2024 QueryFest Agents / Editors
The following agents and editors are confirmed to attend QueryFest 2024 at ThrillerFest XIX.
We are actively working on building our agent/editor list for QueryFest 2024. Please check back frequently for updates.
QueryFest sessions are by appointment only Wednesday, May 29th thru Friday, May 31st.
Chief Literary Officer
Lou Aronica, Gramarye Media
Bio: Lou Aronica is the Chief Literary Officer of Gramarye Media, a next-generation transmedia book publisher and film studio. He is also a multiple New York Times bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction and a past president of Novelists Inc.
Joe Brosnan, Grove Atlantic
Bio: Joe Brosnan is a Senior Editor at Grove Atlantic where he specializes in crime fiction. Prior to that, he worked at St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books and managed Criminal Element for nearly a decade.
Looking for: At this time, I am exclusively looking for crime fiction submissions, particularly books from diverse authors who are using the genre to hold up a mirror to contemporary issues. I’m interested in everything from small-town noir to upmarket thrillers, and I’m looking for authors who intend to write a book every year(ish), whether it’s a series or standalone. I want to find authors who are in this for the long haul, and who I can work with for years to come.
Not looking for: I’m less interested in historical crime fiction, especially anything set before the 20th Century, and while I know cozies are having their moment, I’m not looking for those types of books either.
Luisa Cruz Smith, Penzler Publishers
Bio: Luisa Cruz Smith is the editor-in-chief of Penzler Publishers which includes The Mysterious Press and Scarlet Suspense.
Looking for: Luisa is interested in a wide range of crime fiction – from the traditional who-dunnit, to international thrillers, to psychological suspense – but mostly she is hoping to find great characters and a gripping storyline.
Susanna Einstein, Einstein Literary Management
Bio: Susanna Einstein (she/her/hers) has worked as a literary agent since 2005, and launched E.L.M. in 2015. She has worked in publishing since 1995, first in the publicity and editorial departments at what was then called Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing) and then as a literary scout at Maria B. Campbell Associates. A native New Yorker, she graduated with distinction from Northwestern University. She lives in NJ with her husband and two children. Susanna is a member of the Association of American Literary Agents.
Looking for: She has a particular fondness for crime fiction, upmarket commercial women’s fiction, MG and YA fiction, and narrative non-fiction. She likes a good story well told.
Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary Agency
Bio: Doug’s path on the road to publishing may have been set early. His first job in the industry came in 1978, walking up and down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan wearing a sandwich board advertising a new novel during the 1978 New York City newspaper strike. The next year, he took creative writing at Stuyvesant High School with Frank McCourt, nearly two decades before McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for Angela’s Ashes. Doug opened the Doug Grad Literary Agency, Inc. in 2008. As a third generation New Yorker and 25-year resident of Brooklyn, Doug moved to Salem, Massachusetts in 2021. No, he has not been turned into a toad by a witch (yet).
After starting at Simon & Schuster as an assistant to the assistant of Michael Korda, 2023 begins Doug’s 37th year as a publishing professional. An editor with imprints at Simon & Schuster, Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins for 22 years, Doug acquired and edited fiction and nonfiction bestsellers. On the nonfiction side, Doug has worked with astronauts, generals, war heroes, gangsters, cops, politicians, sports stars, journalists, musicians, historians and humorists. It’s never boring, and it keeps him out of the saloons!
As an agent, Doug has represented such clients as New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction Jeff Shaara; New York Timesbestseller Kerri Rawson (daughter of serial killer Dennis Rader, known as BTK); New York Times bestselling WWII historian Larry Alexander; Grammy-winning jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton, and true crime and mob writer Michael Benson, among others. In the mystery/thriller genre, Doug represents two-time Agatha Award and four-time Lefty Award winner Ellen Byron (and her alter-ego Maria DiRico); Jerome Preisler, author of the NET FORCE series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik; New York Times bestseller David L. Robbins; psychological suspense writer Debbie Babitt; thriller writer Matthew Betley; and espionage novelist A.J. Chambers.
