The Terror Zone

Susan B. Haynes

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE CRIME DETECTIVE DRAMA MYSTERY FUNNY SCI-FI SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    PERSEVERANCE, OVERCOMING THE MONSTER

    TIME PERIOD

    Earlier 20th Century

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE DEAD ZONE, JESSICA JONES

    CHARACTER LIST

    SUSAN: 30S, A SMART AND DRIVEN PSYCHIATRIST. SHE WILL DO ANYTHING TO SAVE HER MISSING DAUGHTER.

    PAUL: SUSAN’S ENDEARING BOYFRIEND WHO LOVES HER DEARLY AND WANTS TO MARRY HER.

    GEORGE: 30S, AN EMOTIONAL PATIENT OF SUSAN’S WHO HAS DREAMS ABOUT MISSING CHILDREN BUT CLAIMS HE DIDN’T KIDNAP THEM.

    ALEX: GEORGE’S IDENTICAL BROTHER. HE HAS THE POWER TO TOUCH SOMEONE AND FIND OUT INFORMATION ABOUT THEM.

    LINDA: AN OLD FRIEND OF SUSAN’S AND A FELLOW PSYCHIATRIST WHO FLIES IN TO HELP SUSAN.

    LINDSEY: SUSAN’S YOUNG DAUGHTER WHO SHE WILL DO ANYTHING TO SAVE.

    Logline

    A Psychiatrist moves to a small town, in Wisconsin. Her daughter gets kidnapped and she loses, friends, patients and lovers. As she tries to, find her kidnapped daughter, she uncovers lies, deception, and a drunken Sheriff,. Fumbling her way she starts to lose her sanity.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    California, Florida, Wisconsin

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Page Publishing

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    A stranger calls Susan at her office, he claims to know where the children are. She uncovers, conspiracy, and lies, and discovers many kids have been kidnapped. She needs to find them... With help from unlikely friends, stumbling and finding it more dangerous as they go.

    Ending Description

    As Susan thinks she bit off more than she can chew, days pass and finally it looks like she has the monsters on the run. Susan finally figures out she has to play hardball, and take down the monsters with agonizing, uncanny abandon.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    978-1-6624-2471-7

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Quest,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Susan, college grad. Smart, beautiful, stubborn, can take on the world

    Age: 35

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Decisive,Desperate,Empathetic,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader

    Additional Character Details

    Name: George Chatterly

    Age: 35

    Gender: Male

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Insecure,Strong Moral Code,Underdog,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Alex

    Age: 35

    Gender: Male

    Role: logical

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Educated,Visionary,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Marx

    Age: 35

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Complex,Decisive,Honorable,Secretive,Aggressive,Crazy,Villainous,Narcisstic,Manipulative

    Development Pitch

    A stranger cries out in the night. He has a secret he can no longer bear to hide. Begging for solace, he reaches out to his psychiatrist. Because of the psychiatrist's will to help, she is being haunted by her past and being raped of the reality she has come to know. Her life spins out of control. Her daughter is kidnapped, and her friends and patients are being tortured, and murdered. She tries to put the pieces together, but the intruder tightens his grip on her sanity, and she pleads for help. Her friend comes to her rescue and suddenly disappears, and her boyfriend is in the hospital with no way to preserve whatever shred of sanity she has left. Terrified of what invasive torment the assailant might inflict on her next, she spirals through a world of pain, revulsion, and seething psychosis. As her mind spins a web of deceit and deception, she literally opens the doorway to the terror zone.

    Genre

    SUSPENSE, THRILLER

    Brief

    When her daughter goes missing, a determined psychiatrist dives into the lives of two mysterious brothers with special powers in an effort to find her child, and in the process she learns about her own past as well.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The Book Profile does generally reflect the book, though it could benefit this project to make the supernatural powers at play with the brothers and Susan more evident in the Profile.

    Draw of Story

    This book has a lot of exciting twists and turns that will keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The plot is surprising, original, and fast paced.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Tonally, this book is often extremely jarring. Page 37 offers a perfect example. The mood jumps between tense, when Susan is trying to find her child, heartbreaking, when she doesn’t succeed, and strangely light and flippant, by the end of the chapter. Susan’s behavior often just feels off for a woman trying to find her missing daughter. The passages that describe Paul and Susan’s sexual encounters also seem out of place given the context of the rest of the plot. Sleeping together and being flirty the night after Kerry’s death feels inappropriate. It also seems odd that the police would allow Susan to be so intimately involved in this case. It doesn’t feel particularly realistic or professional for the cops to allow her to request DNA from Alex Finch, or for Susan to be able to call the police and make demands of any kind.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The twists and turns of the plot are the hook in this story, along with the suspenseful and naturally engaging premise.

