Well my co-written thriller, Frame-Up, has now been rejected by most of the relevant imprints in New York after about a year of submissions. (That keeps us in good company, though. All of New York passed on John Grisham's The Firm the first time around as well as countless other novels that later enjoyed success.) We've now self-published the book:
For those authors who haven't experienced an agented submission yet here is the level of feedback one typically gets. (I've removed the names of the editors to protect the guilty.) Not a lot of agreement as to the novel's strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps that's typical too ...
I can see what you mean about this—it’s an original premise and a well-told crime novel with strong, compelling themes. Clearly there is quite a bit of talent here. But unfortunately the conceit just didn’t quite click with me, personally, and I couldn’t quite shake the impression that while the novel is certainly a success on its own terms, it would make for a slightly iconoclastic fit with the more traditional brand of crime fiction and thrillers on which we specialize at Mulholland.
It’s a strong conceit, and they are fast-paced and lively writers, but I regret I didn’t feel this was quite a thriller we’d be able to break out to a larger audience.
This is really well-written and read like a great episode of LAW AND ORDER: SVU--which I must admit I'm a huge sucker for. I also really liked that there was an art angle included here. It added a level of complexity that really enriched the read. Unfortunately, the race relations felt too heavy-handed to me and pushed me out of the story. As a result I'm going to pass in hopes that another editor feels differently.
I thought the writing here was solid, the characters well-drawn, but I never believed in the initial conceit: That a newspaper would have one of its own go to those lengths to be falsely arrested, stand trial, etc… The authors clearly both know a lot about the inner workings of the police and judicial systems, and that made for an interesting perspective on events. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get past my skepticism.
This is a great set-up, and I was fascinated to see how it unfolded. I’m afraid, however, that I didn’t connect with Sam as I needed to to follow her through the book. We’re going to have to pass.
It’s a cool, high concept idea, and the pages turn easily, but I didn’t feel invested enough in the characters to want to take this on.
I did have a chance to read FRAME-UP, and it’s unfortunately a pass for me. I thought the pacing was great, and the author did a wonderful job of getting me right into the action…the set-up led you directly into the plot. But unfortunately, I just didn’t love the plot or the dialogue in the way I wanted to…too much of it felt contrived. I have to really adore a novel to take it on, and I just didn’t have the passion I needed.
Thank you so very much for sending me Eric Christopherson and Brad Schoenfeld's novel, FRAME-UP, which I read with interest. It's an intriguing setup for a thriller, and as I'm a big fan of NYC-set crime novels, I think I'm the perfect audience for this type of novel. I thought there were some very strong and atmospheric details that gave the book real New York flavor, and Mr. Christopherson's police background provided some additional color. That said, I found the basic conceit of the novel -- that a young journalist would allow himself to be framed for murder -- is an ambitious one, and one that's difficult to pull off. It takes a very sure hand to pull this off in a believable way, and I'm afraid that I just wasn't convinced of the novel's basic premise. In addition, I felt the plot veered off into far too many directions, given the art history/Nazi subplots, making the book feel unfocused. And the characters and the dialogue just didn't feel polished to me; perhaps I'm being overcritical, but given the wealth of cop novels on the shelves and police procedurals on television, I think readers set the bar pretty high, and they want to feel like they're reading something fresh. Given my concerns, I don't think this is for me, and so I'll have to pass.
Not for me…a bit too commercial for that rare crime/thriller novel I tend to do at Viking.
I’m going to pass. I liked the initial set-up but it just didn’t come through for me in the end. I love art history so I was happy to see this story line, and I was even happier to see it tied in at the end. I had thought it might be a red herring. But for some reason, the resolution wasn’t completely satisfying. But the bigger issue for me was how the female detective was portrayed as incompetent. I think she has to be good at her job in order to make the cat-and-mouse game interesting. Fortunately, this is easier to fix.
Thank you for sending Eric Christopherson and Brad Schoenfeld’s novel, FRAME-UP. I found the concept and issues at hand very intriguing, and appreciated the fact that the story began immediately and moved quickly—perhaps a bit too quickly, as I wanted a little more thought on Will’s part before agreeing to this daunting plan. I also thought that Sam was an extremely likeable, strong character. Unfortunately I felt that it started much more strongly than it ended, as the Nazi art scheme angle felt rather out of place. I was hoping for a somewhat grittier, more straightforward crime story. On a very minor note, Will’s occasional bouts of slang rang a bit false with me. I understood that he was juggling between his upbringing and his current position in life, but I found those instances of street speak jarring and a bit out of character.
I’m sorry to say that I just didn’t fall in love with it the way I would’ve hoped, and in this tough market for fiction I look to acquire only material I endorse with passion.
The death penalty is a hot issue, and I see why you’re so excited about this one. I’m sorry to say, though, that I didn’t fall under the spell of Will, the protagonist—some of his dialogue felt unconvincing to my admittedly imperfect ear, and the pace of his story didn’t move so quickly as I’d hoped.
Thanks for letting me read FRAME-UP. It’s a great premise, but unfortunately I didn't connect with the writing. I'm going to have to pass on this one.