Coastside Detectives The Grand View

Matthew F O'Malley

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION DETECTIVE MYSTERY SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    DETECTIVE INVESTIGATION, ART SMUGGLERS

    TIME PERIOD

    2000s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE, MALTESE FALCON, CHINATOWN

    CHARACTER LIST

    MIKE MASON. 40S. LEAD PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR. HARDEN. CYNICAL, EMPATHETIC. LOYAL

    LAURA GRANDVIEWER. 30S. ANTAGONIST. CHARMING. GORGEOUS, RICH, MASON’S CLIENT.

    JOE BALLARD. 55. FRIENDLY AND LOYAL. OWNER OF THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR AGENCY WHERE MASON WORKS.

    KELLY. 20S. PROSTITUTE FROM TENDERLOIN. FRIENDLY. SHE HELPS MASON DOING SURVEILLANCE.

    HAMID AFSAR. PERSIAN. ART GALLERY OWNER. MASON INVESTIGATES HIM AT LAURA'S REQUEST.

    RAY FOSTER. EX-MARINE. ART SMUGGLER. HE TRIED TO GET RID OF THE INVESTIGATORS.

    Logline

    The views of San Francisco, so well known from dozens of film noir tales and classic novels, are the backdrop to a tale rooted in the smart-bombed skyline of present-day Baghdad, with results in San Francisco just as deadly.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    San Francisco and the coast

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Authorhouse

    Year Published: 2011

    Starting Description

    Detective Mike Mason now lives in Pacifica, a small coastal town just south of San Francisco, but is drawn back to the rough streets of the city's Tenderloin District by a new client, Laura Grandviewer, who is as beautiful as she is untrustworthy.

    Ending Description

    Lies and half-truths send Mike upon a crooked path, and before he can unsnarl all of the loose ends Laura has set waving in the criminal winds, a growing body count will work to unnerve this hardened detective and end in a climactic splash of blood..

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity,Extreme Violence

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Mike Mason

    Age: 40's

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Empathetic,Decisive,Confident,Adventurous,Engaging,Seductive,Strong Moral Code,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Laura Grandviewer

    Age: 40's

    Gender: Female

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Complex,Confident,Criminal,Sexy,Engaging,Skillful,Seductive,Sophisticated,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Joe Ballard

    Age: late 60's

    Gender: Male

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Masculine,Confident,Blunt,Decisive,Faithful,Outspoken,Honorable,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    The Coastside Detectives series harkens back to unforgettable movies like the Maltese Falcon and Chinatown, and television shows such as the Rockford Files and Breaking Bad, with extraordinary situations in an ever-expanding story-line. What starts out as a simple investigation in the first book, is just a dangling string to an enormous ball of intertwined mysteries. There are multiple and diverse characters that are developed over the series and who at various moments take center stage and feed into the story. The main character himself, Mike Mason, evolves as his emotions and personal history are exposed over time. There is also an arch-villain, a Professor Moriarty for the Sherlock Holmes fans, that slowly reveals himself over the current story-line while in the sixth book that I am currently working on, Mike Mason’s rag-tag group of friends, begin to work as a team to develop a James Bondesque working man’s car to help our character in this mystery adventure. I am now at the point in the series, where the main characters are firmly established, and although I have bits and pieces of drafts for another dozen or so books, there are opportunities for the story-line to go into a myriad of directions as needed. This series has been a hit at the L.A. Neo Noir Novel, Film and Script Festival, and I am sure it will be a hit when exposed to a larger audience.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, THRILLER, MATURE AUDIENCE

    Brief

    Mike Mason and Joe Ballard are business partners in a private investigator agency in San Francisco. They have two offices: one in a good area (Marina on Union Street) and the other in a bad area (Tenderloin District). Laura Grandviewer, a new client, hires Mike to find a man she had been engaged with but was abandoned without explanation. Mike is drawn into a web of lies and half-truths, uncovering international smugglers, art dealers, and murders.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, it is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    At first glance, Laura hired Mason to track down a man she was engaged in and who left her without explanation. Next, we learn that Laura is lying: she isn't who she says she is. The mystery around her is fascinating and follows in a thriller full of fast action.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The story plants false clues to steer the audience in the wrong direction, but Mike Mason is constantly able to decipher what is about to happen since it is told in the first person. As the story progresses, it becomes a bit clunky and predictable, letting the momentum slow down after the twists. Adding more unexpected elements might be a good way to shake things up.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    This is a modern noir detective adventure, told in the first person, with diverse characters and an intriguing plot. The mystery around Laura is exciting and follows in a thriller full of fast action. The plot of art smugglers from the Middle East involving a network of dealers is also fascinating.

    Fanbase Potential

    There is the potential to build a fanbase around the main character since the series features more books, like Sherlock Holmes or Phillip Marlowe. The narrative around the Mike Mason cases allows different perspectives to emerge.

    Awards Potential

    It’s rare to see crime films or detective story thrillers receiving attention in the Awards. They’re usually hybrids, considered dramas. However, mysteries and especially film noirs tend to do particularly well in the artistic performance categories (acting, writing, and directing).

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE, MALTESE FALCON, CHINATOWN

    What’s New About the Story

    It’s a detective story told in the first person, full of small details about the real-life of a private investigator. Mike Mason navigates the complexities of a criminal operation as his emotions and past come to light. The plot of art smugglers from the Middle East involving a network of dealers is also compelling and worth exploring in more depth.

