MENTOR: Sarah Henning
ALTERNATE: Jeremy Hepler
TITLE: The Gardens of Sunray
CATEGORY/GENRE: Adult Mystery + Hint of Supernatural
WORD COUNT: 80,000
PITCH: When Parker Lundy’s dad is murdered and he learns Malik, a gifted young boy who was seen fleeing the scene with a gun, is innocent, he teams up with his new-found sister Cherie and ex-girlfriend Hannah. Together, they struggle to peel back the layers of deception surrounding the crime and bring the killer to justice, and also to protect Malik from racist townsfolk and a relentless, Islamic radical father.
EXCERPT: Other than cursing after each unsuccessful attempt at trying to reach his uncle, Parker traveled in absolute silence, knuckles white on the wheel. He and his dad had talked on the phone regularly, shooting the shit about everything from sex to taxes, and when they’d talked just ten days ago, his dad hadn’t mentioned having problems with anyone in town.
Sure, Will had been in his fair share of disagreements and spats over the years like everyone else, but he had few if any real enemies. And violent crimes were rare in Sunray. The last armed robbery happened back in ’11 when a meth head stuck up the Toot ’n Totum on Highway 55, and the last outright murder happened way back in ’05 when sixteen-year-old Kim Dawkins stabbed her dad in the crotch while he slept because she “wanted to poke him the way he’d been poking [her]” every night since she was twelve. It just didn’t make any sense that someone would want to shoot Will Lundy. It must’ve been an accident. Or a mistake.
Parker reached Sunray around five a.m. and rolled down his window for some fresh air when he turned onto Main Street. A mild fall breeze rushed in, carrying a faint scent of smoke with it.
Both of Sunray’s fire trucks were parked in front of Lundy’s Local Luxuries—a brick one-story building tucked between Hal’s Shoe Store and the Education Federal Credit Union—and two cop cars, lights flashing, sirens off, blocked the road on either side of them.