Thriller

Please note, you are free to use these story ideas however you so desire. You can take them in their entirety and build on them, use them as sources of inspiration or even cannibalize them for spare story parts.

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Only the Strong Survive

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Tells the story of Michael Strenton, a hunter who is abandoned in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. He is pushed off a cliff and left to die by his best-friend, Clay Jeckle, who mistakenly thought that his wife and Michael had been having an affair. With a shattered leg, he is forced to travel across five hundred miles of desolate environments, his hunting hound, Jasper, his only companion.

 

As he travels, he reminisces on his childhood, when he met Clay and his wife, Trisha, for the first time. He also recalls his time in the Vietnam War as well as his dispute with his son, a homosexual, whom he has not seen for several years. After enduring several obstacles, including losing Jasper to a bear attack, he comes across Clay's body at the bottom of a ravine, and realizes that he had driven off a cliff from guilt.

 

He gives him a proper burial, remembering all their years of friendship. Lying beside the grave, he prepares to die beside his friend. However, moments later he is found by a helicopter crew who reveal that they are a search party.

 

He learns that in Clay’s final moments he texted Trisha, asking for forgiveness and telling her that Michael was in danger. As he recovers in hospital, Michael finally phones his son and invites him and his husband over for thanksgiving, intent on making things right.

Claustrophobia

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Tells the story of Hank Jacobson, an African-American miner who is trapped underground with his worst enemy, his dictatorial white boss, Mr Earle Lockhart, following a cave-in. Set in 1952 and dealing with class disputes and racial prejudices, the book follows Hank's attempts to find a way out of the collapsed mine and keep Lockhart alive, after discovering that he has a concussion and internal injuries.

 

As they journey together, they learn that they have more similarities than previously thought. Hank reveals that he has a daughter in desperate need of an organ transplant and was in the mine on his day-off to ask for a loan for the surgery. Mr Lockhart tells Hank about his rough upbringing at the hands of his racist, abusive grandfather. They travel through geode filled caves and pitch-black rivers, searching for a way out.

 

Finally, they emerge in a desolate, crumbling mine that was abandoned decades ago. They struggle up the embankment and half-walk, half-crawl towards the mining camp. As they near the settlement, Mr. Lockhart falls unconscious, after giving Hank his hidden supply of water. Hank carries Mr. Lockhart to the camp and collapses as medics arrive.

 

He wakes up in the hospital alongside Mr. Lockhart, who tells him that he was wrong about Hank before passing away. The doctor later reveals that Mr. Lockard has offered to donate his working organs to Hank's daughter, which saves her life. At Mr. Lockhart's funeral, Hank and his daughter attend and he speaks of the ultimate sacrifice he received, how his own racial prejudice prevented him from opening up to his boss, before vowing to make the most of the life that Mr Lockhart gave him and his daughter.

The Conman's Monastery

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Tells the tale of Felix Sadanté, whose real name is Robert Dessinger, an Italian/Spanish con-man who, through a series of accidents, becomes the head of a monastery in Tibet. It is revealed that he originally went there to con the head monk out of a solid gold Buddha figurine, but the head monk saw his true nature and made him in charge, before leaving to "complete his journey". Deciding to honour the old man's request until he can think of a way to steal the figurine without getting caught, he comes to know the monks of the monastery.

 

He meets the former catholic, Tepca; the unsure acolyte Sonam; and a helpful but troubled girl from the village, Indira. After facing several challenges such as an avalanche, a fire and a Chinese official wanting the treasures of the monastery, Felix comes to enjoy living and working in the monastery. However, a rival con-man, Dominique Le Gardé, appears, who exposes Felix and swindles the monks in selling all of the treasure for a fraction of its value, taking advantage of their confusion.

 

Felix leaves in order to start again as a con-man but Sonam and Indira, who have become lovers following Felix’s advice to follow their hearts, stop him and  remind him about his purpose in life and how happy he was in the monastery. Returning to the monastery, Felix cons Dominique out of the treasure, before kicking him out of the monastery. Dominique, whilst leaving meets the previous head monk, who he tries to swindle, but who makes him become his acolyte instead after exposing his insecurities and faults.

 

The previous head monk then briefly reappears to tell Felix that he was glad he chose him. He explains that he saw through Felix the moment he arrived, but also saw the good in him which was deeply hidden. The head monk leaves once more to continue his journey, accompanied by a repentant Dominique. Felix begs forgiveness from the other monks, who forgive him and rename him head monk, safe in the knowledge that he will do his best for them and the monastery.

