Title: Wicked Game
Author: Chris Fielden
Word Count: 70,000
Thirteen years ago, Jack Fox tried to exit the criminal organisation he worked for. Leaving proved impossible. He was framed for murder and imprisoned.
On the day he is released from prison, Jack is drawn back to Moonlight Alley to face his past. Men in balaclavas are waiting in the shadows. They attack, knocking Jack senseless.
Waking in a derelict warehouse, Jack finds he is a hostage at the mercy of terrorists. He isn’t alone. Six other people share his predicament. The terrorists swear to kill one hostage each day until the government meet their demands.
Every night a hostage is escorted from the warehouse. The lights are turned off before the silence is broken by the loud crack of a single gunshot. Jack finds the stress of the situation makes his temper increasingly hard to control.
One of the other hostages behaves in a lecherous manner towards the female captives. Jack develops a hatred for this man. In a rage, Jack kills the other hostage, breaks out of the warehouse and finds himself in a television studio. He has unknowingly been a contestant in a reality TV game show. None of the contestants are dead, apart from the man Jack killed.
Jack is taken back into police custody. As he is escorted from the TV studio a gunfight erupts. Jack is abducted by the criminal organisation he used to work for. They are planning to detonate a nuclear device in London and intend to frame Jack.
Fighting to control his aggression, Jack escapes and helps police capture the criminal organisation’s leader. The terrorist plot is thwarted. Rather than going to jail, Jack is offered a job working undercover for the police. He accepts, hoping to change his life for the better.
The Good: I didn't see the reality show twist coming.
Suggestions: This reads more like a synopsis... or a book report. Instead of giving a blow-by-blow of the plot, start with a single hook that will pull in the reader.
When Jack Fox wakes up with guns pointed at his head, he fights back and kills. Too bad he was just on a reality show.
A good pitch or query reads like jacket copy. Look at the back of other books in your genre for inspiration. When you revise this, give a quick sense of the setting and the character, as well as the twist or conflict. You've got the third one here--the reality show twist--but it doesn't come out until the second half of the pitch.
BOTTOM LINE: This isn't a compelling pitch, since it contains too much of a and-then-this-happens sense. I suggest that you revise to bring out the essential aspects--character, premise, conflict, etc.--that will grab the reader.