Effacement

Hieronymus Hawkes

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION SUSPENSE/THRILLER SCI-FI DRAMA POLITICAL ADVENTURE

    Core Theme

    SURVIVAL; INTERNAL JOURNEY; OVERCOMING FOR THE GREATER GOOD; REVEALING THE TRUTH

    TIME PERIOD

    Future

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE MATRIX, TOTAL RECALL, HARDWIRED, GHOST IN THE SHELL

    CHARACTER LIST

    COLE WESTBAY: 30S. LEAD. INTELLIGENT. COURAGEOUS. DETERMINED. ROMANTIC.

    TESLA: 30S. COLE'S FIANCE. NARCISSISTIC. SMART. CHARMING. INTENSE.

    EVA: 30S. COLE'S NEW LOVE INTEREST. BUBBLY. ENDEARING. HONORABLE. WARM.

    LOUNIS: COLE'S BOSS AND CLOSE FRIEND. WEALTHY. SELF-SERVING. COMPLEX.

    PHILLIP CHESTNUT: THE ANTAGONIST WHO WANTS TO KILL COLE. AGGRESSIVE. SKILLED. VIOLENT. MASCULINE.

    KASIA: THE WOMAN WHO RUNS THE HOME WHERE COLE IS WELCOMED AFTER LOSING HIS LIFELOG AND CHIP. BRAVE. AUTHENTIC. SNARKY. HEROIC.

    Logline

    Desperate to recover his stolen memories, Cole relies on a renegade group to unravel an assassination plot before they kill him first. A fast-paced sci-fi thriller infusing complex characters with rapidly growing technology threatening to drag society into a cyberpunk-like surveillance state.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Madison WI

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Self-published

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    Dr. Cole Westbay has been a driving force behind the neurochip that revolutionized the world. When his company is accused of being behind a series of recent deaths, Cole investigates to clear their name. Instead, he ends up attacked, with no memory of recent events and his neurochip destroyed.

    Ending Description

    Cole shoots the Federal Department of Fidelity's Agent, stopping him and uncovering the government plot to assassinate undesirables, implicating the White House. He saves his love interest in the process, but one of his closest friends is killed.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-0-578-84622-4

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth,Overcoming Monster/Villain,Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: Cole Westbay

    Age: 32

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Modest,Decisive,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Romantic,Skillful,Selfless,Complex,Engaging,Desperate

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Tesla Carrick

    Age: 31

    Gender: Female

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Confident,Engaging,Faithful,Heartthrob,Leader,Unapologetic,Secretive,Skillful,Blunt,Sexy,Narcisstic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Phillip Chestnut

    Age: 45

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Villainous,Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Patriotic,Blunt,Skillful,Secretive,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Eva Spangler

    Age: 30

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Sexy,Modest,Empathetic,Confident,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Romantic,Selfless,Skillful,Funny,Badass

    Development Pitch

    Effacement would make a compelling movie or streaming mini-series with potential for episodic expansion. The story is timely in dealing with ever increasing technology and the lack of personal privacy and the accelerating toxic political environment that could lead to a cyberpunk-like surveillance state. The story moves quickly with plenty of action conveyed by complex but relatable and attractive characters. The women are strong and extremely competent, and the men are serious and deadly. The story has a rich character arc for the two main characters, and an action-filled plot sequence that will satisfy men and woman. It has a touch of romance and delves into relationship issues that make it relatable to both sexes. The story is set in the not-too-distant future making for an easy film shoot, with only minor tech upgrades that can be added in. The dialogue is spicy and fun. It even has dogs in it. Who doesn't like dogs? The story also has an upbeat ending, despite the death of one of the major characters.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, THRILLER, DRAMA, POLITICS

    Brief

    Cole Westbay works for BioNarratus, a cutting-edge company that's made having neurochips that log every moment of your life the norm. After he discovers that the chips make it possible to assassinate people, Cole is attacked and his own chip is removed. Because not having a lifelog is a crime, Cole must go on the run. He uncovers the conspiracy behind the chip glitch, finds new love, and manages to survive with his life as he shares the truth.