Syn

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Tells the story of Alanso Esquard, a photo-journalist for Exposé, a Brazilian magazine dedicated towards rooting out corruption. The story begins with him photographing a recently unearthed Norte Chico settlement, which was much further north than was previously believed possible, due to the suspicion that it was being used as a drug cartel stronghold. Alanso had specifically requested the assignment as he had once belonged to the cartel where he had worked as a drug mule when he was a kid, before being saved by the creator of Exposé, Ricardo.

 

While investigating the settlement he is joined by American/Brazilian journalist, Emma Cook who is trying to get the scoop for her travel magazine, Explore. Alanso soon discovers a concealed entrance to a large underground temple, but the cartel becomes aware of their presence and give chase, forcing them to escape into the temple. Travelling through the temple, they encounter several traps, members of the cartel and uncover an ancient secret about the Norte Chico civilization.

 

It is revealed that the civilization had no wars or conflicts, and lived in a constant state of peace and relaxation, and that this was because of the wide-spread use of a calming drug. Alanso learns that this drug is currently being processed and sold by the cartel under the name, Synthesis (Syn), which calms people to near comatose levels. They also discover that the vice editor in chief of Exposé, Sal Vasquez, is working with the leader of the cartel.

 

He has been using the magazine to expose and destroy the other cartels (their business rivals), and that a hit had been ordered on Ricardo, as he had become a potential threat. In the main sacrificial altar room, Alanso confronts the leader of the cartel, Treyo, who has used a new compound of Syn which causes vivid hallucinations, and is trying to sacrifice Emma, believing that doing so will grant him supernatural powers. Using a pure, concentrated form of Syn that he had stolen earlier, Alanso forces Treyo to overdose, becoming catatonic as his nervous system slows dramatically.

 

It is later revealed that this is the reason why the Norte Chico died out; their addiction to Syn caused many to overdose to the point where they just laid down and stopped moving. Alanso and Emma are able to destroy the Syn stockpile, and rush back to Exposé, arriving just in time to thwart the assassination attempt and save Ricardo. In the aftermath, Sal and the cartel are rounded up and arrested, while Emma takes a position at Exposé, working with Alanso to get rid of the Syn drug everywhere.

In Cold Blood

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Weaves the story of Annabel Summers, a woman charged with the murder of her abusive husband after she was found with a bloody knife near his body. However she insists that there was an intruder who stabbed him and that she was trying to save him. She is defended by a former classmate, new lawyer, Timothy Bordell, who secretly loved her for years, who tries to prove her innocence.

 

The story shuffles back and forth between Timothy and Susan Black, Timothy's assistant who likes him and distrusts Annabel; and Annabel's life before the murder. It is slowly revealed that her husband was cheating on her with another woman, who was pregnant with his child; and that the woman's boyfriend discovered the infidelity and killed her and Annabel's husband. After discovering this evidence, Timothy is able to get an innocent verdict.

 

However, in the end, while speaking to the real murderer, he discovers the fact that Annabel had been poisoning her husband for months and that during the attack he had been weakened by the poison, leaving him unable to fight back. Timothy realizes that no tox-screen had been performed due to the nature of his death. Putting the pieces together, Timothy realizes Annabel had actually grown impatient with the poison and had gone there to finish the job, only to find him already dying.

 

Upon finding him she removed the knife, which was the only thing keeping him from bleeding to death, before watching him die. Timothy races to catch her, but she coldly informs him that he was useful to her and that she used his past affection for her own gain. She also explains that she cannot be tried for the same crime twice, due to double jeopardy. Timothy is forced to let her go, with Susan comforting him.

Adrift

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Tells the tale of Jake T. Grumman, a high-school student who is the stereotypical jock (although he does have a sensitive side, he has repressed it after seeing his very religious and demanding father disown his homosexual older brother); and Nemo Fitzgerald, a nerdy boy who struggles to fit in with his adoptive family. The duo are on a school field trip aboard the S.S Hildegarde in the Caribbean, when a prank pulled by Jake and his friends goes wrong, sending Jake and Nemo overboard.

 

Jake's friends say nothing to the crew, however, as they fear punishment. Meanwhile, Jake and Nemo are washed up on an uncharted island. Initially hostile towards one another, they decide to split up, until events force them together. After several trials, they form an uneasy truce, with Nemo using his extensive knowledge in conjunction with Jake's physical strength and stamina.

