Maintenance Man

Gary Turcotte

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA THRILLER

    Core Theme

    GOOD VS EVIL OVERCOMING MONSTER

    TIME PERIOD

    1980s & '90s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    SONS OF ANARCHY, RUN ALL NIGHT, UNCUT GEMS, MAYANS M.C.

    CHARACTER LIST

    GREG: 30-50S. LEAD. CALM AND FEARLESS.

    JIMMY: 20-50S. GREG’S LOYAL BROTHER.

    SANDY: 30-50S. OLD SCHOOLMATE OF GREG AND BRIEF LOVE INTEREST.

    KAREN: 20-50S. GREG’S EX-WIFE WHO BEGINS DATING THE LEADER OF A MOTORCYCLE GANG, RICK.

    Logline

    Greg a maintenance man had a simple life with a wife, a modest house and a dog. His wife fell in love with Rick, a motorcycle gang leader. His wife was now Rick's woman. Greg was harassed, and pursued by lowly pledges that wanted to move up in rank in the biker gang. The behavior cost Greg his job.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    New Hampshire 1995

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: KDP

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    After Greg's picture was pinned to the cork-board in the biker's clubhouse pledges and prospects studied his face and home and work locations. Greg never knew who was part of the biker gang. There was dirty tricks and embarrassing, uncomfortable situations. It cost him everything.

    Ending Description

    Greg moves far away to Alabama where he is hired as a maintenance man. The problem is that he's the only white man. They don't like Yankees. He has a few acts of bravery and wins their respect. Greg's wife and Rick were killed in a motorcycle accident. He is a suspect.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    9781730719998

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Other,Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Greg

    Age: 33

    Gender: Male

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Masculine,Modest,Selfless,Skillful,Confident,Engaging,Heroic,Honorable,Underdog,Lone Wolf,Strong Moral Code,Funny,Obedient,Flexible,Badass,Desperate,Villainous,Outspoken,Sarcastic,Insecure,Leader,Unapologetic,Manipulative,Sophisticated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Rick

    Age: 38

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Crazy,Criminal,Engaging,Heartthrob,Leader,Unapologetic,Manipulative,Sarcastic,Outspoken,Power Hungry,Blunt,Villainous,Masculine

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Chip

    Age: 29

    Gender: Male

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Charming,Confident,Complex,Crazy,Empathetic,Engaging,Leader,Unapologetic,Manipulative,Sophisticated,Sarcastic,Funny,Outspoken,Blunt,Uneducated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Hoss

    Age: 32

    Gender: Male

    Role: logical

    Key Traits: Badass,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Honorable,Leader,Lone Wolf,Strong Moral Code,Skillful,Selfless,Blunt,Uneducated,Masculine

    Development Pitch

    Although this story is nothing like Forest Gump it reminds me of it. It's character driven. Greg's wife falls in love with a biker. He's the target of any biker who's looking to make rank. He's harassed and loses everything. He's fired from his maintenance job. The only answer is to move far away. His serious situation turns around when he moves to Alabama. He's the only white man on large maintenance crew. No one likes him or wants to work with him. On the way to a job, Greg and a coworker Hoss, sees a car slow down and throw a pillowcase over a small bridge. Greg saves a kitten from pond. He was from up north and didn't know the pond may be filled with gators. The kitten is given to the kids at the complex. They fed him to a python. Greg sees the kitten being squeezed by the python. Greg grabs the snake and it wraps around his arm. Greg saves the kitten by biting the head off the snake. The kids make a video and Greg becomes know as Gator. No one wants to like the Yankee but he keeps getting into situations that show he's fearless. Soon exaggerated stories are shared by Chip and his friends, Gator is larger than life. They learn that he ran away from a norther biker gang. They tell stories about him being dragged behind the motorcycles. His wife and her biker lover are killed in an accident. He has to go back up north and prove he didn't have anything to do with their deaths. He goes to the funeral. Everyone in Alabama thinks he's a crazy cracker with a death wish.

    Genre

    THRILLER, MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA

    Brief

    When his wife leaves him for the leader of a biker gang, a mild-mannered maintenance man is cruelly hounded by other members of the gang. The harassment causes him to lose his job, and he gives in and moves across the country to get away and save his life. He quickly gains a reputation of being fearless with his new coworkers. His new life is disrupted again when his wife and her new boyfriend are killed in a traffic accident and he’s suspected of the crime.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: EXCELLENT

