12.27.2005

#24 Crapometer

Thriller

Synopsis of FAT CHANCE

When hit men start gunning for her, an accountant who reinvented herself to escape a painful past is forced to turn over every stone-new and old (cliche alert)-to discover who wants her dead and why.

Nexi Ketts is gorgeous and has a multi-million dollar trust fund to boot. With a Harvard degree, a consulting gig as a forensic accountant and lovers up the yin-yang, the twenty-nine-year-old appears to enjoy a storybook existence. (cartoon characters masquerading as characters in a novel alert)

So what if she's obsessed with finding the parents who absconded with a fortune and vanished when she was a troubled teen? Who cares if uptight matrons call her a slut? And what's wrong with her near religious devotion to Weight Watchers? Weekly meetings help her stay half the woman she once was.

Nexi thinks she's coping nicely with what life has dished up until a hired killer, posing as a cop, seduces her and tries to murder her. She preempts him, drives a screwdriver into his gut and flees naked, causing a fender bender outside her Atlanta townhouse. By the time police arrive, the only signs of her assailant are a fake badge, a bullet-shattered doorjamb and a trail of blood.

Detective Barry Gerton discovers the FBI has a file on Nexi, who adopted a new name-an anagram for "sex kitten"-as a joke when she tipped the scales at two hundred and fifty pounds.

The tabloids went wild when her celebrity parents-financial mogul Steve Farrell and Hollywood starlet Linda Dahl-disappeared fifteen years before. Authorities mercilessly grilled the rotund left-behind daughter. They tapped her phone and hacked her computer, figuring Mom or Pop would call sooner or later. Later never came.

Thanks to a generation-skipping trust, the orphan wasn't left penniless. Now a shrewd accountant, she works with a private investigative firm to nail corporate cheats like dear old Dad. The svelte CPA, a "results not typical" poster child for weight loss, has been urged by some friends to join another self-help group-Sexaholics. In response she quotes Alfred Kinsey: "A nymphomaniac is someone who has more sex than you."

Deep down, Nexi knows that sex is a defective glue for romantic liaisons. She just doesn't know how else to relate to men. Co-ed friendships weren't part of the curriculum for a fat kid incarcerated her entire youth in all-girl academies.

The initial attack on Nexi seems a case of bad karma. Barry figures some deviant was drawn by her blazing sexuality. Certainly her curvy body and feisty spirit crank his motor. But after Barry learns of her assailant's painstaking research, he suspects a professional hit.

The picture gets more jumbled when a stranger sics a killer pit bull on Nexi. Timely intervention by a German shepherd and his owner save her from the beast's formidable jaws. Next she eludes hit man number one in a kamikaze run to a police station when he stakes out her Weight Watchers' meeting.

Nexi's baffled: Who wants her dead? Since there are no greedy heirs, she focuses on two crooks she helped to nail and a rejected lover turned stalker. As these possibilities dead end, a frightened Nexi seeks comfort in Barry's arms. Yet, while she's perfectly willing to sleep with the detective, she stonewalls him as he begins to probe her affairs.

Barry learns Nexi's been investigating her parents' disappearance with help from an ex-CIA colleague, who believes the runaway mom is hiding in Jamaica under the protection of a drug lord. Barry thinks there's a link between the attempts on Nexi's life and her investigation. She scoffs at the notion. When Nexi flies to Kingsport, Barry follows.

In Jamaica, after a man promises to lead Nexi to her mother, she takes a river raft trip to a remote mountain site. It's a setup for murder. But her attacker's machete proves no match for her gun. When Barry literally helps her bury the body, he gains her trust.

Barry uncovers evidence that Nexi's mother, Linda, may have murdered Nexi's father. Still she refuses to believe her mother is trying to kill her.

Linda, who's been living in isolated splendor, yearns for adulation and figures a new husband, dimmed memories and plastic surgery will permit her triumphant return to society. The actress seduces a wealthy-but toad-like-blueblood. She has no illusion that marrying this amphibian will turn him into Prince Charming. She doesn't care. After her reentry into
society, the toad will be road kill. The only thing standing between her and a bright future is the brat she birthed-Nexi.

really? why? The plot which up till now has been over the top but logical, goes splat here.

By the time Nexi and Barry piece together the offshore puzzle, Linda and her fiancé have flown to Hilton Head where the black widow is planning her nuptials and a deadly mother-daughter reunion.

Nexi is preparing to swim in a beach house pool when the pissed-off hired gun who started it all accidentally announces his arrival. Nexi finds caustic chemicals in the pool house and blinds him. Still he's able to drag her into the deep end. However, blindness, street clothes and an unhealed wound give Nexi an upper hand. She pins the killer underwater with a skimmer until he drowns.

Linda contacts Nexi and invites her daughter aboard her fiancé's yacht. Once they've sailed into Calibogue Sound, Linda drops her conciliatory pretense and attacks. Struck in the head with a boom, Nexi falls overboard. Linda figures she's dead and proceeds with wedding plans.

Nexi, rescued by Barry, waits for her mother's walk down the aisle to extract revenge, unmasking her when the minister makes the ritual call to "speak now." Linda goes berserk. Nexi emerges victorious in a free-for-all catfight under the wedding arch. The media can't get enough of the wicked-witch story. So, after a fashion, Linda gets what she wanted. She
regains center stage although she's playing to the audience from jail.

Once Nexi and Barry escape reporters, the cop asks her to consider one last name change. She accepts with a stipulation-no Jamaican honeymoon.

This is full of cliches. The characters, as described, are caricatures, not real. This may be a good book, but this synopsis makes it sound like knock off Mickey Spillane.

6 comments:

Maxwell said...

What's wrong with Mickey Spillane?

bordermoon said...

Nothing. But the world already HAS someone who writes like Mickey Spillane (a writer who is named, by the oddest coincidence, Mickey Spillane). One of the points of a synopsis is, I believe, to convince the world that it's been waiting for YOU and your Unique Vision and Voice to arrive.

Am I correct, Miss Snark?

Miss Snark said...

Nothings wrong with Mickey Spillane.
Notice I said "knock off MS"...it's the knock off that's the problem.

It's like buying a "Dior" handbag on Canal Street and being surprised when then the shop girls at Dior on Madison Avenue sneer at you.

Anonymous said...

I've read 15 or 20 of these synopses so far--it's a great distraction from finishing my own book. Ms S's concerns about plot details and characters notwithstanding, this synopsis is by far the best written one that I've come across so far--the writing is concise, energetic, expressive, and a whole bunch ofother adjectives I can't think of at the moment. Personally I think a few cliches are just par for the course, but if it makes Ms S happy, then say sayonara and give them the push. If the book is this well written, it will sell. I won't buy it, because I don't read airport lounge trash (and anyway I only shop at used bookshops and boot sales) but lots of other people will.

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