Friday, June 09, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. After some unkind words by his preacher one Sunday, addled ranchhand Hayseus Rioja declares a blood feud with the preacher, the church, and God herself.
2. At a summer camp for gifted children, campers are tricked into developing dangerous pathogens to be used in biological weapons by the U.S. military.
3. A morbidly obese food critic for a gourmet cooking magazine is found gutted in the freezer of a restaurant he panned.
4. When San Francisco attorney Rick Strong ploughs his BMW into a group of Critical Mass bicycle riders in a fit of road rage, he must deal with the fact that his estranged daughter and her lesbian lover are among the injured.
5. A former police detective comes out of retirement to hunt down the 700-pound serial killer known as "The Brachiosaurus."
6. When Missy Larkin's cat, Buttons, reaches gigantic proportions, Missy takes her to Kitty Kat Fat Farm. There she meets the proprietor, Ridley Chesterton, and falls in love.
When a child goes missing from her summer camp, most camp directors would call her parents and the local police, not the FBI, but Katie Brenner is no ordinary girl and the Teller Institute is no ordinary summer camp. [Nor does it sound like one. Scanning this directory of summer camps, which one's name would inspire you to consider it for your kid: Camp Laurelwood, Camp Tippecanoe, Camp Walden, or The Teller Institute?]
The Teller Institute is a government program to allow extremely gifted students to do real research and serve their country. Under normal conditions, Katie wouldn’t have cleared admissions, but this year the Teller Institute allowed humanities prodigies to attend along with the science and math specialists. [The Marines: We're looking for a few good poets.] All the more surprising then that Katie was the one kidnapped instead of her brilliant roommate, Karen Jacobs. After all, Karen is heading up the research team and Katie can’t tell a code from a cipher. [She can, however, do something Karen can't: recite the prologue to The Canterbury Tales.]
Special Agent John Wilkes is hard pressed to sort out this case. He dismisses his preliminary instinct that something is wrong, attributing it to his discomfort around the geeky kids [Who keep calling him John Wilkes Booth.] working at the camp where a Rubik’s cube is a more common accessory than a handbag. [Evil Editor has a Rubik's Cube, and no handbag. Are you calling him a geek?] The more he investigates, the more tangled the case appears. Someone is trying to hide the disappearance from Katie’s parents [That's going to look good at the end of August, when Katie's parents come to pick her up, and discover she's been missing since June 12th.] and the camp director, Glen Pribbs, is reluctant to let Wilkes distract the students from their research, duplicating a dangerous pathogen that vague intelligence reports suggest is being manufactured by terrorists. [Why are humanities prodigies helping on a project to develop a deadly pathogen? Are they the ones who write the instruction manuals? Or are they the guinea pigs?] [I wonder if any of the parents are going to send their kids to the Teller Institute next summer, after they learn the kids spent this summer developing deadly pathogens.]
With the help of some of the students, Wilkes discovers that the terrorist threat is a fake. The students, instead of providing data to the government, have been doing its dirty work, developing new biological weapons. [Does the government really need to use eight-year-olds to develop their weaponry?] Now Wilkes will need the students’ help to save Katie, who fled after discovering the truth, [The kids get pulled off their job doing the government scientists' work so they can start doing the FBI's work.] and to bring down the Teller Institute. Too bad many of the students would do anything [Including releasing deadly pathogens into the population.] to keep the camp from closing so as not to return to their normal lives. [What normal, red-blooded kids would want to go home where they only get to destroy the world on their Playstations, when they can stay at camp and do it for real?]
CRITICAL MASS is my first novel and mixes fast-paced narration with documents from the case file, [Such as sex offender records of the camp counselors, fingerprints of Glenn Pribbs, and little Katie's Grand Jury testimony.] allowing the reader to better understand the characters and their world. This geeky thriller is intended for a YA/teen audience. [It would appeal to anyone who enjoyed How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Wiped Out Twelve Million People, or Harry Potter and the Vial of Smallpox.] I have included a SASE if you would be interested in a full or partial manuscript.
When a child goes missing from her summer camp, most camp directors would call her parents, not the FBI. But Katie Brenner is no ordinary child, and the Teller Institute is no ordinary summer camp--it's a government program employing extremely gifted students as a research team.
Special Agent John Wilkes dismisses his preliminary instinct that something is wrong, attributing it to his discomfort around the geeky kids working at the camp. But the more he investigates, the more tangled the case appears. The camp director, Glen Pribbs, is reluctant to let Wilkes distract the students from their project, duplicating a dangerous pathogen that vague intelligence reports suggest is being manufactured by terrorists.
Wilkes eventually discovers that the terrorist story is a fake, that the students have actually been doing the government's dirty work, developing new biological weapons. Wilkes has no choice but to recruit the campers, both to save Katie, who fled after discovering the truth, and to bring down the Teller Institute.
CRITICAL MASS is my first novel. It mixes fast-paced narration with documents from the case file, allowing the reader to better understand the characters and their world. This geeky thriller is intended for a YA/teen audience. I have included a SASE for your reply. Thank you.
Maybe it would be more appealing to the YA/teen audience if Katie and a couple kids brought down the Teller Institute, without the FBI's help. In fact, why not have them bring down the entire U.S. military-industrial complex?
The whole idea of the camp is pretty far-fetched. And Evil Editor isn't sure books about developing pathogens for bio-weapons are appropriate for your declared audience.
On the other hand, I applaud your attempt to show kids that science is far from boring, and only wish you had demonstrated this with a less-dramatic example than a weapons development program capable of ending the human race.