MERIDIAN

ANDREW CERONI

Book Cover

GENRE

SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    LOYALTY

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    JACK RYAN SERIES

    CHARACTER LIST

    • PETE NOVAK: 30S. LEAD. GOLDEN BOY UP AND COMER OF THE CIA

    • DR. DOUGLAS KRIEGEL: 60S. PETE'S UNCLE, DEP. DIRECTOR CIA

    • LASZLO CSENGERNY: 50S. HUNTED BY THE CIA.

    • JT BRANNAN: 50S. PETE'S BODYGUARD.

    • SARAH: 30S. PETE'S WIFE

    • PHIL O'DONNELL: 40S. CIA OPERATIVE WORKING TO TAKE DOWN PETE

    Logline

    Assassinations of CIA Agents Battling to Protect America’s Darkest Secret Spiral into a Trail of Horror and Bloodshed! It is the biggest of America’s big secrets–MERIDIAN, the deepest black, most intensely protected program since the Atom Bomb.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    The Outer Banks, N. Carolina; Frankfurt, Germany; McLean, Virginia; Canada (Montreal, St. Antoine Abbey, Lake Papineau), Compton, Maryland; and Denver, Colorado.

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Outskirts Press

    Year Published: Revision: 2016

    Starting Description

    MERIDIAN represents the furthest leading edge of weapons technology. Laszlo Csengerny, a Russian-controlled spy, has uncovered the key to destroying MERIDIAN. CIA agent Pete Novak races to Europe with orders to stop Laszlo, to kill him if necessary. Several agents have already died trying.

    Ending Description

    A violent clash occurs in West Denver at the Paradigm Modeling research facility between Pete Novak, Laszlo Csengerny, Phil O’Donnell, John Tanham and “Mike” (the EBE – Extraterrestrial Biological Entity). Finally, a revelation about J.T. Brannon’s death occurs in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1478773221

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Pete Novak, Assistant Deputy Director for Special Programs, Operations Directorate, CIA

    Age: 39

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Confident,Engaging,Faithful,Honorable,Selfless,Skillful,Educated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Dr. Douglas Kriegel, Deputy Director for Operations (the DepOps), CIA

    Age: 60

    Gender: Male

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Complex,Decisive,Empathetic,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Patriotic,Skillful

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Phil O'Donnell, Section Lead assigned to the Clandestine Operations Division, CIA

    Age: 45

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Greedy,Villainous,Power Hungry,Secretive,Desperate,Narcisstic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Laszlo Csengerny

    Age: 55

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Complex,Desperate,Insecure,Secretive,Lone Wolf

    Development Pitch

    Assassinations of CIA Agents Battling to Protect America’s Darkest Secret Spiral into a Trail of Horror and Bloodshed! It is the biggest of America’s big secrets–MERIDIAN, the deepest black, most intensely protected program since the Atom Bomb. MERIDIAN represents the furthest leading edge of weapons technology and with origins more profoundly startling than the technology itself. Governments will stop at nothing to get it. Laszlo Csengerny, a Russian-controlled spy, is a man haunted by demons from his past. Laszlo has uncovered the key to destroying MERIDIAN. CIA agent Pete Novak races to Europe with orders to stop Laszlo, to kill him if necessary. Several agents have already died trying. Novak’s dedicated security escort, J.T. Brannon, a former assassin unequaled in the skills of executive sanctions, is leery of Novak’s assignment and warns him of its danger. As Novak unravels the alarming secrets behind MERIDIAN and his path converges with Laszlo’s desperate pursuit to annihilate his demons, Novak and his family are swept into the crosshairs of rogue Agency assassins. Only Brannon can save Novak’s family and he is committed to sacrificing his own life to do so. The final confrontation and profound revelation of MERIDIAN explode into a deadly struggle over what may be the future of mankind itself.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, THRILLER

    Brief

    CIA agents are ending up dead and an operative suspects other CIA agents might be behind it. It's all to protect or kill an alien nicknamed “Mike” who has been helping the U.S. The good guys win and Mike is saved.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It works perfectly - the profile depicts the book correctly.

    Draw of Story

    I liked the multiple perspectives of many different characters.

    Possible Drawbacks

    There were unnecessary filler scenes between action scenes. There was much more than what was needed for the plot, and just distracted from it.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    An action thriller where CIA operatives realize that the real danger is inside the agency. I would like it much more if it leaned more into the aspects of "who can you trust" and double agents.

    Fanbase Potential

    Absolutely. Fans of spy novels may be enticed. Fans of sci-fi, while demanding, may like it as well.

    Awards Potential

    No. As it is, it's a basic action movie - a genre with no history of critical praise, or awards.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    JACK RYAN

    What’s New About the Story

    All of a sudden there is an alien life twist around three fourths into the story. This story would be much more unique if it focused on those science fiction elements but explained them better or introduced them earlier.

    Lead Characters

    The lead character is just universally beloved by everyone, yells at his wife in one scene but she apologizes to him...he's a Mary Sue. He is seriously the least interesting character in the book and does nothing for the plot on his own. The book should have focused on JT Brannon or Laszlo or even the coroner in Virginia.

    Uniqueness of Story

    It's not a gem as it is, but it could easily be improved by refocusing the story onto its more interesting elements: is this a story about double agents in the CIA, or aliens? It’s best to pick one and go all in on it instead of oscillating between some sci fi and some undercover espionage.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    It's a CIA action story that could easily find an audience. It's nothing special, but it has a solid plot and solid characters, so it's worth considering.