 

However, just as they finally become friends, Jake's fears of his father resurface and they fight, causing them to split up once more. Unfortunately, a massive storm is en route, which Jake is unaware of and Nemo unable to do anything about.

In the end, just before the storm strikes, they reconcile and work together to build a shelter capable of withstanding the storm. As the storm clears, the S.S. Hildegarde appears on the horizon; Jake's friends having finally relented and told the truth.

 

After their safe return, Jake confronts his father about his irrational hatred of homosexuals, and makes him reconcile with his older brother. Nemo stops trying so hard to be the son he thinks his adoptive parents want, and he starts acting like himself, which is what they wanted all along. Jake and Nemo remain good friends, forever linked by the experiences they shared.

Wings of Steel

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Set during the Iraq war, and follows the exploits of Captain Jane Thompson, an African-American woman who has just arrived in Iraq. Her arrival is met with hostility, as she is taking over for the late Captain Sheffield who was respected by his comrades and staff alike. Slowly, Jane begins to earn the squadron’s trust, while their carrier nears its new area of operation. However, during a battle, Jane is shot down by friendly fire.

 

She survives, but suffers from nerve damage to her hands as a result. Not wanting to lose her hard-won position, she lies about her injury and continues flying. Eventually, her injury is discovered after she almost crashes during a test flight. She is grounded until the doctor can clear or discharge her. However, later that day, a massive fleet is detected heading towards their position, forcing them to send out all jets except Jane’s and Lieutenant Forrest’s, the man who shot her down.

 

Lieutenant Forrest was Captain Sheffield's student and friend, and had been promised his position after he died, which caused friction between him and Jane. He is unable to join the sortie as he is still under investigation for the friendly fire incident. Unbeknownst to the carrier, the attacking fleet is a diversion, and the main force is en route to take out the carrier. The enemy attack from the air, quickly disabling the anti-air guns. Remorseful for his actions, Forrest breaks Jane out of the hospital and helps her get into her plane. Together, they launch and begin fighting back.

 

However, during the battle, Jane's condition acts up, allowing an enemy fighter to get a missile lock on her. Forrest apologizes to her over the intercom for his actions, stating that Captain Sheffield would have been appalled with him, before flying into the enemy plane, killing them both and saving Jane. On the horizon, Jane sees a large aerial force, and, thinking that it is enemy reinforcements, prepares to engage them alone. However, it is revealed to be her squadron, who turned back once they realized the ruse. Together, they scatter the remaining enemy forces and save the carrier. In the end, Jane and her comrades give Forrest an honourable send-off and prepare to take to the skies once more...

The Sorrowful Tale of Kimberley Greenway

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Weaves the tale of Kimberly Greenway, a high-school freshman and soccer ace who is accused by her coach of taking performance drugs to help her keep up in class and on the field. However, a mean-spirited girl spreads the story throughout the school, greatly embarrassing Kim. She is sent to a drug rehab centre, where she meets Jeremy White, a strange boy who is in the centre for abusing his anti-psychosis medication. While receiving counselling, Kimberly grows closer to Jeremy, sharing her story and her situation at school. When it is time for her to leave, Kimberly tells Jeremy that they will stay in touch.

 

Upon arriving back at school, Kimberly is openly mocked for her drug use, until the people who made fun of her start disappearing. After a few more disappearances, Kim is contacted by a hooded Jeremy, who tells her that he will take care of her by removing everyone who made her sad. The police are called in, and Kimberly is forced to tell them about Jeremy. After two more murders, Kim is attacked by the hooded man, who tells her that they can be together now.

 

She tries to reason with him, calling him Jeremy, but he laughs at her attempts, before revealing himself to be Ethan, a fellow patient at the rehab centre. Ethan reveals that he used drugs to suppress his schizophrenia and that he had been in the same middle school as her and had fallen in love with her. After she left the rehab centre, he had forced Jeremy to tell him everything about school and her bullies. He then knocked Jeremy out before smuggling him out of the centre, making it look as if Jeremy had escaped.

