Saturday, August 07, 2010

Another book idea falling from the sky

Another passage from the news that qualifies as the premise for a novel. (In this case, understandably so, since the reporter is also a novelist.)
In the following months, snow wreaked havoc on (Moscow) whenever it fell. In three separate instances, drivers drivers of snow-clearing vehicles were shot at when they collided with other vehicles; one of the drivers, shot by an off-duty police officer, died. Even without snow, the movement of cars through the circular maze of Moscow was incredibly frustrating. During rush hour on an overcast, slippery day in late February, the luxury Mercedes of a vice-president of Lukoil, the country's largest oil company, collided at high speed with a small Citroën. The occupants of the Mercedes escaped with superficial injuries; the Citroën crumpled like a paper bag, and the driver and her daughter-in-law -- both doctors -- were killed. The accident exploded into scandal. ...
-- From "Stuck" by Keith Gessen, in the Aug. 2, 2010 New Yorker
All you have to do is add the suggestion that one of the doctors -- the young, pretty one -- was carrying secret information, perhaps something about a Soviet-era nerve gas stockpile up for sale to the highest bidder, and you have all the ingredients for a thriller; it writes itself. And I haven't even included all the other color with which Gessen opens the article, such as the scene where an ambulance driver just pulls over and starts aimlessly throwing snowballs because he's been stick in a traffic jam so long that the patient he's been transporting has died. Of course, that would have to figure into the thriller plot too, because in a thriller (A) Everything not action is atmospheric, and (B) Even atmospheric details are somehow connected to the conspiracy at the heart of the thriller's plot. Like I say, it writes itself.


The desert 'love lost lawyer'
The lonely Brinks stockroom man
The sacrificial lambs of Presbyterian College
"The Extra Man"

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