    Overall Rating

    EXCELLENT

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Romance is a large and meaningful part of this book, and it feels as if the Book Profile does not accurately reflect that aspect of the project. Otherwise, the Profile is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    This is a well written book with a brilliant premise. A lot of research obviously went into this project, and the precise and smart writing style is what immediately drew me into the story.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The way Cole immediately thinks of Eva as a romantic interest is a bit off-putting, especially because he has a fiance. At the very least, it would feel more realistic for Cole to experience more guilt over these feelings as soon as he begins having them. Currently, it doesn’t seem as if Cole really cares for Tesla at all, which makes it hard to believe these two people would have been together to begin with. It would also make more sense for Cole to break things off with Tesla earlier in the book.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The cutting-edge premise is the hook of this movie. The world of these characters is immersive and well imagined. The realistic portrayal of near-future technology will intrigue viewers.

    Fanbase Potential

    If adapted, this film would certainly appeal to fans of the science fiction genre, as well as viewers who enjoy romance and action. This is a film for adult audiences though, so it would likely not draw in younger viewers.

    Awards Potential

    Because this film feels more like a big-budget summer blockbuster, it probably wouldn't have Awards potential.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THE MATRIX, TOTAL RECALL

    What’s New About the Story

    The futuristic technology in this story is incredibly fresh and original. Kasia's character and her safe house are original as well. Cole's character is quite stereotypical though, as are his romantic entanglements. Making Cole a deeper and more emotionally nuanced man would make this story feel more unique.

    Lead Characters

    Tesla's determination and sheer intelligence makes her stand out. Eva's bright, bubbly nature makes her jump off the page. Cole's ability to remain calm and stay one step ahead makes him stand out.

    Uniqueness of Story

    For fans of futuristic sci-fi with a technological focus, this is absolutely a rare gem. However, the romantic elements are not as strong, meaning that this book might not appeal to readers who don't enjoy the sci-fi genre.

    Possible Formats

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

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    Some elements of this book are pitch-perfect, but the more emotional details could use improvement. It's worth considering this book regardless for the premise and writing though.

    Brief

    When a man who works for a company specializing in neurochips wakes up confused with his own chip missing, he must piece together a vast conspiracy, all while navigating his crumbling relationship and a newfound love. He uncovers a glitch in the chips that is killing its users, and he must examine the people he trusts in order to discover the truth behind the murderous plot.

    What We Liked

    This project reads like a fast-paced action movie and dives into deep, thoughtful examinations of technology and the dangers of being online at all times. It is an excellent sci-fi offering that features empathetic and nuanced characters. The focus on romantic relationships broadens the appeal of this project and makes it even more enticing as a possible adaptation. Confident writing and excellent research brings this story to life in a pleasing way.

    Film: This project has a clear and satisfying beginning, middle, and ending. The pace is fast and in many ways, the book provides a perfect outline for a film script. It's easy to imagine an action hero enjoying the role of Cole, and the diverse supporting cast made up largely of women makes this an even easier pitch.

    TV: This project sets up an incredibly immersive and interesting world. While the first book perfectly lays out a first season of a TV show, there is definitely a lot more about this universe to explore. Seasons of television would allow viewers to fully lose themselves in the world of this story.

    Key points: Excellent premise. Engaging characters. Sharp and well researched writing. Fast, thrilling pace. Likable supporting characters.

    Synopsis

    We meet Phil Chestnut, an agent for the Federal Department of Fidelity, as he ponders an assassination plan that is going wrong. He meets with Slater, the code writer of the plan, and tries to decide how to fix things. He urges Slater to fix the code, but Slater claims it’s not something he can do quickly. Phil kills Slater and makes it look like a suicide.

    Meanwhile, Cole Westbay wakes up in bed with a head wound and no idea what has happened to him. He checks his head and finds that his Vitasync chip has been ripped out. Readers learn that the world’s technology has progressed. When people see each other in public, they see their icons, or quints. Chips make phones and other devices unnecessary. Everyone is plugged in all the time. Cole asks his neighbor to call the police so Cole can report the theft and assault, but when the cop arrives, he arrests Cole for not having his lifelog online.

