HH Com 111

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, a fellow student from Saudi Arabia, sets off a chain of events that take her from New York to Riyadh to the Arabian Desert and almost cost her life.

When Marina learns that Ali has broken into Israeli military computers and plans to help Palestinian terrorists, she volunteers to help Israeli intelligence track his activities. After Ali is recalled home to work for the Saudi Defense Ministry, she marries him in order to continue to spy on him. In Riyadh, she is caught and condemned to death for being a Zionist spy. She is taken up over the desert in a helicopter piloted by Ali and forced to jump. Having survived, Marina realizes that Ali risked his life to save her. Saudi religious authorities declare her survival a miracle that Allah performed because Marina became a Muslim. She is pardoned and turns into a local celebrity. Reunited, the couple returns to New York where she faces Mossad again and must decide between her lifelong allegiance to Israel and her love for Ali.

This is a synopsis.
A hook requires more than "what this book is about". There needs to be an enticement to read it. What's the central decision that Marina has to make? What are the stakes? You can't just describe her like a dossier either. She needs to have substance so we'll want to read on.

I also want to know how she survives jumping out of a helicopter.


KingM said...

On the other hand, the setting and characters are something different. This could be something good.

Anonymous said...

The name bothers me:

Marina Lansky
Monica Lewinsky

Maybe she has a "special talent" that would get the hard-a$$ Mossad to recruit an American collge chick.

Anonymous said...

I want to know how forcing someone to jump out of a helicopter is an attempt to save their life. Especially, when the person's survival is viewed as a miracle.

Anonymous said...

A Muslim convert from NY. This ought to go huge.

carlynarr said...

This is something that would not normally interest me at all, but I like the way it's written here. I don't think it's bad. It's not really a hook, no-- but I want to keep reading, anyway.

shannon said...

Who is the audience? If it's a book for women (and I'm going to get shot for saying this), focus more on the emotional side, the love/loveless marriage/spying on my husband (but NOT in the Mr and Mrs Smith kind of way >shudder<) with high intensity in the what's-going-through-her-mind etc. kind of way.

If it's more for men, um, more explosions? ha ha. I can't speak for them, and although it doesn't have to be geared towards one gender rather than the other, I did feel that this synopsis tried to cover everything and please everybody. I don't think you can. If an agent is going to try to sell this to a publisher, they need to know what kind of book it is and who it's aimed at.

Otherwise, I was intrigued, and it's very topical, with a bit of Alias et al thrown in, politics and romance, spies and espionage, yummy!

Anonymous said...

"Saudi religious authorities declare her survival a miracle that Allah performed because Marina became a Muslim."

Does Islam support the concept of miracles? (This is an honest question.)


HawkOwl said...

Zionist spies. Flush.

Anonymous said...

Delving into Arab-Israeli relationships has to be a tough thing to do without pissing off one side or the other or both. It's such a freakin' touchy subject, I don't know how you could manage it. I'm intrigued by the premis, but your hook could be better worded to leave out what happens and leave some suspense.

Anonymous said...

The inital premise (of girl recruited as spy while in college) reminds me too much of the TV show Alias. Sorry, author, it doesn't do the originality thing for me.