Deadly Doubloons

Charlie Hudson

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION SUSPENSE / THRILLER ADVENTURE

    Core Theme

    GOOD VS EVIL

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    TOMB RAIDER, THE DEEP

    CHARACTER LIST

    • CHRIS: 30S. LEAD. A BRAVE AND HEADSTRONG PROFESSIONAL DIVER.

    • LIONEL: 40S. ANTAGONIST. MANIPULATIVE AND CRUEL, CHRIS IS SENT TO KEEP AN EYE ON HIM DURING THE TREASURE HUNTING EXPEDITION.

    • JEFF: 30S. CREWMAN ON THE TREASURE HUNTING BOAT, CHRIS’S LOVE INTEREST.

    • MAC: 40S. CAPTAIN OF THE BOAT AND OWNER OF THE TREASURE HUNTING COMPANY.

    • MELANIE: 30S. CHRIS’S BEST FRIEND, HER AUNT IS MARRIED TO LIONEL.

    • GERRY: 50S. ANOTHER PASSENGER ABOARD THE BOAT, CHRIS’S FRIEND DURING THE VOYAGE.

    Logline

    Plunge into the world of a kick-butt underwater investigator, a shipwreck, a suave man who hides a sinister obsession, and perhaps some pirate treasure.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54

    Target Gender: Female Leaning,Male Leaning

    Setting

    Opens in Texas; moves to Florida and the Bahamas

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: CreateSpace

    Year Published: 2012

    Starting Description

    Chris Green, age 32, is in Galveston at a marina outfitting an older yacht she intends to live on and work from. She left Florida after her sister's murder and involvement in another case of murder and underwater adventure. Not certain of what to do next, she is drawn into underwater investigating.

    Ending Description

    Chris agreed to sign on to a treasure hunting expedition to try to discover the truth about one of the passengers. He's married to the mother of a friend and is twice widowed. Despite his status as a banker and debonair facade, he is an embezzler and a murderer.

    Group Specific

    Scuba and adventure fans

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    9781478197768

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Other

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Chris Green (Christine)

    Age: 32

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Confident,Skillful,Engaging

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Lionel Wycoff

    Age: Forties

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Charming,Greedy,Villainous,Narcisstic,Secretive,Sophisticated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Rory McFadden

    Age: Forties

    Gender: Female

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Confident,Engaging,Skillful,Masculine

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    If you have a taste for an intriguing story and a thirst for underwater action, plunge into Deadly Doubloons.Chris Green isn’t certain of what she plans to do once she finishes customizing the Viking Motor Yacht that will be her home for at least a while. Return to being a professional scuba instructor? Sign on as a boat captain somewhere, or….? She's drifted away from tumultuous events in South Florida, seeking a new direction and is drawn into the world of underwater investigation by an acquaintance who owns a marine insurance company. An unexpected invitation from an old Army friend brings her to Vero Beach, but a plea for help is wrapped within the invitation. The friend is disturbed about the man who has married her favorite aunt. While others sympathize with the accidental deaths of his two previous wives, the niece is certain his past may not be what it seems. A successful banker, he's also a partner in an underwater salvage business that takes clients to work on selected shipwrecks in the Bahamas. Chris reluctantly agrees to join one of the week-long treasure hunting expeditions to see if she can learn more about him. What neither woman knows is the depth of secrets he has to protect; secrets he will protect at any cost. Rory McFadden, the almost larger-than-life owner of the salvage company, has no idea his probable discovery of a Spanish Galleon he's been searching for years will sign all their death warrants.

    Genre

    ACTION, THRILLER

    Brief

    A professional diver becomes a freelance marine insurance investigator. Upon hearing of her career change, a longtime friend asks for her help investigating her aunt’s conniving husband. She agrees to go on a treasure hunting expedition to try to learn more about him. He is more ruthless than anyone expected, and she has to fight her life and save everyone aboard the boat.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: EXCELLENT

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, it does. The only suggestion would be to lean more into the book’s thriller aspects in the profile, as it’s a good selling point.