    Two weeks earlier, Cole meets with his boss, Lounis, and is offered a promotion. Cole doesn’t want to take it. He wants to stay in the lab and do hands-on work, but Lounis persuades him into saying yes. At least Cole’s assistant, Kathy, will go with him to the new office.

    At home a week later, Cole plans a romantic dinner for his anniversary with his partner, Tesla. When she gets home, she tells him she already made other plans. When games are involved, Tesla doesn’t care about anything else. Cole is left alone and angry. Tesla has promised him marriage and children for years, but he’s beginning to doubt that it’s ever going to happen.

    At work, readers learn that Phil Chestnut is connected to Cole through his boss. Lounis says that Chestnut wants his company (BioNarratus) to work with the FDF and now even Lounis’ own daughter, Max, wants to make the deal. Lifelogging has made Chestnut’s job easy, but he and the other agents at the FDF want even more access. On the way to lunch, Lounis drops another bombshell on Cole: He’s being tested for possible prostate cancer.

    Cole also ponders removing his own chip, as he learns that some high-level users have recently died after installing the newest chip. He calls Tesla and tells her that he fears the new patch is killing people. She and her team worked on the patch, so she doesn’t think Cole should reveal what he’s found. He plans to tell Lounis the next day, but Max stabs him with a syringe after learning what he’s uncovered and he doesn’t get the chance.

    Max calls Tesla and reveals that she had to drug Cole because he’s in danger. At Cole’s condo, Max tells Tesla that she trusted the wrong people. They reveal Cole’s chip in order to keep him safe and make the event look like a robbery so as to throw others off their trail. The next day, Tesla waits outside and follows the police car as it drives away with Cole in handcuffs.

    Lounis beats Tesla to the punch though and bails Cole out of jail. He drives him home and gives him some money. Cole still isn’t sure what’s happened to him because Tesla and Max wiped his memory log. In the hallway, Tesla runs to Cole and hugs him. She plays dumb and tells Cole that she was in the lab during the attack. She helps Cole clean up his place and tells him she has a meeting to get to. Max and Tesla meet up and Max tells Tesla that Chestnut wants Cole dead. She saved him by removing his chip, but Chestnut is still pushing her to take him out so that he doesn’t remember his discovery about the faulty chips and reveal it to the public. Max reveals that she had Rita, another employee, write code that would give Chestnut and his team access without Lounis’ permission. Rita’s code failed though, and now it’s killing people.

    When Cole wakes up, he sets out on a mission to buy glasses that will help him interface with the world. The selection at the store isn’t good, but an attractive woman named Eva offers to help him find a pair at the halfway house where she works with people who have been disconnected. Cole turns her down and buys a pair at the store, but Eva gives Cole her info. She tells him that she does lawyer work too. He decides to keep her in mind. With his glasses on, he heads to BioNarraturus. At work, Cole is unable to find out what he’d been working on before the attack. His desk drawers have been empty. Cole visits the doctor and learns that while the damage from losing his chip requires a specialist, he doesn’t have any lasting brain damage. After leaving the doctor, Cole runs into Wyatt, a reporter who wants to do an exclusive story on him. According to Wyatt, someone close to Cole had tipped him off to Cole’s story.

    Cole does some digging and begins to suspect that Tesla is involved in what happened to him. While leaving, reporters swarm Cole and Eva, the woman from the glasses store, picks him up and drives away. She takes him to the halfway house where she works; it is safe there. At the house, Eva introduces Cole to Kasia, who runs the place. She shows Cole around. The house is a haven free from technology.

    A call from the doctor confirms that someone interfered with Cole’s memory. His attack was planned. Cole finds Kasia and she tells him the secret mission of her facility: they use surrogates to mimic lifelogs for people who choose to live off the grid. It’s not legal, but according to Kasia, more and more people are getting tired of being tracked and the surrogates get paid well and make an off-the-grid lifestyle possible. Kasia shows Cole how the surrogates’ footage is edited and added to lifelogs and he runs into Eva again. Cole is still incredibly drawn to her. She tells him that she met Kasia at a rehab clinic. She’s a Fugue addict (an addictive psychotrope) and an alcoholic. It doesn’t make Cole think differently of her. Eva takes Cole to meet Chen, who helps him with his damaged port. Cole schedules surgery to repair his port and hopefully get his lifelog running again. Eva also agrees to represent Cole in his court case.