Looking For: On the fiction side, Doug’s looking for mysteries (cozy, contemporary or historical), all stripes of thrillers, and contemporary fiction with interesting voices. On the nonfiction side, Doug’s looking for military, narrative nonfiction, celebrity memoir, history, music, popular science, business and sports.
Not looking for: Children’s picture books, middle grade, YA, science fiction, fantasy
Angie Hodapp, Nelson Literary Agency
Bio: Angie Hodapp is the Director of Literary Development at Nelson Literary Agency. She holds a BA in English and secondary education and an MA in English and communication development. A graduate of the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver, she has worked in professional writing, editing, and education for more than twenty years. A frequent presenter at writing conferences and events, and the author of Query Craft and Do You Need a Literary Agent, she loves helping writers improve their craft and learn about the ever-changing world of publishing.
Looking for: Nelson Literary Agency is looking for twisty, atmospheric, character-driven thrillers with upmarket or literary voices and book-to-screen appeal. At the top of our wish lists are psychological and domestic thrillers: stories that reveal the dark side of the familiar, or that show just how quickly situations that seem safe or relationships that seem mundane can go horribly wrong. Think No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole or Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam. Also exciting to us are speculative thrillers with unique settings and compelling what-if concepts (Archive 81, Severance, Shining Girls, Outer Range, 1899) and suspense rooted in dark or quirky humor (Deadloch, Fargo). Other thriller/suspense faves include Tana French, Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, Lisa Jewell, Catriona Ward, Simone St. James, Blake Crouch, and Mick Herron, and on screen, Black Bird, The Old Man, and The Patient.
Not looking for: police procedurals, cozy mysteries, or commercial medical, legal, political/spy, or religious/antiquities thrillers…unless the prose is upmarket or literary and the author is twisting familiar tropes in really cool, high-concept ways.
Zach Honey, Fine Print Literary
Bio: Zach is North Carolina-born and Montana-raised with an equal love for sweet tea and waist-deep snow. He studied film production and philosophy at Montana State University and received a master’s degree from the University of Nottingham in England.
Zach joined Fine Print Literary in 2020 and became an Associate Agent in 2022. He entered the writing world from the side of an author, publishing several short stories and maintaining a close connection with the craft as a member of writing groups in Boston and New York. After attending the NYC Pitch Conference and being introduced to the agenting side of the industry, he connected with Peter Rubie at Fine Print Literary, who brought him on as an assistant.
Looking for: Zach is primarily seeking thrillers and adult fiction, especially those set in rural places, mountainous regions, or other hard-to-reach corners of the world. His other interests include hiking, skiing, music, board games, golf, and other outdoor activities, and he is open to non-fiction pitches in these categories.
He would like to support underrepresented authors, especially those in the American indigenous community.
Above all, he enjoys strong writing with fascinating settings, memorable characters, and stories that are impossible to put down.
Not looking for: He is not looking to represent fantasy or sci-fi at this time.
Sandy Lu, Book Wyrm Literary Agency
Bio: Sandy Lu founded Book Wyrm Literary Agency in 2020 after working as a literary agent for more than a decade at the L. Perkins Agency. Her client list includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestsellers, Stoker Award, Hammett Prize, and Anthony Award nominees, Goodreads Choice Awards finalists, and New York Times Best of the Year recipient.
Sandy is seeking stories that will draw her in with a unique voice, make her miss her bedtime with a thrilling plot, and characters that will stay with her long after she turns the last page. Bonus points if you can make her laugh out loud or unable to hold back tears. She especially loves historical fiction, atmospheric world building, and anything dark, twisted, or with a supernatural bent. She favors unreliable narrators and serpentine plots that will keep her guessing till the end. And her white whale is a great spy novel set in early 20th century Shanghai.
Looking for: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA.
Not looking for: Picture books, graphic novels, and screenplays.
Clients: M. H. Boroson, B.J. Graf, Heather Levy, Jeneva Rose, and Randall Silvis.
Jen Nadol, The Unter Agency
Bio: Jen Nadol has worked in publishing for fifteen years, initially as a Young Adult author with novels published by Bloomsbury USA and Simon & Schuster. She joined The Unter Agency as an Agent in 2018 and represents both fiction and non-fiction, middle-grade through adult. . She is a member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and the Westside Agents Group (WAG).
