Guess the Plot
1. Phyllis Jablonski drives into Manhattan at lunchtime, and finds an empty parking space right in front of the building she's going to. And there are still forty-eight minutes on the meter.
2. Jerry Greene opens his mailbox and finds no bills, no credit card applications, and no catalogues. And it isn't even Sunday.
3. Marina is Jewish and a passionate supporter of Israel. She meets an Arab who's handsome and rich. After a few months of torrid sex they get married and move to Saudi Arabia.
4. Tiffany gets more than she bargained for when she claims that she's still a virgin despite being seven months pregnant. If it will bring the Pope on his first-ever visit to Decaturville, Tennessee, however, the town's willing to believe in the miracle. Also, a hillbilly Hitler impersonator.
5. When $523.42 in an unmarked envelope appears in Milo's mailbox -- the exact amount he needs to pay his rent and electric bill -- is it a miracle, or is it a subtle attempt to drive obsessive-compulsive Milo to the brink of a nervous breakdown?
6. The blizzard struck just before a loooong weekend of very important sports TV, when Doug and Smitty had only six beers and one bag of chips. These pious buddies had a portable generator so they turned it on and prayed. They watched TV and ate and drank and ate and drank and on Sunday night they realized -- neither the beer cans! Nor the chip bag! Nor even the generator tank! ever emptied! --- Should they call CNN? Or the Pope?
Dear Mr. Agent:
Marina Lansky has always dreamed of being a spy, but when she gets recruited by the Mossad in her junior year in college, she gets more than she bargained for. Her growing obsession with Ali Chalabi, [With Ahmed Chalabi so prominent in the news in the recent past, is there a reason you've chosen such a similar name?] a fellow student from Saudi Arabia, takes her from New York to Riyadh to the Arabian Desert and almost costs her life.
Marina is Jewish and a passionate supporter of Israel. When she learns that Ali has broken into Israeli military computers, she volunteers to help Israeli intelligence track his activities. Ali likes to brag about his computer-hacking exploits, so spying on him is easy. [Did she learn Ali had broken into the computers from him, or from Israel?] [Does Ali know Marina's Jewish?] It is also a lot of fun. He is handsome and rich, and Marina enjoys expensive restaurants, torrid sex made even more exciting by the deception
[Mossad: Hello? Agent Lansky? We're calling for your report on Chalabi's activities.
Marina: Let's see, last night we dined at 21. Then we went back to Ali's place and had torrid sex all night. Thursday night we ate at Per Se. Then we went back to my place and had torrid sex all night. Wednesday . . .
Mossad: Has he said or done--
Marina: Listen, call back in the morning, will you? I'm kind of tied up right now.]
and a newfound sense of purpose. When Ali is recalled home to work for the Saudi Defense Ministry, she marries him to continue to spy on him. In Riyadh, she rarely leaves the house, communicating with her Mossad handlers through e-mail. [Typical email from Marina:
Ali brought home take-out last night from Al-Nafoura. I had kabsat dagag. Don't know what it means, but they got the gag part right, LOL. Then we had torrid sex all night. ;-)
She struggles with isolation and growing suspicions of Ali’s sinister brother. [Osama Chalabi] But Ali is kind to her, he is the only friend she can turn to in this oppressive and alien world. She begins to fall in love with him for real, and she feels no pleasure in betraying his trust. But it’s too late to stop now. [True, as shown here:
Marina: I've grown to love you with all my heart, Ali.
Ali: As I do you, my flower.
Marina: Thus I have decided that henceforth I will stop informing Israeli Intelligence of your every move.
Ali: Most considerate, darling. Excuse me, I need to use the intercom. Miss Adeela? Would you send in Borgo the Disemboweler, please?]
She discovers a terrorist plot to steal nuclear weapons from Israel but is unable to warn her contacts through the usual channels. [That's so annoying. Spammers selling Viagra manage to send you hundreds of emails, but when you're trying to prevent nuclear war, all your emails bounce.] She can do nothing and cause the deaths of thousands of people or she can warn the Israelis and risk exposure which would bring her a death sentence as a Zionist spy. [What is the communication method she would have to use that would expose her?]
THE MIRACLE is a romantic spy thriller, complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for considering my novel. May I send you sample pages or the complete manuscript?
Thrillers and romances usually get away with a few plot holes, but I thought I'd bring them up anyway:
She rarely leaves the house, but manages to discover a plot to steal nuclear weapons? Who else lives in this house?
The Saudi Defense Ministry needs to fill a position, and they can't come up with anyone better than a college student in America?
Presumably Israel would hire the finest computer minds available to try to hack into their military computers, as a safeguard. Then this college student pulls it off as a prank? (I assume it's a prank, as he probably wouldn't brag about this accomplishment if he were doing it as a spy operation.)
The Israelis find out this guy hacked into their military secrets, and instead of kidnaping him and torturing him, ask a 19-year-old college girl to keep an eye on him?
Ignore the fact that we have a Jewish student dropping out of college, marrying an Arab, and moving to Riyadh, where she'll be a second-class citizen at best, and dead at worst. Just think about what mattered to you when you were a college sophomore: boys, music, your dreamy psychology professor, movies, passing chemistry, torrid sex . . . Maybe Marina should be a graduate student. A few more years under her belt.
Also, what's the miracle?