    Back with Phil Chestnut, he kills Dave, the man who sold Cole his glasses, and continues tracking Cole and Eva down. It’s clear that Phil is a deadly and determined man. Eva offers to keep Cole company before his surgery. He accepts. He calls Tesla to check in. She is close to figuring out why the new code is killing people, but she isn’t sure what she’ll do when she does. Cole is uncharacteristically short with her, which upsets her. She still doesn’t know where he is. Cole agrees to meet with Wyatt, the journalist, in order to find out what he knows. Wyatt tells Cole that Max tipped him off, which leads Cole to believe that Max is indeed behind his attack. Eva picks Cole up after the interview and they share a first kiss. Cole believes it’s a mistake though. He is, after all, still an engaged man. Meanwhile, Phil zeroes in on Tesla as a problem, and Tesla finishes decoding the issues with the code. She realizes the code was a purposeful tool for assassination. Tesla calls Cole and begs him not to get his chip replaced, so he cancels the surgery. He also realizes that he doesn’t love Tesla anymore though.

    Tesla and Cole agree to meet at IHOP to discuss the code. Eva joins as Cole’s attorney. When Chestnut shows up, Eva and Cole flee to an old house where they spend a lovely evening shooting at targets. Afterwards, Cole spends some time at a surrogate event with Kasia. Again, Chestnut shows up and he must flee. This time, Cole crashes a snowmobile and experiences some injuries. While recovering, Cole meets with Tesla. When he learns that her life has been threatened too, he brings her back to the safehouse with Kasia. The next day, Cole learns that Rita, the programmer, has been assassinated. With his court case rapidly approaching, Cole meets with an FBI agent. Eva attends the meeting with him. Back with Kasia, FDF agents search CAD, but Kasia thought ahead and already moved the patients and surrogates to a safe house.

    Tesla goes to work to try and get Cole’s lifelog working before his court appearance the next day. She is intercepted by FBI agent’s looking to interview her about Rita’s untimely death. When Tesla gets back to the safe house, Cole breaks up with her. She is angry and heartbroken. Cole feels conflicted, but he knows he’s not in love with Tesla anymore. The next day, Cole goes to court with new glasses that mimic a lifelog product. He is found guilty in the eyes of the law, but he only has to pay a fine. Cole and Eva manage to slip out and avoid the press. They play Scrabble and flirt, but they’re interrupted by the news that Chestnut has arrested Kasia.

    Eva and Cole go to meet with Lounis. He tells them that he will roll back the deadly patch. Cole and Eva then go to see Max. They learn that Tesla has been working with the FBI. Max finally tells Cole the truth about everything she’s done. She tearfully apologizes to him. Meanwhile, Tesla tracks Chestnut’s lifelog and realizes that he is headed towards Max’s house. When he arrives, it is revealed that Lounis is with him. Lounis and Chestnut have been working together all along. Lounis has been offered a cabinet seat by Chestnut, so he’s chosen to side with him. Chestnut starts killing Max by using the assassination option on her chip. Lounis begs him to stop. Chaos breaks out as Cole shoots Chestnut and Chestnut shoots Eva. Lounis, Cole, and Max’s butler pull the chip from Max’s head in an effort to save her life.

    Miraculously, Chestnut, Max, and Eva all survive the initial incident, but Eva is in a coma and Max ends up dying in the hospital. Tesla comes to tell Cole the news. As Kasia and Cole discuss the future, Eva wakes up. In the end, Lounis testifies on Cole’s behalf, a new CEO is appointed in Lounis’ place, and Eva and Cole are together and in love.

    About The Author

    Hieronymus retired in 2018 after flying jets for the Air Force. He has a B.S. in Economics from the US Air Force Academy, and in 2015, he completed an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, which inspired him to publish his debut novel, a sci-fi thriller that explores futuristic technology and nuanced personal relationships.