12.26.2006

HH Com 467 (466 is at the Guggenheim, gazing)

Don Kiefer’s quiet life as an attorney almost didn’t happen and worse, it’s about to unravel. As a college student, he fell in with a radical crowd led by charismatic Mason Gilmore and might have ended up in federal prison if it hadn’t been for his professor, Robert Goldman. When Robert’s airplane disappears during a flight over northern Canada, Don becomes sole heir to his estate and discovers Robert had many secrets of his own. A hidden diamond cache in the Appalachian Mountains is interesting enough but the fact Robert was once a rising star in the field of geology, not criminal law, is astonishing. His abrupt fall from grace began with a research paper on the New Madrid Earthquake of 1812. His research predicted another earthquake occurring soon, more powerful and destructive than the first that changed the course of the Mississippi River. His solution, to prevent the catastrophe, was considered murderous by his peers. Now Mason has returned to settle a grudge with the government. When he learns of Robert’s research, he sees the means to his revenge and asks Don for help. He declines and informs the FBI of Mason’s intent but an agent with her own vendetta hasn’t forgotten about Don either. Now Don must decide; does he follow Robert’s plan, killing thousands, to save millions? With a vengeful FBI agent shadowing him, a maniacal radical as an unwelcome companion and on the verge of a natural catastrophe he might not be at liberty to choose.

Here's another candidate for the kitchen sink award.

You've got so much detail we can't see the story. Stop. Drop some characters. Roll up those adjectives and store them in the attic.

Use the XYZ Hook Me Up starting point to get your ducks in a row. Then ready, aim, fire.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

:Tired editor's already glazed eyes acquired another coating when the Madrid quake entered, stage left.:

December Quinn said...

Robert Goldman, or Dr. Iben Browning?

That aside--which only those of us who lived in MO in the late 80s may remember--I thought this could be an interesting story at base.

jamiehall said...

Here are the things I tripped over:

Radical crowd? What do they do?

We need to know more about the plan that kills thousands to save millions.

There are a lot of confusing details that never quite congeal into a coherent whole.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the hook needs paring down, but it sounds like there's a terrific story in there!

xiqay said...

I didn't get tripped up. And I think the story has potential.

I started to disbelieve when Don discovers the diamond cache (but perhaps there was a clue in the professor's papers, so okay.) But then I'm really skeptical about Mason discovering the earthquake research and thinking this is a basis for revenge.

Mason doesn't sound like the kind of guy to sit around and wait for an earthquake, and that would be boring, too.

Mason sounds like he'd discover the diamond cache, too, and have some plans for it.

Good luck.