Book Cover



Steven Cross

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Dean Knight suffers from a mental illness that causes hallucinations, violent outbreaks, and the delusion that the river beast will one day destroy him. With a dark past and an even darker future, he must overcome his illness to deal with the bullies who torment him and uncover a dark family secret.


Drama,Young Adult,Other,Suspense/Thriller

Short Summary

Dean sees his dead friend whose suicide causes Dean tremendous guilt. A jock hears him talking to his hallucination and thinks Dean is insulting him. A fight results and Dean gets kicked out of another school and must get ECT treatments because he is a threat to himself and others.

When Dean confronts the jock Roger who raped his twin sister and got her pregnant, he finds out what his dark family secret is. After he knocks Roger out, he walks away and someone pushes him into the river where the river beast swallows him just as it swallowed his Dad and his twin.


Midwest USA

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Overcoming Monster/Villain,Tragedy

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Dean Knight

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aggressive,Complex,Crazy,Blunt,Desperate,Empathetic,Sarcastic,Secretive,Insecure,Underdog,Outspoken,Lone Wolf

Additional Character Details

Name: Roger Day

Age: 17

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Masculine,Badass,Aggressive,Narcisstic,Confident,Blunt,Leader,Villainous,Crazy,Decisive,Power Hungry,Skillful,Sarcastic,Manipulative

Additional Character Details

Name: Dee Knight

Age: 16

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Underdog,Complex,Sexy,Crazy,Blunt,Empathetic,Romantic,Secretive,Insecure,Desperate,Outspoken,Seductive

Additional Character Details

Name: Ella Day

Age: 16

Gender: Female

Role: tempter

Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Narcisstic,Complex,Sexy,Crazy,Blunt,Outspoken,Sarcastic,Seductive,Insecure

Development Pitch

Since bullying and mental illness make the news almost every day, Drowning represents a timely novel on an important topic. It captures the way life is for someone who has a mental illness and faces bullies because he's different and who sometimes cannot distinguish what is real and what is not. Dark family secrets make up a part of this story. Mental illness runs in families and where there are families with mental illness there are secrets, and sometimes those secrets must be uncovered before a mentally ill person can go on with a life that is as normal as possible. Even if those secrets involve murder and suicide and their coverups. Dean Knight and his twin sister Dee must cope with mental illness as best as they can. Dee uses sex to win her way into the popular groups -- at least the popular groups for guys. Dean doesn't try to cope at all, and as a result, he goes through different medicines and treatments such as ECT as quickly as some people go through clothes. He also tends to attract the wrong kind of friends -- enter Ella Day a narcissistic, disturbed teen who will destroy Dean even as she's attracted to him, and Roger Day, a jock who does destroy Dee during an end of the summer party that causes one tragedy after another. Despite these dark moments, Dean does find lights that can rescue him from his inner darkness. One is Brett, the one person who can bring down a whole gang of bullies and reveal them for what they really are, and the other is Roxanne.

About The Author

Steven Cross is a retired educator who now writes full time. He has published several plays with Brooklyn Publishers, several novels including Young adult and fantasy, and has recently sold one script and optioned another. Currently, he lives with his wife Jean in Poplar Bluff, MO. where he enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, following the St. Louis Cardinals, and spoiling his two grandchildren.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Between the Lines Liminal division

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available