Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Guess the Plot
One Promise Too Many
1. Overachiever Kevin Gallagher is grounded for digging up his mother’s prize-winning roses and selling them on E-bay. He really wants to see the Sex Pistols Revival at the Dome and will do anything. “Mom, pleeeeaaase, I promise! I’ll make my bed, take out the trash, do my homework, wash the cars, clean the garage, stop masturbating . . . ”
2. The kidnappers promised the CEO they wouldn't harm his daughter. The CEO promised his daughter he'd get her back. The detective promised to catch the kidnappers. And the schizophrenic promised to take his medication. Will one broken promise lead to four?
3. Playboy Winston Merkle is a ladies' man, but his promises are wearing thin. When he tells Big Janey Moorcock he'll respect her in the morning, she makes sure of it by twisting his neck and eating his dead flesh. How was he supposed to know she was really Athena, daughter of Zeus?
4. Lana swore that she would hate her mother forever if she didn't get to go to the Senior Prom. She vowed to quit eating if her mom said no. And she promised to hold her breath until she turned blue. As she lapses into unconsciousness, Lana realizes that she may have made... One Promise Too Many.
5. First it was a puppy. Then a Wii. Then a trip to Disneyland. All nine-year-old Nicky wants to do is play catch with his dad, but when Dad is off on another business trip promising to "make it up to him next time," Nicky steals his sister's witchcraft book and learns a spell that will make Dad live up to every promise he's ever made. But Nicky forgot about Dad's promises to "give him something to really cry about."
6. He promised to love her. He promised to cherish her. He promised to care for her and provide for her and respect her in the morning and never cheat on her. But the day he ate the last slice of pie after promising not to, Laurie realized: she couldn't trust any of his promises.
Recent failures haunt Roger Stark as he begins a new job as Marshfield, Pennsylvania's newest detective. [Usually they promote cops to detective after recent successes, not failures. What kind of failures are we talking about?] When someone kidnaps the five-year-old daughter of a volatile CEO, Roger must cope with an enigmatic new partner, a pregnant wife, and an elusive suspect by an odd 42 hour ransom deadline. [Odd?
Kidnappers: We want the money by noon Thursday.
CEO: Noon? That only gives me . . . 42 hours. Not only is it not enough time, it's rather odd.]
ONE PROMISE TOO MANY is a completed 87,000 word mystery told from Roger's and Phil Cartier's POV. Phil is a medicated schizophrenic at the center of the mystery. When Roger busts Phil's alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the kidnapping, he flees fearing the police. [Why does he need an alibi? Why is he at the center of the mystery? What is the mystery? The identity of the kidnapper?] With his sanity faltering and Roger's partner obsessively pursing Phil, [I'm not up on my cop lingo; does that mean he's obsessively hitting Phil over the head with his purse?] an estranged girlfriend with her own agenda seems like Phil's only lifeline. [No, no, he still has "50/50" and "Ask the Audience."] Phil's movements are erratic. Do they lead the cops to the girl? Or, is Phil trapped in his own imaginary world? [You have to connect Phil to one of the crimes, or these sentences are irrelevant. Even if they were relevant, they're kind of vague.]
As the hours to the ransom delivery tick down, Roger discovers the kidnapping is a ruse to divert attention from a $100M embezzlement scheme at the CEO's company set to occur during the ransom delivery. [Divert whose attention? The CEO's? A CEO has more important things to do than check to see if the books are being cooked. The authorities? The people who investigate kidnapping aren't the same ones who handle embezzlement. If the idea is to steal money at a time when the CEO is preoccupied, why not steal it when he's asleep or on vacation, instead of committing another crime, one that's going to have the FBI (instead of the company accountants) chasing you.] The embezzler keeps unwitting co-conspirators in line through deceit [If you're a co-conspirator, can you be unwitting? Don't you have to be fairly . . . witting?] while manipulating a murderous henchman, a childhood friend of Roger's, to eliminate loose-ends. [Loose ends like the unwitting co-conspirators.] As Roger's wife goes into labor, an armed Phil holds the key to an embezzler's success and Roger's redemption for his recent failures.
[groveling and begging paragraph] [No groveling or begging. Take your lumps and move forward.]
Kidnapping is investigated by the FBI, whether there's been interstate travel or not. If the police are aware of the kidnapping, the FBI would be as well. Is the FBI in the book?
According to Wikipedia: Convicted kidnappers can expect to face life imprisonment or death penalty if convicted. In many states kidnapping is the only capital crime other than murder. Granted, no one has actually received the death penalty for kidnapping since 1960, and many states have no capital punishment; nonetheless, committing a capital crime as a ruse to distract authorities from a lesser crime (embezzlement) is like committing treason to cover up your shoplifting. Then again, no one ever said criminals were smart.
I was under the impression embezzlement took place gradually over a period of time. $100M in one fell swoop sounds more like grand theft.
If you're going to kidnap a child for ransom anyway, why not just demand $100M in ransom instead of committing embezzlement and kidnapping someone as a ruse for the same take?
It's not clear what Phil has to do with anything. How does he hold the key? You know that Phil needs to be in the query, but you haven't shown why he's a suspect in either crime.
Roger's pregnant wife can be left out.