    Draw of Story

    The settings are truly unique, from Chris’s super yacht to the boat they take out on the expedition to, of course, the shipwreck. This is a world that most people don’t have much experience with, and it’s originality is a huge draw. Chris is also so smart and competent, something that other characters clearly appreciate about her. She’s a great female character.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The cause and effect logic within both the plot and the character motivations is sometimes a bit shaky. For instance, Chris only becomes a freelance investigator so that Melanie can learn that and then ask for her help. The scenes of her with Nick’s team are interesting, but they’re not necessary to the plot as just her diving experience would be enough for Melanie to engage her services. Perhaps she could spend more time with his team on the page, or use something from her time with them to win against Lionel in the end. Lionel makes the jump to deciding he has to kill everyone and sink the boat very quickly. It’s not clear why he thinks he quite needs to go that far, or why he suddenly wants to kill Mac and end their profitable partnership. Because his logic is murky, it feels almost comical when he comes to the decision.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The treasure hunting angle is a huge hook, because it’s so unique. A group of people diving down to a shipwreck in the Bahamas is, frankly, cool. It’s not something that most audiences would be familiar with, much less ever get to do in their lives. It’s an instant draw into the story, and it’s easy to see a trailer selling this feature.

    Fanbase Potential

    This could be really successful, and there’s no reason it couldn’t have the same draw as other action-adventure media. This is a genre that appeals to a big audience, especially since there are thriller elements in here, too.

    Awards Potential

    Because of the genre, it’s unlikely this would have awards potential.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    TOMB RAIDER, THE DEEP

    What’s New About the Story

    The settings and Chris as the lead are both very original, and strong selling points. The climax could be strengthened, as it feels rushed and lackluster. Lionel suddenly decides to kill everyone onboard the boat, and then he immediately puts his plans into action. Drawing this out would help the plot stand out more. As it is, he manages to kill two people onboard before Chris immediately takes him out. This is satisfying, but it’s not very dramatic. Injecting more mystery could really help, too. There’s not a mystery to be solved right now, besides figuring out how horrible Lionel is. That answer is given to the audience very early by Lionel himself.

    Lead Characters

    Chris is a fun, clever woman who’s instantly engaging. She’s easy to root for, and she’s a strong female protagonist which is always great to see. She also has a fascinating life and a unique job, which doesn’t hurt. Who doesn’t want to be badass, ex-army diver going on a treasure hunt? Chris is total wish fulfillment, in the best way. Lionel is less interesting, but his creepiness is instantly clear on the page. His sociopathy becomes more obvious as the story goes on, too.

    Uniqueness of Story

    The setting and premise make it rare and exciting.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    This is a unique premise in a unique place, and it’s very marketable. It would be a very expensive film to shoot due to the underwater scenes and the scale of shipwreck sets, but it’s easy to see Chris being the next great action hero. The book even sets itself up for a sequel, so why not a series of films? With the right person cast as Chris, and more mystery in the plot, this could be a successful adaptation.

    Brief

    A professional diver takes a break from living aboard her new super yacht and moonlighting as an insurance investigator to help a friend, landing her in the Bahamas with a boat full of treasure hunters. With a shipwreck underwater and a potential killer on deck, she’ll have to utilize all her skills to stay afloat — and alive.

    What We Liked

    - Chris is a fun, clever character who’s instantly engaging. She’s easy to root for, and she’s a strong female protagonist who could easily lead a film, and even a series of sequels. Who doesn’t want to be badass, ex-army diver going on a treasure hunt, after all? The settings are so unique, and an audience would love to see themselves searching a shipwreck for gold. Chris goes on an adventure that any audience would love to tag along on.
    - This is the first entry in a series of adventure films starring Chris, and there’d be no shortage of marine-based mysteries for her to solve. Her skillset is perfectly adaptable to emulate Lara Croft, meaning she can exist in multiple settings and worlds easily. The unique setting in the water makes it even more of a draw, as these aren’t locations that have been seen often onscreen.
    - It’s easy to see Chris as a Miss Fisher type protagonist leading a show. Her work as an insurance investigator could be the focus, with different cases week to week. Alternatively, she could be exploring a different shipwreck each season for the main arc. There’s a lot of plot ideas to mine from when it comes to Chris’s unique life, and the revolving cast of characters would doubtless be a fun assortment.
    - Key points: Strong female lead; Diverse cast; Unique locations; Commercial genre; Potential for sequels

    Synopsis

    Professional diver CHRIS GREEN has been renovating a super yacht to be her new home for the time being. Between consulting on a movie and selling her SISTER’s house following her tragic murder, Chris has the funds to remain between jobs for a little while. She’s currently in Galveston, Texas, and NICK, a friend from her mixed martial arts class, asks for her help. He’s an insurance investigator, and one of his workers needs some time off. Chris steps in to help the team on a grisly case where they have to find a recently sunken boat in the Gulf as well as the two bodies inside of it. So impressed with her work in the few weeks she helps out, Nick suggests Chris become a freelance investigator as she doesn’t know what her next career path will be. She takes off on her yacht from Texas to Florida to see her good friend and old Army buddy, MELANIE.