 

In fear, Kim rejects Ethan, who becomes psychotic and violent. He tries to kill her so that she will belong to him forever, when Jeremy suddenly appears and saves her. He quickly explains that Ethan had locked him up so that he could fake Jeremy's death and "save" Kim from the killer. However, Ethan had grown impatient, and had left to confront Kim directly, telling Jeremy that she would accept him, one way or another. The two men fight, with Ethan gaining the upper hand. However, just as he is about to kill Jeremy, Kim attacks him, killing him. With Ethan dead and Jeremy still implicated for the other murders, Jeremy tries to leave Kim and escape. However, seeing how her life is unpleasant and that Jeremy is the only one who truly loves and understands her, she goes with him, as they escape into the night…

Alone

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Tells the story of Rachel Stanton, the step-daughter of politician Reese Stanton who her mother remarried after her father left them, before dying in a car accident. Rachel, a stereotypical spoiled princess, is abducted on her way home from school, and is taken to a remote cabin in the American wilderness, where she meets two children: Mary and Simon Cygnus, the children of oil tycoon Bernard Cygnus.

 

Her kidnappers demand ransoms for all three, but Reese refuses to negotiate with them, while Bernard and his wife, Edith, desperately try to raise enough money. However, one of the kidnappers accidentally lets slip that the children will be killed even if the money is paid, as they had accidentally learnt the kidnapper’s identities. With no other choice, Rachel takes the kids and escapes into the wilderness, with the kidnappers in pursuit.

 

As they struggle to survive in the dangerous environment, Rachel learns about her inner strength, and the weight of responsibility. In the end, it is revealed that Reese planned the kidnapping in order to boost his approval ratings for his re-election, and that his image as a grieving father would be very beneficial to his presidential campaign. He had loved Rachel's mother, but had never wanted kids. Mary and Simon were kidnapped to teach Bernard a lesson, who had recently refused to back Reese's campaign and had started moving away from oil to renewable energy sources, which angered Reese's other oil-dependent backers.

 

However, Rachel is able to use her newfound strength and confidence to expose Reese to the world, and safely delivers Mary and Simon home. Now homeless and orphaned, Rachel tries to start a new life, but is surprised when Bernard offers to adopt her, revealing that Mary and Simon were likewise adopted since Edith could not bear children. Moved by the couple's love for children not even related to them, Rachel accepts, and finally regains the loving family she had lost.

The Prince's Kidnapper

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Set in the present, the story centres on Ryan Locke, a CIA agent who is sent to the middle eastern nuclear kingdom of Altistan. Altistan’s king, Shreik, is threatening to go to war with his long-time enemy, Wadi, and is prepared to use nuclear weapons. In response, the CIA sends Locke and several other agents into the country to kidnap Khain, Shreik’s son and heir to the throne.

 

After successfully kidnapping the boy, they hide out in an abandoned town, until negotiations with Shreik break down. Unwilling to allow Shreik to use nuclear weapons, the US prepares to invade Altistan and tells Ryan to eliminate Khain in order to send a message to Shreik. However, having bonded with the boy, Ryan instead helps him escape, going rogue.

 

The duo are chased by both Ryan’s team and the kingdom’s special forces across the country, ultimately leading to them being cornered. However, at that moment, it is announced that Shreik has been assassinated; which was secretly set up by Ryan after he learned that Shreik had been abusing Khain. Khain, the new king, declares that the war is over and tells his men to stand down, and Ryan does the same to his team. In the aftermath, Ryan resigns from the CIA and takes on a new position: the head of the royal guard, determined to help Khain become a better man than his father...

The Me that I Never Knew

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Tells the story of Aldrich Scott, a 25 year old electrician who has a complacent relationship with his girlfriend, Debbie, and a job that pays the rent. However, during a wiring installation he is accidentally electrocuted. He comes to his senses 10 years later (which is later revealed to be due to a small shock he received whilst changing a lightbulb), and discovers that he is now a lawyer named Richard with a wife, Samantha, who was his childhood crush, and that they have a son and daughter, Arthur and Megan.

 

Trying to make sense of everything he tracks down Debbie and learns that he returned from the wiring job a different person, breaking up with her and quitting his job. Confused, Aldrich meets with his parents where he learns the truth: when he was a child he suffered from schizophrenia and had a split personality. Richard, his other half, was outgoing and sociable but caused a lot of damage during his outbursts. Aldrich’s parents subjected him to electroshock therapy in order to treat him, which subconsciously led him to becoming an electrician, due to Richard trying to reverse the process.

 

It successfully sealed away Richard for 15 years until the accidental electrocution undid everything, freeing Richard who then took over and resumed acting in accordance to his ten year old self’s dreams: become a lawyer, marry his childhood crush, live by the ocean. In a ground-breaking case, Aldrich sues Richard for disrupting his life and tries to get the court to overturn an earlier directive Richard had written which prevents any sort of electrotherapy to be used on him.