    Fanbase Potential

    This project would likely need further development before it could gain a large fanbase, but it certainly has potential. There are many fans of intense and thrilling detective adaptations, and this project has all the classic makings of one.

    Awards Potential

    In its current state, I do not believe this project would have Awards potential. It feels more like a fun release on a streaming service or a made-for-TV film that would entertain and give the actors a chance to have some fun.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THE DEAD ZONE

    What’s New About the Story

    The plot and characters in this story are both quite original. Susan Skyler is a particularly memorable character. She is a new kind of thriller hero, and it's fun to watch her work. The pacing could be more unique though, as it feels quite standard.

    Lead Characters

    Susan is a nuanced character. Her passion for her work and for helping people makes her stand out, as does her dedication to finding her daughter.

    Uniqueness of Story

    In its current state, I believe this project needs more tonal development before it could be called a rare gem. The tone just doesn't feel cohesive at this point, and there are some choices in the plot that feel distracting and difficult to believe.

    Possible Formats

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

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    The tone in this project does not feel cohesive. Susan's character is interesting, but she often doesn't feel realistic when it comes to her relationship with the police. The pace also feels repetitive at times because there are so many hypnosis sequences.

    Tips for Improvement

    The tone would need to feel more uniform, Susan's character would need to be more believable, and the pacing and structure would need to feel more natural.

    Brief

    When her daughter goes missing, a determined psychiatrist dives into the lives of two mysterious brothers with special powers in an effort to find her child, and in the process she learns about her own past as well.

    What We Liked

    This is a fast paced and original story that features a nuanced protagonist and great plot twists. This story will keep readers guessing until the very end. It's also inspiring to see a main character who is both a clever, successful professional woman and a dedicated and loving mother.

    Film: This project feels intense and focused in a way that suits a feature film perfectly. A leading A-list actress would have a blast with Susan's character, and the possibility of casting one actor to play all of the identical brothers would make this film stand out. The open-ended ending leaves room for a booming franchise as well.

    TV: With so many interesting and unexpected characters, this project certainly has the potential to make for an excellent television show. There is tons of storyline potential, as every new character that is introduced is more exciting than the last. The open-ended ending also sets up future seasons of the show perfectly.

    Key points:
    1. The main character.
    2. The plot twists.
    3. The fast pace.
    4. The original premise.
    5. The unexpected supernatural/superpower elements of the story.

    Synopsis

    We meet George Chatterly as he called Dr. Susan Skyler, a psychiatrist, to tell her that he knows where the missing children are. We jump to Dr. Skyler’s perspective as she goes where Chatterly instructs and finds a number of weak, but alive children in a box in the swampy water. The children are safe, but Skyler’s own missing daughter, Lindsey, is nowhere to be found. Not all of the kids are accounted for.

    Susan and Paul, Susan’s boyfriend, go to Chatterly’s home and discover that he may be guilty of kidnapping the children. He claims he dreams of doing terrible things, but he doesn’t actually do them. Still, they drive him to the police station.

    Paul convinces Susan to take a trip out of the city in order to relax. Paul and Susan have a nice night, but Susan is convinced someone is following them through the woods, and when they arrive back at their campsite, it has been ransacked. They report the incident in the morning, but Susan doesn’t feel so safe or at peace anymore. She agrees to go fishing before they leave though, as Paul has already paid for the rental. They make a disturbing catch that Paul believes to be a human head and turn the object over to the authorities. It’s a chilling find, but they’re able to put it out of their minds for the most part when they go home.

    Back at work, Susan has another session with George and he reveals that he believes her missing daughter is in a warehouse. Susan hypnotizes George and learns the location. She calls Paul and tells him the information right away. Along with the police, Paul and Susan head to the docks. They find the children, but Lindsey isn’t there. The police apprehend George, but he calls himself Alex Finch and he doesn’t recognize Susan at all.

    Susan eventually discovers that Alex and George are indeed different people, and they are identical twins. When they meet, both men feel a deep connection to each other. Alex swears he had nothing to do with the disappearance of the children and that he is just a strange and lonely fisherman. Using hypnosis again, Susan discovers the location of an old hotel that might contain missing people.

    George and Susan go to the hotel and find women hidden inside it. They are weak, but alive. When they see George, they claim he is the man who kidnapped them.

    Paul stops by in the evening to try and spend time with Susan. They are interrupted by a mysterious intruder. He hits Paul over the head, but Susan is able to run him out by hitting him and setting him on fire.

    Susan visits Alex again and learns more about his childhood. He still claims he didn’t kidnap anyone. She is attacked again while going to her car. She makes it back to Paul’s home safe and sound, but undeniably shaken and now sure she is being followed by someone who means her harm.