Looking for: She is most interested in commercial contemporary fiction, mystery/thriller/speculative, romcoms (with a killer voice), memoir and narrative non-fiction.
Not looking for: She’s not a good match for fantasy of any type or super-academic non-fiction.
Courtney Paganelli, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency
Bio: Courtney Paganelli joined the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency in May of 2019 as an assistant to Jim Levine and Stephanie Rostan, was promoted within a year to be an Associate Agent, and in January of 2023 was promoted to Agent.
Her clients include Wall Street Journal bestselling author, entrepreneur and fan-favorite Bachelorette contestant, Jason Tartick, lettering artist and illustrator, Huyen Dinh, graphic designer and founder of @QuotesbyChristie, Christina Scotch, CURE Epilepsy board chair and award-winning blogger, Kelly Cervantes, and Jackie Goldschneider, star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Courtney graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English Literature. Her time in the Twin Cities was both bone-chilling and rewarding as she launched her publishing career as an intern with Wise Ink Creative Publishing. Upon graduation she returned home to the East Coast and began working on prominent business titles at Pearson. She later joined the managing editorial department at Random House Children’s books before becoming a part of the team at LGR.
Looking for: Courtney enjoys reading voice-driven commercial fiction, dark psychological fiction, and heartwarming romantic comedies. She particularly gravitates towards relatable adult or young adult novels that make her swoon over budding relationships, tackle tough topics or complex family dynamics, feature dashes of paranormal activity or magical realism, and anything atmospheric, creepy, and utterly thrilling. Her absolute favorite novels incite emotion, whether fear, heartbreak, or happiness — a book that makes her feel something is one she will read time and time again. Courtney has a special place in her heart for type-A protagonists, engaging enemies to lovers narratives, and whodunits that have her stumped until the final page. In the nonfiction space, Courtney is drawn to true crime, millennial-driven self-help, practical business, pop culture, lifestyle, and all things aesthetically pleasing.
Some (but certainly not all) of her favorite books include BOOK LOVERS, DARK PLACES, YELLOWFACE, MY DARK VANESSA, ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, PART OF YOUR WORLD, and ALONE WITH YOU IN THE ETHER.
Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary Services
Bio: Gina Panettieri is the Founder of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC, a five-member full-service literary agency headquartered in Connecticut. She has worked in publishing for more than 3 decades, shepherding hundreds of manuscripts successfully to publication.
As a generalist, she represents a full range of juvenile and adult fiction and nonfiction, with a strong emphasis on crime fiction of all descriptions. Notable titles include the WSJ-bestselling Tier One series, as well as the Sons of Valor series and the Shepherds series by Andrews & Wilson, the USA-Today bestselling Mercy Carr mystery series by fellow TN agent, Paula Munier, and the Trevor Finnigan series by Aaron Philip Clark. She also represents true crime, organized crime and forensic science nonfiction and law enforcement and criminal investigation memoir.
Charles Perry, Penzler Publishers
Charles Perry is the publisher of Penzler Publishers, overseeing all of the company’s imprints including The Mysterious Press, Scarlet, Crime Ink, and American Mystery Classics. In addition to extensive experience in editorial and marketing, he has spent over a decade as a bookseller specializing in mystery and detective fiction.
Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, McIntosh & Otis
Bio: Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, President and senior agent at McIntosh & Otis, has degrees from New York University and Manhattan School of Music. She began her book publishing career in subsidiary rights and then took on the responsibilities of acquisitions editor at a major audio publishing imprint. Initially, she joined McIntosh & Otis to manage all subsidiary rights but began working as an agent shortly thereafter. Her primary interests include literary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery/suspense, and memoir, along with narrative non-fiction, history and current affairs. Elizabeth represents numerous New York Times bestsellers, and both Agatha and Edgar Award winners and nominees.
Alec Shane, Writers House
Bio: Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he quickly began building his own list. He is still aggressively looking for new talent across a wide variety of genres.
Looking For: Horror, thriller, mystery, noir, grounded sci-fi, YA and middle grade “boy” fiction, and beautifully written historical fiction. In nonfiction: biography, narrative nonfictoion history, military, pop science, and all things sports.
