My MS is an adult thriller with a 102K word count. I recently learned of "word count expectancy" and what is perceived as typical by literary agents. I believe the anticipated word count for an adult thriller is between 60K-90K.
My question is, would the discrepancy between (current) actual and expected be considered a deal breaker? My MS contains a detail rich plot and reviews (some published) I have received have been complimentary of the books pace, so I am a little reluctant to change the content. Having said that I don't necessarily wish to be filtered out by one phrase or it being a reason for exclusion.
The only time word count is a deal breaker is when you're so far over or under that it's clear you're going to need major revisions. Word count on the upper end doesn't bother me cause I can always pare down. Word count problems on the lower end (50K thrillers, 70K historical fiction) are more troublesome cause it's figuring out what's missing.
But the real problem here is when you tell me that you have published reviews of your book. That's a huge red flag.
That more than word count would make me think twice about reading your book.
Either you don't know what reviews are (and no one was born knowing all this terminology, it's not a character flaw if you misused the word) OR you've done something like solicit prepublication reviews.
A review is generally an objective assessment by someone who doesn't know you. It's intended to be published so readers can decide if they want to buy the book, or as part of an overall, ongoing discussion of the category you're writing in. In either instance, an unpublished book shouldn't be getting reviews. When I take on new clients, the first thing I do is have them make some editorial changes. Some have a lot. Some are just clean up. But the ms you send me is almost never the ms that goes to editors, and certainly never the ms that is the final published version.
If you've sent this out for pre-pub reviews (you can pay people to say nice things about your book) it tells me you're pretty inexperienced AND you haven't done much research about how querying works. Pre-pub reviews are utterly useless.
In any case, if your query isn't getting any traction, my first choice for why is the review mention. The word count isn't setting off any alarms.