Gulf Shore Secrets

SD Levin

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE CRIME DRAMA MYSTERY RELIGIOUS YOUNG ADULT SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    DISCOVERING YOUR TRUE HERITAGE AND WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOUR LIFE.

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    OUTER BANKS

    CHARACTER LIST

    DANNY: 12. LEAD. INQUISITIVE AND OPEN TO NEW INFORMATION. HE'S NOT AFRAID ADVENTURE OR TAKING SOME RISKS.

    DANI: 12. DANNY'S SIDEKICK AND INSTIGATOR WHO COMES FROM A DIFFICULT BACKGROUND.

    ZLOTA: 70S. DANNY'S GRANDMOTHER AND A NATURALIST WHO IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE IN MANY SUBJECTS.

    THE COLONEL: 70S. A LOCAL LEGEND AND DIVER WHO HAS EXPLORED THE FLORIDA SPRINGS.

    OCEAN: 60S-70S. AN OLD HIPPIE AND FRIEND OF ZLOTA'S.

    GUS: 50S-70S. A LOCAL BUSINESSMAN WHO BUYS THE SPRINGS AND IS MOTIVATED BY PROFIT.

    Logline

    A 12-year-old boy and his grandmother are in the midst of an archeological discovery that creates fissures in Gulf Shore's placidness, loosing Neo-Nazis, subterfuge, anti-Semitism and murder.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Gulf Coast Florida

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: amazon

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Twelve-year-old Danny Bastrop's winter vacation is with a grandmother he doesn't remember. The first day he makes a new friend, is manhandled by Neo-Nazis, shot at, learns he's Jewish, meets an underwater archeologist and sneaks into a natural spring. Then it gets complicated.

    Ending Description

    Danny, a friend and his grandmother discover the truth surrounding the death of a local underwater archeologist and trace it and the theft of Native American antiquities to a German national, a local developer and the longtime friend of the diver.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    B08MHGFZ2Z

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist,Meaningful Message,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth,Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: Danny Bastrop

    Age: 12

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Engaging,Funny,Modest,Confident,Honorable,Naive

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Zlota, or Z

    Age: 65

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Complex,Confident,Modest,Religious,Blunt,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Skillful,Funny,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Dani

    Age: 12

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Outspoken,Engaging,Honorable,Leader

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Col. Crum

    Age: 80

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Villainous,Narcisstic,Charming,Patriotic,Power Hungry,Secretive,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Educated,Greedy,Criminal

    Development Pitch

    A momentous archeological find entangles two adolescents and a grizzled grandma with Nazis, developers and treacherous Gulf Shore residents. Clinging to each other and with the help of friends, the trio uncovers confrontations and contradictions behind the death of a beloved local legend and the ongoing thefts of Native American artifacts. "Gulf Shore Secrets" is set in winter Gulf Coast Florida, populated by quirky characters and drawn from history and legend. The closer the unlikely threesome come to solving the puzzle, the more danger they're in. The second book in the young adult Danny Bastrop series has through lines of racism and faith, and is an exciting read no matter the age.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, DRAMA, RELIGION, THRILLER

    Brief

    A kid goes to live with his grandmother and her adopted daughter in Florida near natural springs, where he learns he is Jewish. Threatened by Neo-Nazis, they must uncover the mystery behind an old man who is taking artifacts from the spring. They uncover the truth and are in mortal danger from the man and his cronies.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, it is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    The promise of adventure vis a vis archaeological treasures.

    Possible Drawbacks

    No.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    Two kids and an old lady vs. a powerful, nefarious group of criminals.

    Fanbase Potential

    No. The action and danger are glossed over at the end of the story.

    Awards Potential

    No. There is not enough in the way of meaty roles, the potential for a good screenplay, nor a very compelling story as it is.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    OUTER BANKS

    What’s New About the Story

    Some originality lies in the locale - the pristine natural springs in Florida. Also, the Jewish aspect and the threat of Neo-Nazis in modern day Florida.

    Lead Characters

    They're plucky and interested in finding out the truth despite the peril to themselves.

    Uniqueness of Story

    It's not a rare gem in that many stories about hidden treasure and bad guys have been told better, are more exciting, and have been more compelling.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Streaming, Film - Indie

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Most of the book contains history lessons that stall the story and the adventure. The action doesn't happen until the very end and a lot of it is skipped over, and hastens the conclusion.

    Tips for Improvement

    More mystery surrounding the bad guys and the archaeological findings earlier in the story. A build-up of danger and tension would make it structurally more interesting and would give the protagonists more to do earlier on.

    Brief

    A kid goes to live with his grandmother and her adopted daughter in Florida near natural springs, where he learns he is Jewish. Threatened by Neo-Nazis, they must uncover the mystery behind an old man who is taking artifacts from the spring. They uncover the truth and are in mortal danger from the man and his cronies.

    What We Liked

    The story takes place in an interesting location - the beautiful natural springs in Florida, and goes into their rich history. Zlota helps Danny discover his Jewish heritage and is an active older lady with a storied past who is eager to find out the truth about nefarious activity in her chosen home. They embark on an adventure to find out the hidden reasons behind local business dealings as well as secrets that shed new light on the people and places they encounter. Danny has had an interesting and troubled past, and when he goes to visit his grandmother in Florida, he finds out things about himself he never knew. Danger lurks in every new character and in their strange surroundings, and with the help of his sidekick Dani and his plucky grandma Zlota, Danny is challenged to find out hidden secrets about himself and his new home. Strange and nefarious people populate the area, and the family's sense of justice guides them in their quest to uncover hidden mysteries.