    During Susan’s next appointment with George, he reveals that the dead woman found in the old hotel was Angelica Howl, the wife of a millionaire. She died of a neurological issue. During the appointment, George doesn’t act like himself and it worries Susan. She goes home and tries to ignore the terrible feeling she has.

    The next day Paul comes to see Susan at work and they make up after their tense previous interaction. As Paul is leaving, he brushes against Alex Finch and Alex urges Susan to call the police and have Paul taken in, as he is in danger. Susan listens and it saves Paul’s life. The police report that a station wagon was going to try to push Paul’s car off a cliff.

    At Alex’s next appointment, he reveals that something terrible has happened to George and during hypnosis, he sees a cemetery. Susan and Alex rush to the cemetery. George has been buried alive. Alex is able to help him breathe using their twin connection and they manage to dig George up and save his life. Paul is frustrated with Susan for how far she’s fallen into her work, but they make up and sleep together.

    Soon after, Susan visits George and Alex at the hospital and hires a PI to look into their childhoods. She discovers more about Alex’s past during another hypnosis session. He sees a laboratory called the Science of Biological Genetics and Fertility.

    Susan feels as if she is losing touch with reality and considers seeing a psychiatrist of her own. When she gets home, she is once again attacked by a stranger. The police get there in time to save her, but her leg is injured.

    Susan goes to the hospital and learns that someone has also burned down her house, killing her friends and colleagues. She also receives a disturbing call from an unknown and threatening person.

    Paul cheers Susan up when he reveals that he’s put money down on a beautiful new home for them. Susan is still having episodes where she believes someone is putting thoughts in her mind, but she is excited about her future with Paul. Alex and George tell Susan that they don’t need her services anymore, but they quickly confess that they actually do, and they only said that because their demented third brother claimed he would leave Susan alone if they left her. Susan gets a call from the PI and goes to meet him for new information.

    At the police station, one of the cops realizes that his family was nearly killed by the men following the PI. Thankfully, they are spared, thought Greg, the cop in question, is not happy with the situation.

    Larry the PI and his wife stay at Paul and Susan’s home for the evening. They decide to have a seance and Susan makes a connection to Lindsey, and the evil man who kidnapped her. He threatens her not to try and connect with Lindsey again. Larry also tells Susan that he found out more information about the lab where Alex and George were raised. As babies, they were injected with serum that gave them incredible abilities.

    Susan goes back to her office for work and the stranger is finally revealed. He is Jeffrey, another brother to Alex and George, and he is not as dangerous as he appears. He claims yet another brother has been entering his head. Jeffrey also has the power of telekinesis. He gets scared when Susan says he should turn himself in and flees, but Susan doesn’t believe he is the threatening brother. Susan, Alex, and George attempt another seance to connect with the threatening brother. They make the connection but the brother stabs himself in the arm, harming everyone, and the connection breaks.

    Susan receives a tip that Larry is in danger of being pushed off a bridge. She rushes to save him but is kidnapped by Aaron Marx, another brother to George, Alex, and Jeffrey. He tells Susan that the brothers also have a sister. Paul is left behind in the wrecked car, and it is unclear whether he survived.

    Alex, George, and the police are able to save Larry’s life, and Susan escapes from the car and is safe from Aaron. They go back for Paul, but find he has been kidnapped by Aaron. That night, Susan dreams of where Paul and Lindsey are being kept.

    The stress proves too much for Alex. He cuts himself and has to be admitted to the hospital. George and Susan go to the place from Susan’s dream. They find the bones of the other missing children, but not Lindsey.

    Paul turns up at the house that evening. Though Aaron tried to kidnap him, he hid and hitchhiked home, essentially outsmarting him.

    Linda, the psychiatrist that Kerry called for Susan, shows up in town. Susan is overjoyed to see her. They go out to dinner with George and Linda tells Susan that she’s always been able to read people’s minds, even when she was a kid. George also realizes that he had five brothers and one sister when he was born. Paul proposes to Susan again, but she tells him she still can’t commit until she finds her daughter.

    In the morning, Linda is nowhere to be found and Susan calls everyone to the police station. She realizes at last that she is the long lost sister to the brothers.

    The brothers hold a seance. It is painful but they are able to mentally overpower Aaron and reach Linda and Lindsey. Susan tells Linda to grab Lindsey and run. She does, and the two finally escape to safety. In the end, Susan receives a final chilling call that implies she hasn’t seen the last of Aaron.

    About The Author

    Susan B. Haynes was born in Wisconsin and grew up on a resort. She has spent her life traveling, reading, writing, painting and working on her passions and has two published books and is working on a sequel to her first.