    Brief

    Pete Novak is sent to investigate a situation in Europe that has gotten out of control and led to the deaths of several CIA operatives. Novak soon realizes, however, that the people responsible for these murders may be CIA as well. The CIA is housing a world changing technology in a program so shrouded in mystery that even those with top levels of clearance know nothing about it, and protecting that asset soon becomes a worldwide race to the death.

    What We Liked

    - This is an espionage adventure with high stakes, fast paced action scenes but also close up views into the personal lives and struggles of the characters. Readers see into the core values and beliefs of the characters, informing their actions and justifying the wild places that the plot goes.
    - As a film, this would be an exciting, thriller blockbuster with big explosive scenes and fun personal moments peppered in.
    - This would be great to develop into a television show based on the main characters and the various missions they complete. Viewers would tune in every week for the rush and excitement of battle scenes and new clues in the season-long mysteries.
    - Key points: Action Scenes; Multiple main characters; High-stakes plots; Complex characters; Subverts genre expectations

    Synopsis

    Tony Spencer is on vacation with his family after retiring early from the CIA when he gets attacked by a jellyfish and dies. His last words are a mysterious "Maria Dean." The coroner notices something odd about the death and realizes that it was an assassination and not a jellyfish accident, but keeps this information to himself the first time that the CIA investigates.

    Meanwhile, Laszlo Csegnerny wakes up from one of his frequent nightmares and realizes that he must again go on the lam. Laszlo has been haunted by vivid nightmares of demons his entire life, and reacts violently to them with screams and self-mutilation that when he was a prisoner at a secret government torture facility, he scared the torturers. Laszlo has recently discovered the location of what he believes to be the source of his demons and is able to evade authorities and make it from Germany to Canada without a trace. Once in Canada, he arms himself and meets up with two hippies. He soon realizes that the hippies are planning to murder him and goes along with them for the cover. Once they attack and Laszlo defeats them, he realizes that one of the hippies was actually a Russian sleeper agent and realizes that both the Russian and United States intelligence agencies are after him. However, he is still able to make it into the United States without tripping any major alarms.

    In Virginia, Pete Novak has been assigned a special case by his uncle, Doc Kriegel, the deputy department head of the CIA. Pete's wife, Sarah, is disappointed that he has to leave her for an unclear amount of time and is not reassured to learn that his bodyguard, JT Brannon, will not be going with him. JT was a special field agent until he took too many bullets on a mission, and would have been fired if Pete had not stood up for him. JT is indebted to Pete and would die for him. Despite this, Sarah does not like JT and considers him creepy. Nevertheless, Pete is soon off on a flight to Germany and JT works out extra protection for him behind the scenes.

    JT is a smart and seasoned agent and decides to investigate the recent death of Tony Spencer himself. He learns of Tony's mysterious last words and meets with the coroner who confirms that Tony's death was no accident. JT soon realizes that it was CIA men who were responsible for the recent string of CIA operative deaths, and manages to send a convert message to Pete in Germany. Some thugs try and chase JT off the road and he manages to evade them but realizes he must fake his own death. He arranges it with the help of his old friend to look like he was in a helicopter that got downed.

    In Germany, Pete meets with Wild Bill and learns about the case he was sent to investigate. Wild Bill tells him very little and Pete realizes that whatever this is it is bigger than he had initially thought. JT's people in Germany kidnap Pete for his own protection and deliver the information to him about the potential CIA responsibility in the deaths of the agents. While with JT's German allies, Wild Bill goes into a coma and Pete's hotel room is watched. Pete learns of JT's "death" and heads back to the States. He sets up a meeting with Doc Kriegel to inform him that they may have CIA agents who are killing off other CIA agents, and asks him about "Maria Dean," realizing that Tony Spencer had meant "meridian." Doc is furious that Pete somehow knows about this highly classified information but fills Pete in: extraterrestrial beings that are far more advanced than humans have been secretly helping the CIA on Earth. This help has primarily come from an alien they call "Mike," who is dying but wanted to help prepare the citizens of Earth against a possible threat to all life in the near future. They realize that Laszlo is heading to the base where Mike is located in Denver to kill it, believing the alien to be responsible for his nightmares, as Laszlo and one of the CIA operatives killed both had interesting DNA similar to Mike's DNA.

    Phil O'Donnell, a coworker of Pete's at the CIA, and one of the men behind the murders of the other operatives, watches the conversation covertly and decides he has to take out Pete. A few nights later, he and his men invade Pete's house not realizing that only his wife and kids are inside. Luckily, JT was also inside and saves Sarah and the kids, getting riddled with bullets in the process. Pete makes it to Denver just moments before Laszlo and manages to talk him down from attacking Mike, but then O'Donnell and his cohorts show up. O'Donnell would have been able to kill Pete if not for one of his men turning on him and agreeing to resign rather than kill Pete. Laszlo is saved and taken to a psychiatric facility, and JT ends up surviving his attack.

    About The Author

    Andrew Ceroni served a distinguished career as a Senior Supervisory Special Agent focused in Title 18 U.S.C. Chapter 37 espionage investigations as well as counterespionage and antiterrorism operations throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. He is a graduate of numerous intelligence and law enforcement training forums.