 

Aldrich reveals that he wants to use an inter-medullary shock to permanently erase Richard. During the case, however, Aldrich comes to understand that Richard is not a malignant entity and that he was merely trying to accomplish Aldrich’s subconscious dreams by leaving his loveless relationship and unfulfilling job for something better. Wanting to give control back to Richard, he leaves the courtroom and runs outside during a lightning storm and is struck. Waking up, he realizes that Aldrich and Richard have merged into one being, and that he is finally free to live the life he had always wanted to was too insecure to pursue…

Army of One

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Tells the story of private Ernest Vivet, an otherwise ordinary soldier who is selected to be the test subject for Project Legion, a secret government project in which the skills of a hundred top soldiers (known collectively as the Legion) and agents are implanted into the mind of one person, turning them into a literal army of one.

Ernest, desiring to be extraordinary and prove his disapproving family wrong, agrees. Initial results seem promising, with Ernest displaying several new skills and techniques. However, it soon becomes apparent that he has also inherited the memories and personalities of the hundred soldiers, a possible side-effect that the scientists did not explain. While struggling to remain in control, the military sees the experiment as a success and deploys Ernest to the front lines.

Six months later, Ernest goes home for a psych evaluation after an accident that costs the lives of two of the Legion. Ernest begins to suspect that one of his personalities has gone rogue and travels to the home of Sergeant Nadine Winters, a hand to hand combat specialist and one of the Legion whose personality he has grown close to. While traveling with her to the Project's headquarters, they visit several more of the Legion and discover that someone has been systematically killing them. As Ernest's personalities realize that their originals have been killed, they too die, unable to deal with the sudden existential crisis thrust upon them.

Eventually they realize that one of the Legion was killed before the project began and was replaced by an ex-soldier named Casper, who was thus named due to his pale appearance, bearing the nickname Casper the Unfriendly Ghost. Casper, formerly the best soldier in the army, was discharged after it was revealed that he had stage three stomach cancer. They travel to his home but find him dead, along with a video message in which he explains that he was originally to be the host of Project Legion before his cancer was diagnosed.

 

He killed one of the other candidates and impersonated them, thereby adding his mind to the neural scan. Once his mind was implanted inside Ernest, it began its takeover, forcing him to kill members of the Legion without his knowledge. At the same time, the real Casper began to systematically track down the other members of the Legion and kill them, knowing that their embedded personalities would die once they learnt of their real selves' death due to a crisis of existence. Casper explains that once he has complete control over Ernest he will have transcended his death and will be able to get his revenge on the army officials who ruined his life by discharging him due to his health.

Casper then surfaces and tries to kill Nadine, while Ernest is locked inside his own mind. He meets the remaining members of the Legion and they plan a counterattack, eventually facing down Casper's personality and, with the help of everyone's skills, destroying it. Ernest, overcome by the mental effort, falls unconscious.

Waking up, he hears the voice of Nadine (he believes it is merely her personality inside him) and they converse about everything. Opening his eyes, he sees the real Nadine and realizes that the other personalities have vanished. Together, they leave the hospital, looking forward to a normal future...

The Return

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Story tells of the discovery of a way to reverse persistent vegetative states and the first human trials involving 6 patients. The main character is Lauren Nielsen, the wife of one of the patients, Daniel, who was left severely brain damaged after a botched suicide attempt stemming from his combat PTSD. The lead doctor is Dr Munroe, who wants to first prove the cure before handing it over to the pharmaceutical companies. During the trial, the cure displays a 100% success rate, with Daniel waking up and quickly recovering.

 

While somewhat different than before, he is soon discharged and placed on a check in program to monitor his progress, along with the others who were treated. As the days pass, Lauren notices that Daniel's strange behaviour is increasing, leading to her following him one night and discovering that he is meeting with the other patients from the trial. During the meeting they discuss their successful return and that they must ensure that the cure is delivered to hospitals around the world, allowing "the rest" of them to awaken (it is left ambiguous if the returnees are still human or not).

 

When Lauren confronts Daniel about the meeting, he locks her in their basement, telling her that the man she loved was not the man who returned. Lauren is later rescued by Marshall, a close friend of Daniel's with whom she has been having an affair. Together they travel to the hospital, intent on destroying Dr Munroe's cure and stopping the return. They are confronted by the six patients but are able to escape thanks to Dr Munroe who had realized the truth after examining the before and after brainwaves of the 6 patients.

