I posted my query at my favorite website, Absolute Write.
The people there helped me quite a bit...but none of us felt that the query was where it needed to be. One of the posters started asking me questions about the manuscript, and so I told her:
Terri and Joanie were close in age, in looks, in their tastes in men. Growing up, they were glamorous and wild and had fantasies of become Hollywood starlets. Time changed things for Terri--she settled down into a stable, if boring, life--but not for Joanie. Joanie moved to L.A and was involved with the sort of guys who do bit parts in the tabloids.
Both sisters were a little malcontent, both wanted what the other had, and each of them lived vicariously through the other, mostly through pictures and phone calls. Then Joanie got murdered.
For years, Terri had been feeling smothered by her chosen life; like the wild woman inside of her was going down in a blaze of bread-baking glory. The addition of Joanie's death makes it too much for her. She can no longer live vicariously through her sister, so instead, she seeks out the wild life for herself.
In some ways, she's trying to escape the life she's chosen. In another way, she's trying to bring her sister back by becoming her. But the big deal is, she just can't cope with the loss. There's been no closure, and she doesn't think there ever can be.
Chris is actually another POV character, and while it's not given away early in the book, he's come to Terri's town specifically to seek her out. He had been completely obsessed with Joanie, and killed her in a fit of rage when she decided to end the relationship. Since then, he can't get her out of his head. He dreams about her every night, and every morning has to face the reality of her murder again as if it were for the first time. Terri looks like her sister, and Joanie always talked about how the two of them were just alike. They would even pass the same genes on to the kids, Chris figures--so if there's anyone in the world who could replace Joanie, it would be Terri.
And so the showdown. Chris is, in a way, put back in time. He's once again loved and lost, with a girl that's as close to Joanie as possible without actually being her. And Terri finally understands her sister--why her sister chose the life she did, and why she envied Terri's choices--AND sees a way to avenge her death, giving her the closure she craves.
I'm writing this as I go, and it's leaving stuff out, of course, but I hope it answers your questions. :)
The response was that I should use that. Of course, it's too long for a query (by a heck of a lot), it's unpolished (I wrote it in about two minutes), and it lacks a lot of what makes a query a query.
Meanwhile, I got a response from my first Beta reader. He gave a nice critique (read: told me what sucked about my writing) and said that he'd seen my query...he felt I was selling my novel short.
So basically, it's back to the drawing board. Square one, and all that.
But hey, I'm having fun. This, too, is part of being a writer.