Porno Valley

Philip Elliott

Book Cover

GENRE

COMEDY CRIME DETECTIVE MYSTERY SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    ASPIRATION

    TIME PERIOD

    1980s & '90s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    PULP FICTION, BOOGIE NIGHTS, THE NICE GUYS

    CHARACTER LIST

    MICKEY O'ROURKE (M/78) -- COMPASSIONATE, WITTY, WIDOWER AND PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR WHO TAKES ON A FINAL CASE BEFORE RETIREMENT THAT TASKS HIM WITH TRACKING DOWN A PORN STAR THAT HAS GONE MISSING.

    RICHIE (M/20S) -- HEROIN JUNKIE AND NEWLYWED HUSBAND OF ALABAMA WHO HEADS TO LA IN SEARCH OF BIGGER SCORES AND WHO DREAMS OF A LIFE OF RICHES.

    ALABAMA (F/20S) -- HEROIN JUNKIE WIFE OF RICHIE WHO RECOGNIZES HER GROWING DEPENDENCY AND WHO LONGS FOR A LIFE OFF OF DRUGS.

    JEFFREY STROKES (M/30S) -- MASSIVELY-ENDOWED PORN STAR AND CONSTANT STONER WHO DREAMS OF A SLOW-GOING LIFE ON THE BEACH, AWAY FROM LA.

    JEMEKA (F/20S) -- COMPTON-BASED HAIR STYLIST WHO TURNS TO SELLING DRUGS TO HURDLE MAJOR FINANCIAL BURDENS AND WHOSE INFLUENCE RAPIDLY GROWS.

    RAY RAY (M/20S) -- JEMEKA'S LESS SOPHISTICATED AND MORE SOFT-EDGED BOYFRIEND WHO COMES TO DISAPPROVE OF HER GROWING CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE.

    Logline

    In LA during years 1998-2000 three plotlines intersect to deadly consequence: A 78-year-old PI investigates the disappearance of a porn star, a young Compton woman finds herself caught between danger and opportunity, and two junkie newlyweds return to LA in search of the perfect score.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Los Angeles

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Into the Void

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    In 2000, 78-year-old PI Mickey O'Rourke begins his final case tracking down missing porn star Jeffrey Strokes. In 1998, Jemeka Johnson saves her boyfriend's life during a drug deal gone bad. In 1999, junkie newlyweds Richie and Alabama rob a diner and decide to return to LA seeking a bigger score.

    Ending Description

    In 1999, Richie and Alabama meet a grizzly end at the hands of Jemeka's right-hand man. Jemeka has LA drug lord Marsellus killed next so she can replace him at the top. In 2000, Mickey explains to his client what happened to Jeffrey Strokes and the junkie newlyweds Jeffrey got mixed up with.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1-9990868-3-1

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse,Sexual Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Rags to Riches,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Mickey O'Rourke

    Age: 78

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Modest,Selfless,Skillful,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Richie

    Age: 25

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aspiring,Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Crazy,Criminal,Decisive,Desperate,Engaging,Greedy,Insecure,Masculine,Underdog,Uneducated,Blunt,Outspoken,Funny,Sarcastic,Manipulative,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Alabama

    Age: 23

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Clumsy,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Insecure,Naive,Modest,Uneducated,Obedient,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jemeka

    Age: 26

    Gender: Female

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Greedy,Leader,Underdog,Villainous,Uneducated,Blunt,Power Hungry,Outspoken,Skillful,Visionary,Secretive,Unapologetic

    Development Pitch

    Set in LA during years 1998-2000 over plotlines that intersect, PORNO VALLEY is a darkly comic mystery with diverse cast of complex characters, from the about-to-retire PI searching for a missing porn star to East Compton-born, power-hungry Jemeka Johnson eager to escape poverty and junkie newlyweds Richie and Alabama returned to LA after robbing diners along the coast. It's a story about greed and desperation set to the backdrop of an LA rapidly succumbing to increasingly individualistic and alienating capitalism stripping the city of its culture and widening the gap between rich and poor. In this City of Angels, the line between the American Dream and Nightmare is wafer-thin. With its mix of thrills and chills, darkness and comedy, and eclectic characters, a film adaptation of PORNO VALLEY would be a crowd-pleasing summer blockbuster. Comparable titles: BOOGIE NIGHTS, PULP FICTION, THE NICE GUYS, GET SHORTY, TRAINSPOTTING. A TV series offers the best adaptation potential as the multiple intricate plotlines/timelines and large cast of characters offer huge potential to flesh out a season that builds in suspense to an exciting finale as the plotlines increasingly come together, and offers opportunity for new characters and plotlines to be introduced. Season two could focus on the author's previous award-winning novel, NOBODY MOVE, set in the same world as PORNO VALLEY and including some of the same characters. Season three: forthcoming novel MURDER MOUNTAIN.