 

In the climax, Dr Munroe traps himself and 5 of the patients in his laboratory before setting fire to an oxygen canister, immolating them all along with the cure. Daniel confronts Lauren on the rooftop after Marshall had tried to hold him off and the two had disappeared fighting. Lauren apologizes for cheating on Daniel, and then sings Daniel's favourite song, knowing that it used to help him calm down when he was experiencing his PTSD flashbacks, distracting Daniel long enough for Marshall to reappear and knock him off of the roof. In the end, Lauren destroys the remaining records before paying her respects to Daniel. She leaves with Marshall, finally ready to move on with her life…

Cycle of Despair

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Tells the story of a white South African man, Johannes, growing up in the last vestiges of Apartheid. Johannes spends his time verbally abusing an elderly black man who often loiters around his parents' store. The black man's son, Sizwe, goes on to hate all whites (after seeing his father mistreated by everyone else) and enters into a life of crime, specifically targeting them.

Against all odds, Johannes falls in love with Sizwe's sister, Athandwa, and against his parents’ wishes, proposes to her.

However, their happiness is destroyed when she is killed in an eviction riot soon after.

Years later, Johannes has grown up to become a successful lawyer who finds Sizwe as his latest client. Sizwe was arrested for armed robbery but in truth he was actually framed by his friends, and they are initially distrustful of one another. The case is full of bickering and surprise revelations, including the reveal that Athandwa died protecting Sizwe from the police; and that Johannes witnessed Sizwe's father having a heart attack but did not help him.

 

As they work on the case they eventually realize that they act the way they do because of their parents teachings: Johannes' mother was very racist and told him that whites were superior to blacks, Sizwe's mother told him that white people were the cause of all of their problems, after his sister’s death. They realize that they hold so much in common, especially the fact that they both loved Sizwe's sister equally and want to be better men than they are.

Using his childhood story of love and discrimination, Johannes wins the trial and makes up with Sizwe, promising that they will both try and be better people. The book ends with their visit to Athandwa’s grave, where they both express how much they miss her and what she did for them…

Erin

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Tells the story of an amnesiac writer, Erin, who wakes up in a burning building in Oymyakon, Siberia. Escaping, she finds a manuscript for a book that she has no memory writing titled The Red Storm. As she heads towards civilization she begins having flashbacks which help to unravel the truth. She is chased by a man who claim that she was to write an in-depth biography on a famous Croatian general who was known by his moniker, The Red Storm. He committed countless atrocities against Serbs during Operation Storm but evaded persecution by faking his death.

Erin also discovers that her father, a renowned journalist, was killed by the general after he uncovered the general’s ruse and tracked him to the town of Oymyakon where he had been in hiding. Erin, following her father’s paper trail, had arrived soon after. Using both her investigations and her missing father’s notes, she was able to write an expose about the general.

Her amnesia is then revealed to be the result of a botched assassination, after the general sent an assassin to kill her and recover the manuscript. She had set the fire herself in order to escape the assassin, before finally succumbing to the assassin’s poison.

Pursued by the assassin she imitates a character of one of her earlier novels to survive and outwit her pursuers.

 

In the end she manages to make it to safety and publish the biography after tricking the general into confessing his identity, using her father's research to recreate the scene of the general's "death". Her actions help to put the general behind bars, where he will finally face judgment for his crimes; and she gains peace by catching her father's killer. Seeing how her work had helped the world, she decides to become a full time journalist and help those whose voices are not being heard…

So, a Pyromaniac, a Clown and an Irishman Walk into a Bar

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Tells story of three strangers (The Pyromaniac: Carlos Flambé; The Clown: Bozo, and the Irishman: Quinn O'Reilly) who are forced to work together after they witness the murder of a mayoral candidate, Seamus O'Grond, by unknown assailants.

The three men meet in a bar, The Lucky Leprechaun, after each has a disastrous day (Carlos, a pyrotechnician, accidentally set fire to his band's instruments and was kicked out; Bozo was booed off the stage at his comedy gig; and Quinn had a fight with his wife) and bond over their shared unhappiness.

 

However, as they are leaving, they stumble across the body of Seamus and are seen by his killers. The men, whilst still heavily intoxicated, must now evade their pursuers using their individual skills, find out who killed Seamus and try their best not to pass out.

With none of the police believing their story due to their drunken state they decide to head towards the town hall and tell the current mayor, Finn Hamidd, directly.

