Dead in the Water

Book Cover



Terence J. Quinn

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Author Jonno Bligh is sailing in the Indian Ocean as pressure to deliver his next blockbuster mounts. On a remote island, he rescues a British woman being brutalised by modern-day pirates. As the killers hunt them on the high seas, they make a discovery that will change their lives forever.



Short Summary

Jonno Bligh is writing a screenplay in LA when he acquires a coke habit. He takes off on his yacht to write a new book and sober up. Annie Greenwood is abducted from a catamaran near Singapore by pirates who kill her husband. The lives of Jonno and Annie collide on a beach he dubs 'Rehab Island'.

The leader of the pirate crew, BangBang Budiman, has pursued Jonno back to Sydney where he tries to kill him. That same day, Annie arrives from London with a secret to tell and saves Jonno's life.


LA, London, Sydney, Mentawei Islands, Jakarta,

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Tragedy,Quest

Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Jonno Bligh

Age: Late 30s

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Modest,Complex,Engaging,Heroic,Lone Wolf,Charming,Faithful,Sexy

Additional Character Details

Name: Annie Greenwood

Age: 35

Gender: Female

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Charming,Desperate,Underdog,Romantic,Faithful,Adventurous,Empathetic,Engaging

Additional Character Details

Name: BamBang (BangBang) Budiman

Age: 40s

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Crazy,Criminal,Decisive,Greedy,Leader,Villainous,Uneducated,Unapologetic,Power Hungry

Additional Character Details

Name: Percy Mimms

Age: 62

Gender: Male

Role: mentor

Key Traits: Decisive,Engaging,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Outspoken,Funny,Strong Moral Code,Confident

Development Pitch

This is story of triumph over tragedy; of two people who meet in drastic circumstances on an uninhabited island off the coast of Sumatra. Saturated with action and suspense, the story rollercoasters between LA, Sydney, London and SE Asia. The hero, journalist/author Jonno Bligh, starts off as a successful but unsympathetic character with a drug problem, but soon finds redemption when he saves a young British woman, Annie Greenwood, from certain death at the hands of a ruthless modern-day pirate leader, BangBang Budiman and his cutthroat crew. When the pair flee the island with the pirate loot on Jonno's sailboat, The Scoop Jon B, the killers pursue them relentlessly across the Indian Ocean in a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase with many twists and turns. Jonno and Annie escape by the skin of their teeth only to find themselves banged up in a Jakarta jail. Will these two troubled characters survive this new ordeal while confronting their demons and facing up to a discovery that will change both their lives forever?

About The Author

Terence Quinn enjoyed a 35-year international career in the newspaper industry as a journalist, editor and publisher in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. During that time he was Editor-in-Chief of two metropolitan dailies and one national newspaper in the UK, before becoming editorial director of three major newspaper companies in three different countries. During his journalistic career, Quinn wrote countless news stories, feature articles and magazine columns. A member of the UK’s Newspaper Hall of Fame, founder member and committee member of the World Editors Forum and a multi award-winner, he has been a guest speaker/presenter at more than 20 international media conferences and seminars at the American Press Institute, the European School of Journalism plus many more prestigious venues. Now retired from newspapers, Quinn lives in Noosa, Queensland, where he is currently working on his third Jonno Bligh novel. His first, The Scoop, was published by Simon & Schuster Australia in 2018. His second in the series – Deadline – was published by S&S in 2020. Both are available in audio format.

Target Audiences

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

Target Gender: Universal,Male Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia

Year Published: 2018 (published as 'The Scoop', re-released in 2020 as 'Dead in the Water')

Hard Copy Available





Thriller, Drama


Jonno is on vacation, sailing around the Indian Ocean. He comes across a deserted island occupied with pirates who are assaulting two women. One woman survives, Annie, after he husband is murdered. Jonno and Annie are arrested after finding drugs and money on the island but the pirate continues to pursue them to get back what they took.

Overall Rating


Point of View

First Person

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

Pace: GOOD

Premise: GOOD

Structure: GOOD

Theme: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes, the book profile does accurately reflect the book.

Draw of Story

The story begins by describing the horrific actions of a pirate and his crew. BangBang is ruthless and cutthroat but his power is slipping because of unsuccessful jobs. It set up the plot, assuming he and the other characters would cross paths in a terrible encounter.

Possible Drawbacks

The book gives a stereotypical look at people in China and Thailand. The white main characters are locked up in a jail and treated terrible by the "awful locals". Jonno constantly uses his Australian citizenship as a get out of jail free card. While that might be realistic, it is very common to show East Asian cultures in this way which is deeming. The characters only encounter the unsavory people. BangBang, the detective, and the other pirates who rape Annie and Dani and kill the others.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that a group of foreigners vacationing on a luxury boat, come in contact with pirates in the Indian Ocean. They kill the men and rape the women. Jonno is able to rescue Annie, but they take the pirates stashed goods and now are being hunted by him.

Fanbase Potential

This could have a large fanbase. There is action, adventure, drama, pirates and beautiful locations. It also deals with some very serious topics such as rape and drug addiction.

Awards Potential

This could have award potential if there was focus on the personal battle Jonno and Annie have to face in the story. Jonno has an addiction to cocaine and Annie is raped by the pirates and finds out she is pregnant. She doesn't know if it is Jonno's or the pirates and has to decide if she is going to keep the baby or not. She is in therapy to help her heal from her trauma. There are many serious topics to dive into.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series

Castaway, Captain Philips, Gringo.

What’s New About the Story

The story is not very original. A group of western travelers go to the Indian Ocean to vacation on a yacht. They are attacked by pirates. There are drugs and money involved. There are many iterations of this story. To make it more unique, the cast could be more diverse and the pirates could be of a different race and culture. The pirates could also have something other than the stereotypical drug shipment.

Lead Characters

The lead character stands out because he overcomes his drug addiction while stranded on an island. Annie is raped, but remains strong.

Uniqueness of Story

This is an average, but solid story. It would work well as a film. The story has many exciting parts as well as some heartbreaking moments between Jonno and Annie.

Possible Formats

Film - Studio, Film - Indie, Film - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation

work in progress


While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

This story needs more diversity. The main characters and the pirates could be of different backgrounds. The use of rape to give a female character depth is also unnecessary. She can be complex without being traumatized and then her biggest decision deals with pregnancy. Annie should be given a better storyline.