Synopsis for Message

Okay, so I did find a few sample synopses online, but they were mostly for romances. Nevertheless, they helped a bit. I finished a tagline, blurb and synopsis for ‘The Message’ which will go out to agents starting probably Tuesday. I have posted them here.

If you’ve never commented before but often thought you might sometime, now is when I could really use your help. One simple question. Does reading the synopsis make you interested in the book?

Tagline: The Message is a story of faith, love and serial killing.

Blurb: Greg and Allie, partners in preaching, are unexpectedly gifted with special powers and a mission to stop a serial killer. But if their gifts come from God, where do the killer’s gifts come from? Will Greg fight his way through a crisis of faith in time to save Allie’s life?


Bluff, opinionated pastor Greg Sanderson has a strong faith, which sustained him through the recent tragic death of his wife Diane. Despite his dislike of his New-Age younger associate pastor Alexandra Morgan, he has a good strong relationship with his church, St. Andrew’s Methodist.

Until he collapses backward mid-sermon, in the grip of a powerful, incomprehensible vision. Shortly after that, he begins seeing the ghost of his wife. Diane cannot speak, but points urgently away. Worried for his sanity, Greg contacts old friend and counselor Dr. Ames. The morning after his single session, Greg finds himself arrested for the brutal torture and murder of Dr. Ames. Details of the crime scene include a bloody handprint deliberately left on the victim’s chest.

Released on lack of evidence, Greg is confronted by his associate pastor Allie, who appears to be losing her mind. She reveals that a miraculous power of healing has come to her, and needs Greg to assure her it is from God, not the Devil. Experimentation convinces Allie that Greg’s ghost is in fact a compass pointer, and that the two of them have been given a mission, although not an explanation. The light they create together seals them as partners—in her mind, at least. Greg, however, is profoundly distressed to find that it’s not really Diane’s ghost communicating with him. He does not want Allie as his partner in any mission, God-given or otherwise.

David Roberts, a special FBI agent of friendly and wry disposition, arrives to question Greg. There has been another killing, also involving the bloody handprint, and he has been sent to investigate it as a serial murder. On the basis of this news, Allie persuades Greg to try again.

Following Greg’s pointer, the two surprise a homeless man in his lair. He flees, leaving behind a videocassette and proof that Greg’s ghost compass can find him. On the video, the killer gloats and demonstrates a special knowledge that drives Greg into a crisis of faith. He sends Allie away, rejecting her violently.

Agent Roberts returns, now with a copy of the videotape found at the scene. The killer attacks, succeeding in cutting off Roberts’ hand. He flees in apparent terror of the helpless Greg and Roberts, both of whom he has immobilized with his own special power.

Allie, with unexpected authority and compelling passion, invades Greg’s home and uses his own sermons against him. Though still trapped in his sorrow and professing hatred for God, Greg is shamed into agreeing to help her. Together they win Roberts over to their cause.

Allie’s estranged father, Dr. Morgan, a Bible-pounding fire and brimstone preacher, turns up on her doorstep. Dying of cancer, he seeks to use his own illness to win her back to the Fundamentalist fold. Allie heals him against his will, only to lose him at once as the killer kidnaps him, leaving another videotape behind.

Under suspicion now and on the run, Greg, Allie and Roberts attempt to track the killer down, finding only more victims. They take refuge with a friend, where the killer contacts them, offering to trade Allie for her father. It’s clear the killer will immediately destroy her.

Although Allie’s father blames her for all this, and remains convinced she’s a tool of Satan, Allie wants to save him. Following the killer’s instructions, she leaves Greg behind. Realizing how much Allie has come to mean to him, Greg is desperate to find her. The killer refuses to tell where they are, but reveals his identity and his connection to Greg’s past. This only pushes Greg further into despair.

Greg’s hatred of God, loss of Diane, love for Allie, fury at himself and the killer, all come to a head. Giving up, giving everything back, he opens himself to God and is given, rather than reassurance that everything will be all right, a blessed helplessness. Falling to his knees a man without hope or help, he rises a paladin, a saint, a man in the hands of God, bearer and steward of a great gift and a great message. This he carries to his congregation, calling on all of them to enter that special state of prayer he knows about, to send their spiritual power to him and Allie to aid them in the coming confrontation.

With new power and new allies, Greg is able to find the killer and his immobilized hostages. Dr. Morgan, released in trade for his daughter, has been redeeming his debt by holding the killer’s attention in a game of cat and mouse, until Greg could get there.

The showdown is deadly. Greg and Allie, despite their combined light, cannot stop the killer from stabbing Agent Roberts. At the last moment before he does the same to Allie, the pair discover how to use his own black light against him and imprison him. Then it becomes a battle of faith, of will and ultimately of love. Greg and Allie pour their mingled light and the power of a churchful of prayer into the healing. The killer’s black fire burns white at last.

In this moment of clarity, the once-insane killer realizes this cannot last. There is only one way to save lives, pay for his crimes, and go to his God. In a moment of redemption, sacrifice and fire, he gives himself away.

The two and their healed companions return to the church. Together Greg and Allie preach their best message ever. Shortly afterward, they are married. Their partnership and their sacred mission will continue for the rest of their lives.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bailey Phelps
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 06:50:54

    It is a pretty good synopsis – although the sentence beginning with “Until” is not a sentence. I don’t think it needs to be as long and detailed as it is, but I don’t know about these things. It is not quite as good a synopsis as the book is a book. But of course I have read the book, so I’m prejudiced. Wishing you every kind of good fortune.

  2. asherose
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 07:50:21

    Thank you! Alas, it’s already half as long as the original synopsis. I will look toward trimming it some more.

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