However, before they can see him, they witness him telling his security detail to hunt down and eliminate the men who witnessed Seamus's murder. It is revealed that Finn was afraid of losing the election to Seamus, who was gaining popularity, and so sought to have him killed.

Fleeing the hall, they slowly make their way to Quinn's home. Along the way, they learn more about one another. Carlos was almost killed in a fire, which started his fascination with flames, started by his psychotic mother when he was a child. His father received dangerous levels of smoke inhalation while carrying him out of the house and has been in a care facility ever since. After a few years Carlos ran away from his responsibilities as his father's carer due to the guilt and resentment.

Bozo tells them about his dark thoughts and creepy imagination that his parents tried to suppress through forced laughter therapy, which led to him becoming a clown in order to make them happy. Quinn tells them about his unhappy marriage and feelings of worthlessness, explaining that his wife berates him for never trying to make anything out of his life, which she blames on his cowardice and laziness.

Arriving at Quinn's house, they devise a plan to force Finn to confess to plotting Seamus's murder. They plan to use the electoral speech that Finn will be giving the next morning before voting begins. However, the next day they wake up with hangovers and realize that they have forgotten the plan. Racing back to the Lucky Leprechaun while evading Finn's men, they are able to become drunk once more and remember the plan.

As Finn is giving his speech, Bozo appears and starts telling a story about the ghost of Seamus who has appeared to drag Finn into hell, with Carlos providing the fire. Finn quickly panics as he has a long standing fear of clowns, before Quinn appears on the stage and accuses Finn of killing off Seamus; citing Finn's poor mayoral decisions and shady history, rallying the townsfolk behind him.

Overwhelmed, Finn confesses to the crime and is arrested.

In the aftermath, the three men share one last round at the pub. Carlos announces that he is returning to his home to look after his father, Bozo tells them has he has decided to become a horror writer and put his dark imagination to use and Quinn announces that he will be running for mayor once the election is restored, having found the courage to finally divorce his wife and make something of himself. Afterwards, they part ways, promising to meet again one day (with hopefully less danger to their lives).

The Fifth Horseman

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Tells the story of William, an intern reporter for a prestigious newspaper in Tromsø, Norway. While investigating the contents of a newly discovered cave, he accidentally awakens a trapped horseman of the apocalypse, Null, who was subdued by the other horsemen after he tried to end the world prematurely.

 

Leaving a dumbstruck William, Null attempts to continue his plan of destruction. While pondering what to do, an old man, Magnus, suddenly appears and tells William to seek out the other horsemen, who have been living amongst humans for millennia. If he can gather them and convince them to help, they may be able to stop Null. In an effort to stop William, Null sends the Nothingness, a semi-sentient entity which brings chaos and disorder.

 

Escaping from the Nothingness, William visits the newspaper’s office and steals the company credit card. Using it he travels to Mozambique to find Famine, who is masquerading as a teenage man tending to his father's farm. After convincing him, they head to New Zealand, to find War who is posing as a female cop). Finally, they head to China to find Pestilence, who is acting as the female CEO of a pharmaceutical company.

 

They manage to convince her but none of the horsemen know the location of Death. With Null’s doomsday plan almost in effect almost up, they head back to Norway in a desperate attempt to defeat Null. However, when they arrive, they are ambushed by the Nothingness, but are saved by Magnus, who receives a fatal wound protecting them. He reveals himself to be Death, and explains that he was working as a grave-digger nearby in order to keep an eye on Null’s prison.

 

Death judges William worthy and passes on his powers to him. However, at that point Null’s plan commences and he starts to destroy the world using the Nothingness. Summoning his steed, Corpus, William and the other horsemen ride out and after a fierce battle, are able to destroy Null and the Nothingness once and for all. After the battle, the others pay their respects and depart, before cryptically stating that William's life is about to become a lot more interesting. William returns to the news office, intent on publishing the story, but discards it at the last moment, deciding that some things are better left unknown...

The Life, Death and Undeath of Samuel Biron

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Tells the story of a broke, middle-aged, gambler, Samuel Biron, who lives in Las Vegas. Samuel has recently been fired from his job as a weatherman after he had a fit of rage on national television due to being told that he was to be replaced by a young, attractive woman with no credentials. After a bout of heavy drinking, he tries to break into his old news station and sabotage the equipment so that his replacement would be unable to work.

 

Unfortunately, while scaling the security fence he is electrocuted and dies cursing his life. However, instead of going to the afterlife, he awakens as a zombie, and soon discovers that all over the city others have done the same. It is later revealed to be due to an untested vaccine accidentally sprayed on a casino buffet.

