James Farner

James Farner (he/him) is an Agency Assistant for JABberwocky Literary Agency, directly assisting COO Brady McReynolds. He was born and raised in the Midwest, received his bachelor’s degree in English writing and religious studies from the University of Oklahoma (where he interned with award-winning literary magazine World Literature Today), and moved to New York City to attend The New School for Social Research’s Liberal Studies master’s program. He started at JABberwocky as an intern in 2019 and became full-time in 2021.

James grew up reading epic fantasies and sweeping space operas, but these days the majority of his reading is in the mystery/thriller space. When he’s not reading, his minimal free time goes to keeping up with the best TV series and listening to podcasts in the tech-adjacent, pop-culture sphere.

How to Query Me

I am currently OPEN to Queries.

Please visit my Query Manager page to send me your query. Please include the first three chapters of your manuscript with your query.

Query Manager is the only place to query me. Please do not send queries to my email address, as they will be deleted unread there. JABberwocky does not take in-person or over-the-phone queries.

What I’m Looking For

Please note that I am only open to novel-length works of Adult Fiction, in the Mystery/Thriller genres.

  • I am not open to Children’s, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Short Stories (including collections), Poetry, Graphic Novels, or Nonfiction.
  • For the genres I’m open to, your novel should be in the 65,000 – 95,000-word range (mysteries on the shorter end, thrillers a bit longer). This is a guideline, not a rule, but if you’re outside that range, I would encourage you to do some hard thinking about why and whether your novel might benefit from revising into this range before you submit.

Across the board, my taste leans more commercial than literary, and I generally prefer books that entertain and keep me thinking from start to finish.

Mysteries: Murder mysteries and whodunnits are my sweet spot. I’d love to see novels inspired by Golden Age Detective stories that take these tropes and update them with modern pacing and sensibility. Locked-room and closed circle mysteries are favorites, though I prefer when these are fair play as well. Examples of non-client favorites include Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (and much of his other work) and Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson.

This overlaps some with the above, but I’m also looking for cozy mysteries, a la The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and The Dog Sitter Detective by Antony Johnston. I want characters that really shine here, leaving me wanting to spend more time with them.

I’d also love to see mysteries with speculative elements, especially if it’s integral to the story, like The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. But please keep these to novels you’d still expect to see in the mystery section of a bookstore, not the SFF shelves.

I’m less likely to be the right match for a purely historical mystery, but I’ll still consider them.

Thrillers: I like thrillers that have a bit of mystery crossover to them, whether something on the fun/cozy side like the Finlay Donovan books by Elle Cosimano or works like The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

I’d like to read stories with an irresistible, memorable premise, and don’t mind a slow burn if it’s doing something interesting that I haven’t seen before (My Murder by Katie Williams).

I’m also eager for thrillers with such good suspense that I’m racing through pages and just can’t put it down (Blood Sugar by Sacha Rothchild). Pull me directly from start to finish!