Heading Out on the Query Circuit

My defective detective novel is just about ready to be queried in a big way. So far, I've attempted to snag the attention of various agents with science fiction, horror, a thriller, and a western, but this will be my first attempt with a humorous mystery that takes place in the real world, circa 1930.

Historical fiction? Not really. I did a little homework when necessary, but there's not a whole lot of history in this novel. The story revolves around a New York City police detective who's a mystery to himself, a mash-up of Sam Spade and Inspector Clouseau. He solves cases hit-or-miss, surprising his captain (as well as criminals) when things fall into place. He's not as much of an idiot as some might think, but he can definitely be a doofus at times. For the reader, half the mystery is wondering whether he's as incompetent as he seems.

The current case involves a double murder and plenty of gangster action. Tommy guns? Yep. Speakeasies? Heck yeah. Hard-boiled dialogue? Filled to the brim. Romance? Sort of. A femme fatale? Oh, you betcha. All manner of fisticuffs? Most def. What would any self-respecting crime novel be without a healthy portion of it devoted to bare-knuckle brawls?

I'm planning to spread a wide net, targeting agents who specialize in crime, mystery, satire, or humorous fiction. I'll need a quirky agent to represent this one, that much is certain. An agent with ties to Hollywood would be ideal. If there's ever a movie, Steve Carell would be perfect for the role. Maybe if my agent search for this one doesn't pan out, I'll turn the manuscript into a screenplay. That would be a first for me, and it might be a whole lot of fun, but I hear scripts are even more difficult to sell than novels.

I can't get ahead of myself. Step 1: Query every agent I can find. Step 2: If no agent bites, submit to every small press that looks up to snuff. Step 3: Screenplay – uncharted territory, but Adobe Story makes it look easy.

In the meanwhile, here's lookin' at you, bub.