    Genre

    SUSPENSE, THRILLER, ROMANCE

    Brief

    Three stories intersect in surprising ways-- In the year 2000, a 78-year-old PI searches for a missing porn star in his final case. In 1999, a pair of heroin junkies and small-time robbers grow increasingly desperate for drugs and come to LA in search of bigger scores. And in 1998, a hair salon employee and her boyfriend turn to selling drugs when faced with significant financial struggle.

    Overall Rating

    EXCELLENT

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: EXCELLENT

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The profile is an accurate reflection. However, it is questionable if it is advisable to reveal the ending under the "Short Summary" heading.

    Draw of Story

    The author has a deft hand in acclimating his audience to the world of the story. He really places you right in the thick of LA along with his characters. You can feel, smell, and hear the world of the story, which pairs nicely with the specific, rather memorable visuals.

    Possible Drawbacks

    No, for the most part this is a page turner. That said, it is not without its fair share of opportunities to cut and condense, and Mickey's storyline seems to have less meat than the other two, despite him being a profound and well-rounded character.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    This is a fresh flavor in the line of Boogie Nights and Pulp Fiction (which are paid homage in excess by this work). A considerable audience will want to delve into the seedy worlds of porn and drugs-- A irresistible look under the rug. It's a world of heightened stakes, emotion, and catharsis.

    Fanbase Potential

    It could certainly gain a cult following as it appeals to a very specific time and place-- It has a nostalgic quality to it. Sex, drugs, and a fair share of rock and roll will be sure to lure in a built-in audience as well.

    Awards Potential

    Although distinct, well-crafted, and peppered with colorful and interesting characters, this is a bit too gritty and grungy to appeal to the awards community.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THE FILMOGRAPHIES OF TARANTINO, ANDERSON, AND THE COEN BROTHERS, WITH A SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON BOOGIE NIGHTS AND PULP FICTION

    What’s New About the Story

    What is distinct about this work, frankly, is how well-written it is, how well the author is able to transport his audience. The actual content of the story, however, lacks novelty, but arguably not to a fault. While some might call this work pastiche, others will revel in the homages and be delighted by the influences. That said, there is room to differentiate the main characters from ones that have come before. Some elements feel overly familiar, like Mickey being on his last job, like the junkies growing increasingly desperate for drugs, and like Jemeka and Ray Ray having financial troubles materializing out of thin air.

    Lead Characters

    Mickey stands out for his age-- He is a 78-year-old PI and a constant fish out of water given his age. This makes him vulnerable, and it makes the scenarios around him interesting. His encounter with Floyd, for example, is interesting because it sees a ruthless gangster show compassion for Mickey's age. Richie and Alabama stand out because you can feel the love between them and, perhaps more importantly, because you can feel Alabama's pain. The sensation and experience of drug use is rendered beautifully as well. Jemeka and Ray Ray are memorable for their specificity and for their rags-to-riches and, in Ray Ray's case, riches-to-redemption character arcs. Jemeka in particular stands out for going from a stylist to a kingpin-- a rather epic trajectory.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is an uncommonly well-written story bolstered by a slew of interesting, grounded characters and boasting a plethora of cinematic opportunities. Fans of Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights will get exactly what they pay for.

    Possible Formats

    Analyst Recommendation

    RECOMMEND

    Justification

    This is an expertly-written piece peppered with many memorable characters. The author deftly places the audience in the world of 1990s LA, and it really becomes an experience to follow these characters. Suspense, surprises, and catharses are what solidify this work as an easy RECOMMEND.

    Brief

    In LA during years 1998-2000 three plot lines intersect to deadly consequence: A 78-year-old PI investigates the disappearance of a porn star in his final case, a young Compton woman turns to selling drugs to make ends meet, and two increasingly-desperate junkie newlyweds return to LA in search of the perfect score.

    What We Liked

    Of this work's many appeals, the author voice stands out. He is able to effortlessly and effectively transport the audience into a world that is as memorable as it is specific. This work becomes a real immersive experience thanks to the author's imagination and eye for detail. Moreover, the characters in this work stand out as specific, memorable, and relatable. The have immediate physical obstacles, and they also have broader aspirations and emotional aches and pains. They are as flawed as they are specific, and it makes them feel real and, as a result, interesting. All in all, fans of Pulp Fiction, Boogie Nights, and others will get exactly what they pay for.

