Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jezebel's Ladder by Scott Rhine

Reading this alien manuscript changes you; it can make you a millionaire or mad man. At the lowest point in her life, Jezebel is thrown into a conspiracy to collect its pages.

A Vegas magician’s assistant with a drinking problem, Jezebel is being chased by the men who murdered her fiancé. After she reads an odd, golden page, she wakes with the ability to sense other actives within thirty feet. Benny, the handsome former actor, is the only one she thinks that she can rely on, but even he has secrets. Each page stretches the mind beyond what our civilization has discovered, sometimes too far. Each could give you the next Nobel Prize or a ticket to the psych ward. Strong-willed, smart, and sexy, Jez acquires pages faster than anyone. She uses her new paranormal talents to climb the corporate ladder. Now, companies and governments are killing people to find and keep the secrets that will guarantee supremacy for the next century. Jezebel needs to adapt fast if she's going to survive success.

This book would make for a good TV show on the SyFy Channel. Not only does it have the sci-fi stuff like mysterious alien tech and geeky science discussions, but it also has action, a sexy leading lady to provide sexual tension, soap opera drama, and no bad language. There's also plenty of meetings chock full of minutiae and board room filler to help keep costs within budget. Patients recovering in hospital rooms are such a common occurrence that they could get a discount rate for use of the set from one of the many existing hospital oriented TV shows (including soap operas).

There are so many minor characters that come and go that viewers would know that everyone was expendable and this week's walk-on might be dead, transferred to a different division, or just fade into the background in the next episode (a bit like Lost in that regard). Except for the major characters, there would be few long term contracts to pay for.

Rhine expertly uses dialogue to move the story along. Adapting this to a screenplay would take very little effort.

The sexual tension between Jez and Benny would draw in viewers each week as they wondered if they would finally "do it." With all the wardrobe changes Jez makes (and shoes!), the Sex and the City crowd might even check it out. And women will get to see how an ex-magician's assistant and exotic dancer climbs the corporate ladder of a secret organization (The Ladder Project) whose goal is to start a colony in space to greet the alien intelligence that created the near magical, brain power unlocking pages. Along the way she'll also provide expert managerial advice.

There's a Christian theme underlying all this too. None of the good guys has sex before marriage, but if they do they immediately commit to getting married. