This is one version of the synopsis I wrote for my first mystery/suspense novel, Mixed Messages. Of course, I had to omit the last two paragraphs which reveal the ending. (I’d like you to read my novel when it’s published.) Please read the following and tell me what you think.
ANN KERN is so caught up in her family’s problems that, at first, she pays little attention to the news reports that a killer is strangling women in her neighborhood.
Ann loves the old Victorian in upper Westwood where she, her husband, DAVID, and their two children, DANIELLE and DAVEY, live in the first floor apartment. Their landlady, OLIVIA BERGER, an elderly woman confined to a wheelchair who believes in the supernatural, and her son, LAWRENCE, who is infatuated with Ann, live in the upstairs apartment.
Ann’s primary concern is her marriage. David is drinking heavily, gambling and staying out all night. His behavior toward her is becoming more and more erratic; one minute, he’s the kind, loving man she married and, the next minute, he’s cold and cruel.
When her meddlesome mother-in-law, LOUISE KERN, the cleaning woman and organist at their church, recommends Ann for the position as church secretary to FATHER ANDREW, she accepts the job, hoping if she contributes financially to her marriage, it will lessen the pressure on David and he won’t “need” to drink so much. (Ann doesn’t know that her father was responsible for the car crash over twenty years ago, which killed both of Ann’s parents and four other young women, one of whom was the priest’s sister.)
Ann tells Father Andrew about David’s drinking and the problems in their marriage, intimating that she might have to leave her husband. Instead of consoling her as she expected, the priest points a finger at her and shouts, “Divorce is not an option!” He refers her to DR. SUSAN THATCHER for counseling. At her first session, Ann tells the psychologist, “I feel like I’m living in a world of mixed messages.”
Olivia’s psychic, TINA BUTREAUX, a charlatan with her own agenda, warns Ann that she is in danger but Ann dismisses the warning. However, when she receives several ominous biblical quotes, instead of the usual love poems from Lawrence, and a series of strange and frightening events take place, including her discovery of a handmade tombstone with her name on it in the cemetery adjacent to the church, she is terrified that she will be the Westwood Strangler’s next victim.
Did this make you want to read the book? If not, why?