    This would be a fair candidate for adaptation to screen thanks to how the audience is carried to the end at a steady pace and thanks to how cathartic and finite the resolutions to a few of its arcs are. The climaxes are firm and resolute, and the payoffs are substantial.

    The colorful characters and the intrigue afforded by the drugs and sex in this work will be sure to lure an audience. It's a look under the drug and a transportation into a bygone time and place. The immersive and escapist qualities add onto the qualities that make this work a draw.

    Mickey stands out for his age--a 78-year-old PI and a constant fish out of water given his age. This makes him vulnerable, and makes the scenarios around him interesting. Richie and Alabama stand out because you can feel the love between them and, perhaps more importantly, because you can feel Alabama's pain. The sensation and experience of drug use is rendered beautifully as well. Jemeka and Ray-Ray are memorable for their specificity and for their rags-to-riches and, in Ray-Ray's case, riches-to-redemption character arcs. Jemeka in particular stands out for going from a stylist to a kingpin--a rather epic trajectory.

    PORNO VALLEY is an expertly-written story. The author deftly places the audience in the world of 1990s LA, and it becomes an experience to follow these characters. Suspense, surprises, and catharses solidify this work as an easy RECOMMEND.

    Key points: 1. The colorful, interesting, memorable characters.
    2. The setting-- How well the author transports his audience into late 90s Los Angeles.
    3. The finale-- How well it ties up its story threads and how memorable and consequential the resolutions are.
    4. The intrigue afforded by a world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
    5. The homage to the works of Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson-- Fans of the two will have much to gain from this work.

    Synopsis

    2000. Meet MICKEY O'ROURKE. He's a 78-year-old private eye, and he watches a porn shoot in the San Fernando Valley while he waits for a meeting, but he soon steps outside for some air and for a smoke. Soon, he's called in by the sexy BETHANY SUMMERS, 30s, a proprietor of the porn company. In the office, Bethany asks Mickey about his past-- He's been a P.I. for nearly 50 years. Most recently, he rescued an abducted young girl from a horrible fate. Now, Bethany wants him to track down porn actor Jeffrey Strokes, her former boyfriend. We flash to 1999-- Outside of Vegas, junkie newlyweds RICHIE and ALABAMA, 20s, rob a diner, Pulp Fiction style. They rent a decrepit hotel room and shoot up, making plans to head to LA in hopes of bigger scores. 1998. In Compton, JEMEKA makes ends meet at a nail salon, while her deadbeat boyfriend RAY RAY comes home, claiming to have been playing cards with friends. She doesn't buy it for a second.

    1998. After a day at Venice Beach, Jemeka decides to follow Ray Ray to see where he goes at night. She traces him down to the LA river, where Ray Ray has a confrontation with an apparent gangster. When Ray Ray's life is threatened, Jemeka instinctively rams the gangster with her car. 2000. Mickey gets a beer with Bethany's current boyfriend, porn actor RICCARDO. Riccardo tells of Jeffrey, how laid back and well liked he was, how he went missing a year prior. Mickey senses Riccardo was jealous of him. 1998. Jemeka surveys the damage-- The man she hit is dead, and she demands Ray Ray confess to what he was doing. Turns out, Ray Ray was trying to buy and sell cocaine with money he borrowed from local kingpin MARSELLUS. However, it was Marsellus's drugs in the first place, unbeknownst to the rather simple-minded Ray Ray. Jemeka takes charge, ordering her boyfriend to clean her car. She bravely goes to the kingpin herself, returning the drugs and money, asking for penance for Ray Ray. Marsellus accepts, intrigued by Jemeka. He offers her a job. 1999. Richie and Alabama steal a car from an old friend of Richie's. Alabama grows increasingly weary of the drugs and theft. During another smash-and-grab, a man gives Richie a business card-- It's none other than Riccardo.

    2000. Mickey interviews a porn star and friend of Jeffrey, learning more about Jeffrey's drug use and relationship with Bethany. The interviewee tells how a drug dealer named FLOYD became irate with Jeffrey for not meeting him alone one night, and Jeffrey went missing soon after. 1998. Jemeka and Ray Ray find themselves in money trouble-- Ray Ray needs to pay for the car repairs, and his mother has a pressing need for surgery. 1999. Alabama is raped by a racist drug dealer, and Richie comes to her defense, killing the man. 1998. Jemeka heads back to Marsellus and agrees to sell dope for him to make money. 1999. Richie gets high with Alabama and then heads to his meeting with Riccardo. Riccardo hires Richie for ten thousand dollars to scare Jeffrey away from LA permanently. Richie puts on a tough guy act and vows to get the job done. 1998. Ray Ray recruits none other than Floyd to help sell their dope. With Ray Ray and Jemeka in tow, Floyd leads the way to Hollywood, where they sell drugs to movie stars. 1999. Richie follows Jeffrey as he buys drugs from Floyd. Soon, he goes to Jeffrey's place and puts forth a plan to rob Floyd blind. Jeffrey is hospitable and hears Richie out, but Richie soon keels over from a huge line of pure coke. 2000. Mickey bribes another drug dealer--the nephew of his cop buddy--with NBA tickets for information on Floyd. He just wants to talk to him, after all.