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    The novel has a strong hook that immediately pulls you into Greg’s story. He’s going through something awful, and it’s not something that most people will have any kind of familiarity with. This is intriguing straight away, and it leaves an audience wanting more. It is a little confusing at the outset to figure out what’s going on and why, and clarifying that a little will help to ground the reader better in this world. Once that’s established in the book, the story begins moving at a better pace and we’re allowed to connect more with the protagonist.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The writing itself could be a little clearer, especially in terms of dialogue. There are sometimes pages of dialogue in a row with none of it tagged to a specific character. This puts the onus on the reader to figure out who’s talking and keep track, which can be challenging. Presumably this is unintentional, but there are unsettling trends of misogyny, racism, and homophobia coming up throughout the book. These crop up through the story itself as well as character dialogue, and it makes the novel feel out-of-date and could make for an uncomfortable read for many. Nearly all the female characters are cheaters, housewives, or intend to somehow live off a man’s money. Sandy is perhaps the one exception, but she’s meek and she disappears by the final half of the novel. The racism arises with the fact that several of the Black characters Greg meets are illiterate, and some of his coworkers and the tenants feel like cliched stereotypes. The homophobia primarily comes up in dialogue, but it’s strangely harped on with Greg feeling the need to repeatedly defend his heterosexuality throughout. These are all small things in the scope of the story, but they add up to give the wrong impression of the book.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The premise is incredibly unique, and that’s the perfect hook to this. Biker gangs haven’t been seen too often on screen, and the ones that come to mind have very different stories and, most importantly, focuses. This story centers on a man targeted by the gang members, rather than the members themselves. This makes it original and interesting.

    Fanbase Potential

    Yes, the story is compelling and unique enough that it would draw in a large and loyal fanbase. This could be a must-see movie or limited series, the kind everyone talks about.

    Awards Potential

    Due to the fact that it’s a drama and inspired by true events, this could absolutely have traditional awards potential. It’s easy to imagine award categories like director, screenwriter, and actors being nominated for this kind of story.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    SONS OF ANARCHY, RUN ALL NIGHT, UNCUT GEMS, MAYANS M.C.

    What’s New About the Story

    This is expanded on below, but the story itself is very original. To make it stand out even more, addressing the pacing and the structure will go a long way. Right now, the story feels like it’s split into two distinct sections that have very little to do with one another. Once Greg leaves and moves to Alabama, it feels like we’ve started a brand new novel. He’s the only connective thread between the first (roughly) 300 pages and the last 200. The themes aren’t carried throughout, either, and the plot is fairly stagnant in the final 200 pages. Everything Greg is experiencing and everyone he’s meeting are certainly interesting once he gets to Alabama, but there’s nothing driving the story forward. Instead, it reads more like a slice of life suddenly. Finding a way to better connect the whole story and focusing more on a central arc that spans it all — with clear plot points — will help an adaptation to be more successful in this aspect.

    Lead Characters

    Greg is drawn into a battle that he didn’t start and has no interest in finishing, and his ability to keep a level head and be rational about it all makes him endlessly sympathetic. What he’s going through is horrific, and it’s the kind of thing that most people wouldn’t be able to imagine experiencing. Because of this, it’s important to also make him empathetic. The audience needs to feel connected to Greg. We need to root for him, which right now is difficult since his only goal is to passively survive (and he doesn’t even feel too invested in that). He needs a goal and a stronger motivation. He also likely needs more of a hand in what’s happening. He needs to make a choice early on, something that could potentially make his life worse — something that drastically impacts the plot and changes where it’s going. This only happens when he decides to move over halfway in. Though he shows some emotion about his failed marriage toward the beginning of the novel, that largely falls off by the end. Giving him something to work toward, as well as an emotionality that is shown through his actions, will help him to feel more well-rounded.

    Uniqueness of Story

    The premise itself makes this a rare gem, and this is especially true given it’s based on real events. We’ve seen gang narratives, and even biker gang narratives, but this is really a new twist on the whole genre. Greg’s career is used to the fullest extent as well, and it really rounds out how unique this is. This is the kind of story that proves that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and it does so with aplomb. Fleshing out the characters and ironing out the disjointed story will make this whole thing shine.

    Possible Formats

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

    Analyst Recommendation

    RECOMMEND

    Justification

    This is an exceedingly entertaining book, and the fact that it’s based on a true story is a big selling point. The action scenes are cinematic, and it’s easy to envision almost everything on the page translating well on the screen. From Greg saving kittens to being chased by bikers to all the crazy residents he runs into at his job, there’s so much happening in this that will pop visually — plus keep an audience on the edge of their seats. The concerns with characterization and pacing could be easily fixed in an adaptation, and that shouldn’t hold back the possibility of it being adapted in the slightest. The other issues identified are all with the writing, which won’t be a problem when it’s transmuted into a script. With stronger characters and a clearer story arc, this is a formidable project.

    Brief

    When his wife runs off with the leader of a biker gang, a mild-mannered maintenance man thinks that’s the last he’ll hear about the end of his marriage. The new boyfriend is jealous, though, and sets loose his cronies to scare the man 24/7. He’s forced to leave the state after the harassment causes him to lose his job, and he starts a brand new life to protect those he cares about.

    What We Liked

    The story presented in the novel is unique and compelling, and it’s the kind of original story that proves that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Inspired by real events, the plot that unfolds in these pages would make for a great adaptation to the screen thanks to a surplus of memorable moments and a grounded, intriguing protagonist. With thrills that include motorcycle gangs and vicious snakes alike, there’s a little something for everyone which will summon a wide audience to tune in or line up at the box office.

