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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2020 Adult #11: THE BAD MEN (Mystery/Police Procedural)
Cory Helffrich
Mentored by:
Rachel Howzell Hall
Book Title:
The Bad Men
2020 Adult Entries
Mystery/Police Procedural
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
drug use, suicide, violence


Prosecutor’s office detective HIRAM MCGINNY investigates the murder of Columbus, Ohio’s iconic preacher and community activist, HARVARD COLLEY. The lead suspect may be the detective Hiram trained—and after one reckless night, the same detective that helped destroy Hiram’s police career and marriage to defense attorney, CHARLES LEWIS-BEST. Hiram must hunt down the truth—who killed Reverend Colley?—before the killer sets sights on the person Hiram loves most: his daughter, THANH.



It was raining when I got to the prison. I parked, cut the wipers, checked the dash clock. I was early. Since my pickup wouldn’t be out for a few minutes, I pushed my head back into the old cracked leather of my mom’s Firebird.

Miley Cyrus belted something about a wrecking ball.

Expecting a call from the prison, I dug my phone from my jeans and silenced my daughter’s joke ringtone. They’d been tardy with the warnings lately but never early. So my gut twisted to see the picture of Charles on the phone screen—it was a candid pic our 11-year-old snapped of him scrutinizing a clogged toilet.

“Thanh okay?” I asked, breathless.

He paused, then said, “Yes.”

I waited for more. When he didn’t speak, I said, “I hid her damn stick, Charles.”

“I’m not calling about that,” he spat. “Anyway, it’s not the stick. It’s the tape. You get the tape?”

Shit. I slapped the phone against my thigh and exhaled. I’d already hid the stick, the first half of the surprise gift. I kept forgetting to find the second half: the hockey stick tape. Charles hadn’t called to remind me about the tape until now, and now, he’d remind me that I’d screwed up. Again.

If he was calling about something other than Thanh? Then, I didn’t have time to deal with him.

2 responses to “PW2020 Adult #11: THE BAD MEN (Mystery/Police Procedural)”

  1. Michelle Richter says:

    Cory, I’d love to see the full manuscript. Please use this link: QueryManager.com/MichelleRichter/PitchWars

    If more than one Fuse Literary agent requests, please choose the one you think might be the best fit.

  2. Josh Getzler says:

    Hi Cory,

    I really enjoyed your pitch and your sample. Could you please send the full MS of The Bad Men to my email address, with PitchWars in the subject? Thanks, and looking forward to reading more.

    All the best,

    Josh Getzler
    Hannigan Getzler Literary