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Author Topic: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?  (Read 78 times)

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drpeg

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Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« on: July 07, 2017, 04:22:38 PM »

Hi, all! I recently finished the nth revision of my mystery novel and am ready to move on to the publishing stage. But I've never been sure of my working title, so I brainstormed some other possibilities. Would anyone care to offer an opinion as to which of the following titles would grab them, make them want to read the blurb?

I don't know how much background information I should give you first, so let me just start by saying  the novel is for adults and that the story is both poignant and fun--as we all know, humor and tragedy are inextricably linked.

Anyway, here are some potential titles:

Ice Man and the Rogues in the Art Gallery

Haunted and Watched: A Nicholas Lief/Ice Man Mystery

Steal Back: A Nicholas Lief/Ice Man Mystery

Altars for the Little Dead: A Nicholas Lief/Ice Man Mystery

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drpeg

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 05:57:17 PM »

Let me add another one.
Smuggling Innocence: A Nicholas Lief/Ice Man Mystery
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Dave Freas

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 07:23:11 PM »

Without knowing more about the book - a rough idea of the plot/storyline - it's almost impossible to say which title is best.
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drpeg

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2017, 08:59:01 AM »

All right, here are the "plot" paragraphs from the query letter I've been working on:

Nicholas Lief’s profession hovers midway between “thief” and “bastard cousin to the private investigator,” and he thrives on stealing back stolen valuables. But nine years ago, that valuable was a kidnapped boy, and to steal him back Nicholas had to endure psychological trauma so great he lost those four months from his memory. Never again has Nicholas accepted a missing child case.

Until now. A Santa Monica art gallery owner pays Nicholas $10,000 to recover a stolen rubber chicken. His client proclaiming herself psychic, Nicholas is inclined to dismiss the theft as a prank (“Perhaps a poultry-geist struck”). But his lead suspect—a young Latino boy—receives death threats and disappears. Then tire-iron-wielding thugs capture and beat Nicholas for information about the chicken and child. Nicholas’s escape is effected by pain-immune Ice Man: born as a coping mechanism during Nicholas’s harsh childhood, Ice Man is Nicholas experiencing himself as a detached observer. The price for Ice Man’s existence: Nicholas cannot form close relationships.

Ice Man, however, can’t defend Nicholas against Onnie Justice—hotheaded Southerner, fledgling PI, enlisted by the gallery owner to join the case. Nicholas finds himself attracted to the young woman, an experience new and exhilarating—and excruciating. Fearing his feelings for Onnie, fearing for her safety, he tries—and repeatedly fails—to shunt her to the sidelines. But his emotions for her are just one problem. He discovers that the stolen rubber chicken is connected to a Mexican smuggling ring, a ring involved in the sorts of evil that both destroyed Nicholas’s childhood and traumatized him during his earlier case. And in his determined pursuit of the chicken, the disappeared child, and the mysterious string-puller behind present events, he finds himself forced to confront the most frightening, soul-searing thing of all: his past.
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Dave Freas

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2017, 11:17:33 AM »

Going by this, I think Steal Back or Stolen Innocence fits the bill best, and my first choice would be Stolen Innocence.

But I think I'd drop the 'Ice Man' tag from the title.  That leads me to believe  that there are 2 main characters, and may lead others to think the same.  But 'Ice Man' is another side of Nicholas, not his partner.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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drpeg

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2017, 07:06:08 PM »

Thanks so much!
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rjpetyo

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2017, 07:36:02 PM »

I like "Smuggling Innocence" as a title. That drew my interest even before I read your plot description. That's the kind of title that would make me read the cover copy.

I agree with Dave about dropping the Ice Man.

Bob
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drpeg

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2017, 09:27:40 PM »

Thanks, Bob and Dave, and good point about dropping the Ice Man. It didn't occur to me that readers might think him a separate character--altho now that seems an obvious conclusion!
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Old Bill

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2017, 08:51:22 AM »

Interesting plot, DrPeg. I like "Steal Back: a Nicholas Lief Mystery".
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drpeg

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Re: Help me pick a title for my mystery novel?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2017, 08:55:18 AM »

Thank you, Old Bill!
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