Not Looking For: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), politics (fiction or nonfiction), women’s fiction, picture books, high fantasy, and science fiction featuring aliens/intergalactic warfare. He’s also read enough about Russia, in any capacity, for a while.
Clients: Nat Cassidy, Casey Barrett, Adam Cesare, Hank Early, Jumata Emill, Laurie R. King, Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Jack Murphy, Christopher Price, among others.
Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency
Bio: Victoria Skurnick is with the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, and represents both fiction and nonfiction. Among the books she has represented are Things We Do in the Dark, Little Secrets, It. Goes. So. Fast., The Lindbergh Nanny, Turn of Mind, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Jar of Hearts, Bad Things Happen, The Unexpected President, and The Dangerous Book for Dogs.
Victoria has been with LGR for 16 years; before joining the agency, she was editor-in-chief of The Book-of-the-Month Club, Senior Editor at St. Martin’s Press and Pocket Books, and Advertising Director of Holt. She is also the co-author of seven novels published under the name Cynthia Victor.
Clients: Victoria’s client list includes Susan Elia MacNeal, Jennifer Hillier, Mary Louise Kelly, Mariah Fredericks, Alice LaPlante, Harry Dolan, and Kermit Roosevelt among others.
Looking for: Suspense, literary fiction, and nonfiction.
Not looking for: Science fiction, fantasy, or romance.
Jess Taylor, Revizion
Bio: Prior to working as a literary agent—at Brown, Ltd. (NY) and Endeavor (LA)—Jess did a masters in Comp. Lit, comparing prose narration to screen narration. Since 2000, he’s worked full time with writers on project development, concept to copy edit, fiction and non-fiction. Gregg Hurwitz, Will Staeger, Rex Pickett, Peter Hedges, Nicole Galland, Henry Alford and others enlisted him for their first novels.
He’s lived 20 years in Brazil and travels a lot, to the US and other places where projects direct. A current favorite is a series set in Rio, featuring an investigative journalist whose reporting on a crime gets the sole witnesses killed.
Bestselling Author and Book Coach
Carter Wilson, Unbound Writer
Carter Wilson is the USA Today bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed, standalone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories. He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a five-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his works have been optioned for television and film. Carter lives in Erie, Colorado in a Victorian house that is spooky but isn’t haunted…yet.
Terrie Wolf, AKA Literary Management
Bio: Since founding AKALM in 2010, Terrie has been honored to manage authors who are at all stages of the writing journey and their eclectic and unforgettable works. She primarily represents adult fiction (mystery, thriller, women’s, regional and inspirational), the occasional non-fiction offering, and children’s fiction (especially MG mysteries) and non-fiction. Maintaining a global outlook, Terrie has sold rights in more than forty countries and thirty languages. She was named ACFW Agent of the Year in 2021.
Clients: Terrie’s clients include Forest Jones, Brian Tracey, Kirsche Romo, Byron Graves, Margaret Mizushima, Jeff Nesbit, Maria Shriver, and the estate of “the King of the Paperbacks” Harry Whittington. She also represents two cozy mysteries series co-authored by Jeff Ayers and Brian Tracey.
Looking for: in adult fiction: debut, general/other, historical, mystery/crime/thriller/suspense, inspirational, paranormal (light), regional saga, women’s fiction, romance. Terrie is also looking for picture books, young adult and middle grade.
Not looking for: in adult fiction: anthology, erotica, horror, literary, poetry, sci-fi/fantasy.
Faye and Jonathan Kellerman*
Larry D. Thompson
J. Jackson Bentley
Jack F. Du Brul*
Eric Van Lustbader*
D. P. Lyle M.D.*
Michael Palmer (2004-2013)*
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Susan Arnout Smith
Your Book Is Your Hook!
B. J. Daniels
Vince Flynn (2004-2013)*
Bonnie Hearn Hill*
Harley Jane Kozak
Dennis Lynds (2004-2005)*
Carl T. Smith*
M. Diane Vogt*
Inkwell Management, LLC*
*original member joined by June 4, 2005