 2016 by McFarland Books and hope to have a deal to publish this, my first work of fiction, by the end of this year. I have my own Word Press and Facebook sites to promote my books and am active in various writer groups that have all commented favorable on “The Ardent Admirer.” The work is worthy of both a hard copy and an E-book edition.
May I send it to you to read? I think you’ll find it quite worth your time.