 

He soon discovers that his new life is much better than his old one and proceeds to enjoy himself, living as a zombie without worrying about the rest of the world. As the number of zombies increase he discovers that his ex-girlfriend, Audrey Adaire, and her son, Sam, are trapped in his favourite casino, The Bokor Buffet & Casino. Convincing several of his friends who have also become zombies he sets out to rescue her. On the way he encounters a zealous businessman, Dom Petro, who has been telling all the zombies to attack humans and act like traditional zombies.

 

It is later revealed that Dom is actually still alive, and he has grown to like having power over others and was using the zombies to destroy his business rivals. Chased by Dom's zombies, Samuel arrives at the casino and helps Audrey and Sam escape whereupon Audrey tells him the truth: Sam is his son, and she came to Las Vegas in order to tell him. Samuel is initially shaken by the revelation but soon accepts the child as his own and decides to use his Undeath as a chance to start again with the boy.

 

Leaving the casino, Samuel discovers that the military is planning on wiping out the city after witnessing the destructive acts of the zombies caused by Dom's words. With time running out, Samuel faces down Dom and defeats him, before using his news station's broadcast array to simultaneously convince all of the zombies that they don't need to act violently in order to be heard. Minutes before the city is to be destroyed, Samuel and the united zombies are able to show the military that they are peaceful via a march down the Strip and the strike is aborted.

 

In the aftermath the government decides to give citizenship to the zombies and allow them to remain in the city, providing that they do no harm. In the epilogue, Samuel marries Audrey and starts up his own zombie news station, ZNN. They live in peace as the city becomes a haven for zombies and humans alike. In the end, Samuel muses that although his life wasn't great, he intends to live his death to the fullest.

The Healer

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Set in the near future in the war torn city of Karnak, which is in the midst of a civil war caused by the military coup of General Asrad, Roger Gelding is a paramedic working for the UN. However, due to the danger of getting in and out of the city, the ambulances will only go to cases that are in the safe zones (green = ambulance, yellow = helicopter, red = no go), have a high chance of surviving and that can afford it. One day, whilst monitoring the airwaves, he receives a red zone distress call from a mother, Amira, whose daughter, Layla, has been shot and is bleeding out.

 

At the same time, he receives a call that the General Asrad, in the yellow zone, whose son has twisted his ankle and needs to be extracted via airlift. Knowing that he will never get authorization to rescue the girl, Roger tells his partner, Kurt, that they are heading towards the general’s son. Instead, he crosses the border into the red zone, where the combatants will fire on anyone and no air support is available. When they reach Amira’s house, they head inside, with Kurt accusing Roger of lying to him.

 

As they are providing first aid to Layla, rebels destroy their ambulance with an RPG. Amira explains that the rebels are planning on storming the general’s base soon, and are getting rid of any threats, civilian or otherwise, that they come across. Carrying Layla, Roger and Kurt are forced to take the back roads out of the red zone. Layla, still bleeding, passes out, and the group stops to recuperate inside an abandoned building. Whilst watching over Layla, Kurt bonds with the young girl, telling her a story of when his son fell ill and had to be rushed to hospital. With Layla worsening, Kurt volunteers to transfuse his blood, being the only blood type match.

 

This works, although it leaves Kurt weakened. He tells Roger to leave him behind, but Roger refuses, stating that it was his fault and apologizes for tricking Kurt into helping him. Kurt reveals that he knew where they were going, as he had overheard Amira’s call. Nevertheless, Roger steals a car and takes the group to the yellow zone. Realizing that there is not enough petrol to reach the UN base outside the city, Roger makes a call and redirects to the general’s camp. Arriving he sees that many of the soldiers, hearing about the approaching rebels, have deserted.

 

He also discovers that the general lied about having a son, and was instead trying to secretly abandon his men and flee in the medivac helicopter. When the helicopter that Roger called lands, the General tries to board, stating that his life is worth more than Layla’s. However Roger steals his gun and forces him back, allowing Layla, Amira and Kurt to board. The pilot initially refuses Amira and Layla aboard until Roger threatens to shoot him. However, there is not enough space for Roger, who volunteers to stay behind, even as the rebels begin their assault on the compound. Roger tells Kurt to take care of everyone as the helicopter lifts off. As the rebels breach the gates, Roger waves to the retreating helicopter, happy in the knowledge that he stayed true to his ideals to the end, and that Layla and Amira now have a chance to live a peaceful life…