12.29.2006

HH Com 617

Miller Sturtevant wants a new house. He’s a handsome and slightly geeky CEO on the verge of a record-breaking IPO and he wants to trade up. Problem is his wife’s fine where they are, and he’s developed an irrational fixation on a gated community called Canaan Cove that’s never once put a house on the market. When a pair of residents die in a suspicious explosion, the neighborhood quickly offers Miller the newly-vacant house.

The moving trucks aren’t gone a week before Miller realizes there’s something’s very strange about his new neighborhood. The weird guardhouse attendant who never takes a day (or night) off, the dog next door that hurls itself against its chain all night long without making a sound, and cryptic, half-whispered mentions of a “machine” all have Miller wondering what the hell his neighbors are really up to. When a violent encounter with Christopher Rounsaville, the crazed President of the Homeowner’s Association, ends in a broken nose and a not-so-veiled reference to Miller’s role in Rounsaville’s mysterious plan, Miller’s suddenly thinking of ways out of Canaan. He soon discovers, however, that his captors have thought of everything. They need him for something and they’re not taking their eyes off him for a second.

A handwritten note promising a chance for escape changes everything. Soon after, Miller is immersed into a world of cults, murderous zealots, ritualized violence, and alternate dimensions that will reveal the terrible path Miller must travel to finally escape from Canaan Cove."

Hotel California meets The Shining.

Creepy house, creepy neighbors.....been there, done that. There's nothing that elevates this beyond everything else out there in the creepy zip code.

9 comments:

Janet Black said...

This sounds almost exactly like a story I saw on the X-Files.

BernardL said...

Although the hook needed a little more grab, it evoked interest, at least mine. :) I'm sure it's been done, but as already mentioned by many, the bookstores are full of formula type genre books. They sell.

I Said said...

Throw in Pod and Stepford Wives as well--at least that's what comes to mind.

Which is fine--the idea is sort of interesting. The problem I see is that you have some useless info in here, such as the wife not wanting to move and yet she's not mentioned again. The same with the IPO where I'm grabbing on that to mean something and it doesn't here in the hook.

I like the story idea though--work on the hook.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the critique, Miss Snark, and to you commenters as well. With 600+ hooks to read it's nice that anyone's reading them after, say 300 or so. Though I did want to ask Janet Black, on the off chance she comes back to check the comments on this entry, which episode of the X-Files she was thinking of, if she remembers. I want to check it out and see if I need to be more worried than I already am.

Nobody said...

FWIW, I thought this was interesting. Yes, the creepy neighborhood thing is done a lot and I'd definitely get specific in your hook about what's new/special about yours. I was intrigued by the mention of the crazed HOA president. I don't know how much of a role that plays in your story, but IMO there's a lot to be mined out of nutty HOA's. That might be worth playing up.

Anonymous said...

I think I would enjoy reading this if it's written with the degree of humor suggested here -- the reference to the crazed HOA president made me laugh out loud. And anything that trashes gated communities already has a point in its favor, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I liked this. I think I'd read it if I came across it on the bookshelves.

roach said...

The X-files episode is called "Arcadia". (You can find a plot synopsis in the episode listing at Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Roach. I was a little worried after I read Michael Marshall's "Straw Men" because that novel also featured a creepy gated community, though not as prominently. But this X-Files episode does resemble the first 100 pages of my book pretty closely. Maybe in my next draft of the hook I'll do well to accentuate the sci-fi elements of the story over the apparently done-to-death creepy neighborhood premise.

Thanks again to all for the encouraging comments.