    Key points: Scenic locations; Family heritage; Oddball characters; Discovered treasures; Action/suspense

    Synopsis

    Danny, 12, rides his grandmother’s bike down a road in Florida, hears a noise and climbs a tree. A girl, Dani, 12, laughs at him, then takes him into the woods and talks about fossils. They try and hide from four armed men giving Nazi salutes who ask them if they’re “Jew lovers.” A shotgun blast scatters them, and Zlota (Z), Danny’s grandmother, emerges. Back at her house, she makes them veggie drinks and explains to Dani how Danny is famous for helping to solve a seven decade-long murder and finding 54 million in gold. Danny had traveled the country doing interviews for his accomplishment. Ocean, aka Lake, who sells fossils and shells, pulls up in his van and Z is very happy to see him. He waxes philosophical about the connection he has with the van he lives in. He eats some snacks, shows them a Megalodon tooth, then drives off. The three put on their bathing suits and head to Ponce de Leon Springs where they swim, then go to the cafe for drinks. They meet Colonel, an old man who explains in detailed terms how he’s found a fossil of a skull that will turn the archaeological world upside down because of its age. Gus, the owner of the springs, enters - and it’s clear Colonel isn’t a fan.

    Back at his grandmother’s, Danny discovers Dani’s room. She lives there a lot, having a bad family situation. There are pictures of Dani and Z on travels all over the world. She tells Danny about Berglund, a local legend and diver who drowned. She explains that before Danny’s brother and father were killed, she’d stolen off to India to meditate and Danny’s mother was very angry at her. Dani wakes Danny up and they sneak off to the springs to swim at night. They hear arguing coming from the clubhouse and sneak back home. They read that a nearby Jewish cemetery was vandalized, and Z explains to Danny that they are Jewish and what that means historically. Z, Danny and Dani go to help remove graffiti. They travel to a big art show down the coast and Dani steals a white pride flag from a booth. They spot the Colonel in disguise walking out of a booth that sells crystals. His pants sag from the weight of whatever is in his pockets. They pester Z about what he could be doing and she plans to investigate. Back home, the Colonel pays them a visit with his big dog Fluffy, who growls and barks at a figure running away outside. Later, Dani tells Danny how her family used to be the world’s most famous acrobats, performing all over the world until the Nazi’s co-opted them because they weren’t Jews. Her family became Nazis, and she grew up as one until her parents were arrested on weapons and drug charges and are in jail in Texas. Z took her in. They investigate the Colonel and learn about his lifelong diving partnership with Berglund. Z runs into Gus and interrogates him on his plans for the spring he just bought. He intends on a hotel, casino, and greyhound track. Z is horrified.

    They celebrate the Sabbath and Z explains it all to Danny. They drive to another art show and see the Colonel, this time not in disguise. Back at the springs, Danny notices some other old men with white spots, similar to Colonel’s, under their arms. They think they may be Nazi tattoos that were removed. They go to the Colonel’s, who introduces them to his daughter Sonia. He tells them all that the artifact he found in the springs is indeed the oldest human artifact in America, but Gus wants it since it’s worth a fortune and he now owns the springs. Dani asks him if he’s a Nazi and he says no. They are still suspicious and hatch a new plan to find out the truth. Danny goes to talk to a grocery store owner who confirms that there are Nazis in their area of Florida. Dani goes to visit an old man, Hendry, on a mule who owns a piece of property that he sold to Gus. The old man has dementia and Dani figures the property was swindled from him. He makes little sense when he talks, and has a Nazi flag. Z gets to work researching the Colonel but can find no incriminating information on him. Nor can she find anything on Gus. They go to Hendry’s to find Dani.

    Back at Hendry’s the next day while Z is researching government records, Colonel shows up and commands his dog in German. The dog isn’t so nice to Dani and Danny anymore. Z finds that Hendry’s family owned the springs. She races back to Hendry’s, while the Colonel threatens Danny and Dani, and Sonia shows up to help him. He ruminates about how he hadn’t been diving for years since his lung collapsed in an accident, and he had his partner Berglund (who did the diving) killed so the Colonel could keep all of the valuable artifacts for himself. He was about to move back to Germany, and now just has to get rid of the kids. Hendry comes to the rescue on his mule and with his shotgun he overpowers the Colonel and the dog. However, Sonia comes and takes the kids, drugging them with Ketamine. She heads to the airport while Z figures out what's going on when she gets a message from Dani. Danny is taken to a river and is pushed in, but Ocean has been following Sonia’s truck and saves him. Sonia plans to ship Dani in a cargo container, so Z calls one of her friends who works in aviation and has that curtailed. Z, at the airport, gets no help from the police and twists her ankle. She drives to the cargo terminal but is held up by the same cops.

    Back home, Z takes care of Dani, who was found in a private jet where Sonia was arrested. She calls an attorney to hold up the sale of Hendry’s property. Gus is caught trying to smuggle out the artifacts from the spring. The Colonel is arrested. Z, Danny, and Dani enjoy a peaceful Sabbath.



    About The Author

    SD Levin has written and edited for major newspapers and magazines, taught college, climbed Denali and traveled to more than fifty countries. In 2018 he shared a Pulitzer Prize. This is his second novel.