Return of the Deranged -- Revised

Book Cover



Dan Zane Smith

TaleFlick Pick!

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The Empowered, a secret organization seeking to control the world, seduces away brilliant teenagers with highly advanced computer skills. Parents hire private investigators to find their daughter. The detectives discover the Empowered's compound in the mountains and get captured. They escape.



Short Summary

The Empowered uses genetically modified organisms, GMO’s, to drive small farmers out of business and take over the lion’s share of producing food for the world. Brilliant teenagers disappear. Parents of one of the teenagers hire private investigators to find the missing person.

The detective firm obtains leads regarding the missing teenager, Lilly, and narrows the search to a compound in the mountains. The Empowered runs the facility, employs the missing teenagers, and captures Jim Shark and Matthew Brown. They escape after two attempts. Lilly is kidnapped and then saved.



Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest,Rebellion Against 'The One'

Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Matthew Brown

Age: 64

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Charming,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Modest,Obedient,Religious,Selfless,Skillful,Romantic,Strong Moral Code,Patriotic,Funny

Additional Character Details

Name: Gerald Montana

Age: Early 40s

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Confident,Criminal,Decisive,Engaging,Gracious,Greedy,Educated,Leader,Masculine,Villainous,Narcisstic,Power Hungry,Skillful,Secretive,Manipulative,Unapologetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Lilly Anderson

Age: Teenager

Gender: Female

Role: skeptic

Key Traits: Aspiring,Adventurous,Charming,Complex,Desperate,Empathetic,Insecure,Naive,Underdog,Modest,Obedient,Sexy,Sarcastic,Seductive,Secretive

Additional Character Details

Name: Jim Shark

Age: 30s

Gender: Male

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Modest,Sexy,Patriotic,Religious,Selfless,Skillful,Funny,Romantic,Sarcastic,Seductive,Sophisticated

Development Pitch

A secret organization is trying to take over the world. A faction of the organization, The Empowered, is using genetically modified organisms, GMO’s, to drive small farmers out of business and take over the lion’s share of producing food for the world. A couple of very bright teenagers disappear. A recently retired detective forms a private investigative firm and obtains a contract to work for Gerald Montana, a higher up in the Empowered. The parents of one of the teenagers that disappeared hire the firm to find the missing person. Leading characters include Matthew Brown, who has no use of his right upper extremity and only partial use of his left, a former branch manager with the state, Jim Shark, a former coworker, and Tanner Bronson, a convict. Intermixed with this conspiracy and detective drama is a love story combined with forgiveness and redemption.

About The Author

Dan Zane Smith is currently retired. In the past, he has been a branch manager, a Disability Claims Specialist, and a Disability Analyst for the state of Oregon for a total of over 16 years. He also worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for 12 years, and an education coordinator and teacher for nine years. He has a bachelor's degree in history from California State University at Northridge and has lived in New Mexico, Southern California, and Oregon. He is married and has three children.

Target Audiences

Age: 55+,35-54,18-34,13-17

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Oregon Christian romance

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Amazon for KDP and Outskirts Press for the original

Year Published: 2015

Hard Copy Available



978-1-4787-4717-8 (original Outskirts Press)




A young girl goes missing and the case goes unsolved for years. When the girls parents come into some money, they pay for an investigation into their daughters disappearance. A network of kidnapping is revealed from a nefarious organization promising a new life if you join them.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: GOOD

Premise: GOOD

Structure: GOOD

Theme: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

The book profile accurately reflects the book.

Draw of Story

The story starts with the disappearance of Lily and her parents becoming suspects. The case is never solved and she is never found. The beginning sets up a lot of questions to be answered which will keep the audience's interest.

Possible Drawbacks

The book goes off on tangents. A couple of people are kidnapped and kept prisoner. There is a rich man possibly killing people and a detective trying to solve the case. There is enough story surrounding Lilly's disappearance and her parents paying to open the investigation that the moving parts are unnecessary.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that a young girl has been kidnapped , but she is labeled as a runaway. Many years later, she resurfaces working for an organization that promised money, power and a beautiful life. I would watch the movie to see the story of what happens to Lilly.

Fanbase Potential

This could have a large fanbase as a mystery crime story. There may be too many storylines competing with each other. Building on the story of Lilly going missing is enough.

Awards Potential

This does not have awards potential. It is a murder mystery type of story. It would have mass audience appeal but is not exploring new frontiers on any subject. The character development is standard.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The story is unique because it is not a simply a person killing or kidnapping. There is an organization claiming they can give you power and wealth if you join them. There is a lure.

Lead Characters

The lead characters do not stand out. They are tools to push the story forward but are not particularly memorable or distinct.

Uniqueness of Story

This is an average story with some interesting elements. To improve the story, there could be more character development. This is more plot focused.

Possible Formats

Film - Streaming, Film - Indie, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation



This story is a consider because it has some interesting plot twists. The organization that is luring people with the promise of money and power is similar to Scientology. It would be timely to create a film that exposes a cult like group. The focus to transition to that and use the kidnapping as a backdrop.