    Lead Characters

    The characters are authentic as they go about their daily activities, trying to piece together the clues as they come across them. Mike Mason is an old-fashioned detective set in the modern world, empathetic and somewhat cynical, which adds a unique flavor to his character. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Laura, and she is a fascinating antagonist, quite like a James Bond femme fatale villain.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Although this is a classic detective narrative, the plot of art smugglers from the Middle East involving a network of dealers is interesting and worth exploring in more depth, such as looking at transaction details. Also, the characters and their motivations could be more fully develop; it would be interesting to know more about Laura’s background.

    Possible Formats

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

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    This story has an intriguing plot, good characters, and great potential for development. Yet, it needs improvement in how it subverts the expectations of the audience. While the story plants false clues, Mike Mason constantly hints at what will happen, preventing the reader from drawing its own conclusions. It becomes predictable since the main character is always guiding far too obviously towards a certain outcome.

    Tips for Improvement

    Adding more unexpected elements or subplots might be a good way to shake things up, bringing depth to Laura's story, for example. It would also be interesting exploring subtle foreshadowing to improve the dramatic tension throughout the narrative.

    Brief

    Mike Mason and Joe Ballard are business partners in a private investigator agency in San Francisco. They have two offices: one in a good area (Marina on Union Street) and the other in a bad area (Tenderloin District). Laura Grandviewer, a new client, hires Mason to find a man with whom she had been engaged, but was abandoned without explanation. Mason is drawn into a web of lies and half-truths, uncovering international smugglers, art dealers, and murders. As Mason works to meet the demands of his client, he seeks to discover the truth behind her false identity at the same time he finds himself attracted to her beauty.

    What We Liked

    This is a modern noir detective adventure, told in the first person, with various characters and an intriguing plot. The mystery around Laura is exciting and follows in a thriller full of fast action. The plot of art smugglers from the Middle East involving a network of dealers is also fascinating. The characters and places are well described, and there are great dialogue lines.

    Film: As a movie, the story offers great insight into the real-life of a private investigator, and there are good thrills and action scenes to explore. As Mason goes back and forth between the city and the quiet beauty of his relatively new home, it's interesting to see how he balances his time between the two different scenarios and dealing with a variety of unique characters who take center stage in the story.

    TV: For a TV series, this narrative can be developed over several episodes, each focusing on a different character or a case that Mike Mason has been working on. Alternatively, this story could be treated as a whole season (there are more books in the series to become several seasons). There are also good action-packed scenes to explore.

    Key points:
    1. Plot twists
    2. Murder mystery
    3. Pretty and untrustworthy female antagonist
    4. International art smugglers
    5. Low budget

    Synopsis

    Joe Ballard manages a private detective agency started by his father. In his semi-retired state, he'd made Mike Mason, a longtime employee and friend, his business partner. Mike now ran the Pacifica branch, a wealthy area, unlike the Tenderloin District where he'd first worked, and their office is still located.

    A mysterious phone call led Mike to an address in the Shard, a tower with spectacular views over Russia Hill and San Francisco. Laura Grandviewer, a new client, lives there. She hires Mike to find a man called Hamid and photograph him over the next few days. Laura tells Mike that they had been engaged, but he had left her without explanation. One of the strangest things about the assignment was she could not tell the man's last name. Mike found it suspicious, but she was willing to pay, she was gorgeous, and something about her attracted him.

    He started the investigation. To assist him in the case, Mike hires Steve, a part-time nerd employee, and Kelly, a street girl, for surveillance help and soon discovers that Hamid owned an art gallery. As Mike speaks with Joe on the phone at a restaurant, he tells him that he is watching Hamid. He didn't notice the man sitting right behind him. When Mike confronts Hamid at his art gallery, things got shaken. As soon as Mike tells Laura, she calls him “idiot.” It seems odd.

    Mike got a call from the hospital: someone had beaten Joe. It's unclear who did it. The same thing happened to Laura, and when Mike confronts her, she admits her fake identity and gives him her real name: Laura Naumann. She claims to be a reporter for the Associated Press, tracking smuggled goods out of Iraq's museums. According to her, Ray Foster caused her bruises.

    While pursuing Rays, he discovers goods and statues as well as valuable artifacts in his warehouse. He beats Ray as an alert. Mike later discovered that Laura lied again and gave him the name of someone else. She is surrounded by mystery.

    He watches the news on TV and sees that Hamid was found dead in his apartment. A tax fraud investigation was underway. He learns later that Kelly accidentally killed Hamid, and she was arrested. After that, Laura calls Mike to come over to her apartment: she tells him Ray attempted to rape her there, and she killed him in the bathroom. Mike doesn't want to help her hide the body, so she hits him with a bottle of gin.

    A fast-action sequence follows, starting with bus chasing, car racing, and cross-fire in the streets. Finally, Laura, who dealt with stolen goods from the Middle Eaters, tried to escape in Ray's private plane. Mike fire four shots, and two got her in the chest.

    About The Author

    Matthew O'Malley was born and raised in San Francisco and is a current resident of Pacifica, California. The Grand View is his first novel in the Coastside Detective series and received the coveted “Best Iconic Neo Noir Novel Award” at the L.A. Neo Noir Novel Film and Script Festival 2019. He is also the author of a short story series, Tales for Sale, and has written under the pen name Joe Ballard.