    Because of her new career as an investigator, Melanie asks for Chris’s help. She’s suspicious of her AUNT RITA’s husband LIONEL. Lionel is by all accounts charming and kind, but since their marriage he seems to be encouraging Rita to drink heavily and he’s taken over all her financial assets. Melanie hired a private investigator who discovered both of Lionel previous wives died of accidents involving alcohol. Lionel goes treasure hunting in the Bahamas every year, where he also happens to have only one offshore account that’s on the books. He’s invested in the company, partially funding its owner CAPTAIN MCFADDEN (or MAC), and the next trip is coming up. Melanie pays Chris’s way to join as a passenger, which the expeditions allow. Meanwhile, Lionel kills a COWORKER who figures out that he is embezzling, and makes the man’s death look like an accident. News of the man’s death on Lionel’s own boat makes Melanie and even Chris more suspicious.

    Chris goes to the Bahamas for the treasure hunt, and she meets Mac and crew members JEFF, JAVI, BOBBY, and newcomer MEL. Javi and Jeff both go way back with Mac, as well as the other passengers besides Chris: Lionel, GERRY, and TYLER. JAMES is there as a representative of the Bahamian government, and he’ll liaise with both parties over turning in valuable items they find in the shipwreck below them. Mac tells Lionel that he finally found an old Spanish ship they’ve been searching for, and there’s even the potential for a sunken pirate ship to be near it. It’s close to where they’re diving now, but Mac insists they have to finish the current exploration before they can push through all the proper paperwork and permits for what’s likely a much more profitable dive. They dive in teams, exploring the wreck in a methodical way so they can comb all of it. Chris finds herself having fun, even if she doesn’t get much time to snoop on Lionel. She grows close to Gerry, the only other woman on the ship, and she shares an attraction with Jeff, her dive partner. When they’re coming up for a break one day, Chris thinks she sees Lionel hide gold from the wreck in his pocket.

    She’s not the only one who sees, and Mel confronts Lionel about it in private that night. The two are dive partners, and Mel hopes that Lionel can show him the ropes on how to steal from wrecks and sell it off without Mac, the government, or anyone else taking a cut. Lionel is furious, and he begins to plot how to dispose of the other man. Meanwhile Gerry has opened up to Chris about not liking or trusting Lionel, and she inadvertently reveals that Lionel has definitely lied at least once to them about how one of his wives died. Lionel messes with Mel’s dive equipment and ensures they leave the wreck later than everyone else. This gives him time to drown Mel before bringing his body to the surface and claiming he found him that way. Neither Mac, James, nor the Coast Guard suspect Lionel of wrongdoing, but Chris of course does. They have to take port for a day afterward, and Tyler decides to leave, unnerved by the death. Jeff shares that he’s never trusted Lionel and thinks he’s stealing from Mac. Chris wants to tell him everything, but she can’t risk it. They sleep together, and the next day she runs into Lionel in town with a BANKER who calls him “Thomas.” Chris finds the banker again later, and learns more about Lionel’s invented other identity.

    Lionel is growing suspicious of Chris, knowing that Melanie doesn’t like him. He learns she freelances as an investigator, and he puts it together that she must be there on behalf of Melanie. Lionel needs to ditch his current identity, and fast. His plan had been to kill Rita like his other wives, but he decides to give up her money and instead take all possible earnings from the new Spanish wreck to fund his new life. To do so, he’ll have to kill Mac, Javi, and Jeff, as they’re the only ones who know about it. The easiest way to do this is to take out the entire boat and fake his own death alongside the real deaths of the others. He plans to kill some of them and leave everyone else on a burning ship with no lifeboats or radio, and he kills Mac before beginning to light the fires. Chris wakes up in the middle of the night and catches Lionel in the act of trying to alight the boat. He shoots at her, and, acting on instinct, she uses the fire extinguisher she grabbed to bash him over the head. He dies, meaning she saves everyone else onboard. Jeff tells her about the Spanish ship, and that most of the remaining crew (and Gerry) are going to start going after it. She’s welcome to join them on the treasure hunt, if she wants to come.

    About The Author

    Charlie Hudson, a retired Army officer, is an avid recreational scuba diver who has authored several scuba-themed novels and women’s fiction as well as non-fiction books. Her twenty-two year Army career included a number of assignments where she was the “first female” such as the first female officer assigned to the 19th Maintenance Battalion in Giessen, Germany and the first maintenance company commander in the history of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She later left a corporate career as a defense services contractor and technical writer when she and her husband, also a retired Army officer, relocated to South Florida. He is now a scuba instructor/photographer and Charlie focuses on her writing.