    1998. Months of drug dealing with Floyd have passed, and Jemeka opens up a hair spa to launder the earnings. One day, Floyd is jumped, but he gets the best of the jumper. Jemeka motions to spare the jumper against Floyd's wishes. Floyd, though, floats the idea of expanding, as people have grown weary of Marsellus of late. 2000. Mickey connects with Floyd at his house, but Floyd is unhelpful and promptly kicks him out. However, Mickey follows him, alone, in his car later that night. 1999. With Alabama strung out at a hotel, Richie links up with Jeff again. He spills that Riccardo hired him to kill Jeff, but he instead suggests they fake Jeff's death to rip Riccardo off. They continue to plan to rob Floyd, too. 1998. It's Christmas time. Jemeka and Ray Ray are taken to Marsellus's yacht at gunpoint. On deck, Marsellus slits the throat of the jumper that Jemeka let go earlier-- a power statement. En route back to shore, Jemeka realizes the time has come to take Marsellus down. 2000. Mickey follows Floyd to a salon, where Floyd interacts with a woman unknown to Mickey, a woman we know as Jemeka.

    1999. Richie successfully cons Riccardo, making him think Jeffrey is dead. Soon, Richie, Alabama, and Jeffrey follow Floyd, planning to trail him to his stash. However, Floyd simply goes to a hair salon. Alabama gets dopesick, while Richie and Jeffrey plan to abduct Floyd and force him to lead them to his stockpile. After a tussle, Floyd relents. He drives the men to Compton, with Alabama following not far behind. Floyd leads them to his house, and they take him inside at gunpoint. However, Richie and Jeff quickly find themselves outnumbered by Floyd's men, and a wild shootout ensues. Richie and Jeff barely escape, with Alabama driving them away. Only then does Richie realize he's been shot. Jemeka gets a call from Floyd, who informs her of the robbery attempt (thus signaling that the two storylines have merged in time).

    In 2000, Mickey visits Jemeka under the guise of an IRS officer. He asks about Ray Ray's whereabouts, but Jemeka plays ignorant. Curiously, Mickey claims Ray Ray has come into a large inheritance. He heads to Wells Fargo, the bank Ray Ray uses according to Jemeka, and he cashes in a favor to find out Ray Ray's current address. Back in 1999, Richie, Jeff, and Alabama retreat to Jeff's apartment with a backpack full of 100K taken from Floyd. Richie and Alabama, desperate from withdrawal symptoms, send Jeff to get heroin for them. Sure enough, though, Floyd and his men bust in, holding Richie and Alabama at gunpoint. They realize that Jeff did them in, making off with the money, presumably to start a new life on a beach somewhere, as he had mentioned in passing in the past. Jemeka arrives and orders Floyd to kill the junkies, against Ray Ray's pleas. With the junkies dealt with, Jemeka brings up plans to take out Marsellus. 2000. Mickey heads up to Washington state, where Ray Ray has started a new life. Mickey approaches Ray Ray and, after some finagling, gets him to talk. Mickey immediately heads back to LA to tell Bethany what he learned, instructing her to make sure Riccardo is at the meeting.

    Back in LA, Mickey gets Riccardo to admit to his scheme, which alienates him from Bethany. Mickey, however, goes on to reveal that Jeff is, in fact, alive, having escaped with the money, per Ray Ray's confession. Bethany is relieved at the news. She and Mickey make plans to get lunch soon. Before long, Mickey gets a call from Ray Ray, who wants to testify against Jemeka. Word quickly travels to Jemeka via cops she's bought. Jemeka demands to know where Ray Ray is hiding out...

    About The Author

    Philip Elliott’s debut novel, the comedic LA noir Nobody Move, won Best First Novel in the Arthur Ellis Awards and also won the Indie Author Project Ontario. A music and film obsessive, Philip lives with his wife and spoiled pug on the beautiful West Coast of Canada.