    Film: An adaptation of the novel would make for a thrilling film that effortlessly transitions from that thriller genre to heartfelt drama and even several high-octane action scenes. The narrative on the page could be easily fitted to a two hour feature, and it would make for a satisfying and succinct glimpse into the protagonist’s life. It also has shades of a revenge story to it, which is always a popular genre at the box office. This is a protagonist that many actors would love to sink their teeth into, too, as he has a contained and introspective sort of anger. He’s complex and has many layers, and he’s just as believable when he saves a cat as when he finally fights back against the bikers.

    TV: There are already two fairly well-known shows about biker gangs on TV, so an audience would
    be familiar with the world and what it entails. There’s clearly a thirst for this kind of story. What sets this one apart is that it focuses on the man hounded by the bikers, casing them as the villains. He constantly tries to turn the cheek, and this develops him into a protagonist that an audience would want to follow from episode to episode. Due to the brevity of the plot and the fact that it’s wrapped up by the end of the novel, this would be very well-suited to a limited series. That would give room to breathe for supporting characters and subplots that surround Greg’s life.

    Key points:
    1. Original premise
    2. Unique protagonist career
    3. Thriller elements
    4. Memorable scenes
    5. Relatively happy ending for the protagonist

    Synopsis

    GREG lives alone with his dog ever since his wife KAREN left him for RICK, the leader of a notorious motorcycle gang. Greg is upset, but he just wants to get the divorce finalized and move on. However, Rick’s making that impossible by having the BIKERS in his gang terrorize Rick every chance they get. They drive by the house and rev their engines all hours of the day, and they begin to threaten his COWORKERS. Greg is a maintenance man for apartment complexes, and they’re supposed to work in teams of two. Suddenly, no one wants to work with him anymore. The chapter Rick leads is of a nationwide gang with quite a far reach, so Greg doesn’t even feel he can go to the police. So far, he’s been turning a blind eye, and he refuses to fight them. He and his brother JIMMY buy guns just in case, but word of that gets back to Rick and the attacks escalate. Bottles with bullets in them are now being thrown at Greg’s house, alarming his neighbors. He’s accosted in parking lots and followed on the highway, where BIKERS try to drive him off the road and he’s forced to throw beer bottles at them to escape.

    What’s worse, Karen insists on still coming in and out of the house with the dog as if she still lives there.

    On the bright side, he reconnects with SANDY, a divorcee and single mother he went to high school with. He feels like he’s finally healing and moving on. However, the wedge between Greg and his coworkers is being driven in deeper, and they’ve begun to bully him, too. This makes his BOSS begin to reconsider his employment, and he starts writing Greg up every chance he gets.
    Greg’s manager KENNY tries to stand up for him. Greg was forced to sell his car when Karen left to pay off hers, and he’s in a tight spot with trying to sell the house. A FRIEND of Greg’s tells him the bikers just want him to fight back once, and they’ll purposely lose to him. He tries to fight the next TWO BIKERS who come to throw a bottle at his house, but they beat him up. Greg is fired for his accidental involvement with the bikers, as it’s hurting his work. Kenny sets him up with a job in Alabama. Greg reaches out to Sandy to talk things through, but she tells him she was warned to stay away from Greg for the safety of her children. He decides to leave, knowing Jimmy and their MOM will be safer with him gone. In Alabama, Greg is surprised to learn he’s the only white maintenance man on an otherwise Black crew in a predominantly Black housing complex.

    He meets CHIP, a coworker who’s kind but underperforming. Chip gives everyone nicknames, and Greg joins the ranks as “Gator” after he jumps into a pond filled with the things to save a kitten someone was trying to drown. Soon after, he saves the same kitten from a resident’s python which has gotten loose. He fights the snake and tears its head off, and everyone is shocked by how fearless he is. Rumors begin to circulate about why he’s in Alabama, and many of his coworkers and even the residents start to think he must be running from something awful he did. He tries to tell them the truth, but it sounds just as outlandish. Police come to the apartment complex looking for Greg, and Greg learns that Karen and Rick were killed when someone ran them off the road. The detectives clear him after extensive questioning and a lie detector test, but the police back home also have questions when he flies back for Karen’s funeral. He can prove he wasn’t there when it happened. Unexpectedly, he’ll get Karen’s life insurance and the house since they were still married on paper. Karen’s BROTHER and MOTHER try to sue him for both, but Greg receives a letter Karen sent before her death about how she wanted to get back together. The suit against him is dropped.

    About The Author

    I grew up in Dover New Hampshire and moved to a bordering city, Rochester New Hampshire. I made my living as a building contractor for 34 years. I semi retired at 55 years old. Being a creative person I wrote 33 books and self published them. They are on Amazon and Kindle, and soon to become Audio books. I write mostly contemporary fiction. I have written 5 Mafia books, 2 serial killer books, 4 Fortune teller books, 3 books about a psychologist and her patients. 2 Sci-fi books, and many more.