Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Conduit's winning jacket copy

Here's Conduit's jacket copy, very short and sweet. I liked Conduit's because he also hit his target audience in a really good voice. My critique follows.

Jacket copy:

Former Belfast hit man Gerry Fegan is haunted by his victims, twelve souls who follow him through every waking day and scream through every drunken night. Just as he reaches the edge of sanity they reveal their desire: vengeance on those who engineered their deaths. From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it happen, no one is safe.

When Fegan’s vendetta threatens to topple Northern Ireland’s fledgling government, old comrades and enemies alike want him gone. David Campbell, a double agent lost between the forces of law and terror, takes the job. But he has his own reasons for eliminating Fegan; the secrets of a dirty war should stay buried, even if its ghosts do not.

FOLLOWERS is a dark thriller that blurs the distinction between the paranormal and psychological. Set against the backdrop of a post-conflict Northern Ireland struggling with its past, it takes the reader from the back streets of Belfast, where violence and politics go hand-in-hand, to the country's darkest heart. Often brutal, sometimes tender, the journey will see one man find his humanity while the other loses his. One question will remain until the bloody climax: are Fegan's ghosts really echoes of the dead or just pieces of a broken mind?


Sooner or later, everybody pays - and the dead will set the price…


Stuart Neville has been a musician, a composer, a teacher, a salesman, a film extra, a baker and a hand double for a well known Irish comedian, but is currently a partner in a successful multimedia design business in the wilds of Northern Ireland.

My notes:

First, really good headline, again. Quick and enticing.

Second, as with Josephine's, it's a little tough to tell who the protagonist is--you set the stage for Fegan's story, but I'm guessing that Campbell is in fact the narrator. I might rework this so you can introduce Fegan's story within the framework of Campbell's investigation, instead of the other way around. Your language is good, though, so I would try to rework it without taking away any of the strength or suspense.

Third, the open question you leave at the end is very nice. Rhetorical questions are often cheesy sounding, but this one isn't. Well done. I have to admit, I'm not crazy about the word "remain" because it's such an inactive verb. I also don't think you need to mention the climax--an agent needs to know you've remembered to include a climax in the book, but a consumer/reader just assumes you have.

Again, very nicely done overall.


Hélène Boudreau said...

This is such an excellent premise. The copy really sets up the book well!

Conduit said...

Thanks, Helene. :)

And thank you, Moonrat, for the critique and the kind words. You've already been incredibly generous with your time, but I was wondering if I could trouble you with one or two questions on this?

moonrat said...

ask away--you can email me or leave them here.

Jennifer L. Griffith said...


I am so fascinated with Northern Ireland. Nice tight copy, and intriguing! Can't wait to read. It's bound to be sooooon. Kudos, and more!

Froog said...

Yes, it grabs the attention nicely. I don't really read crime fiction, but this might tempt me - the contemporary political relevance and the supernatural/psychological themes give it more depth.

Best of luck with it!

Froog said...

Funnily enough, this has a few points of similarity to my own entry (although that was made up on the spot for the contest, rather than actually representing a completed novel or a substantial work-in-progress) - a political dimension, a psychological dimension, the protagonist being hunted by assassins.

I'm sure you've done a better job with it than I would.

Robin L said...

Wow. I totally want to read this book! What an amazing premise! Congratulations on your win!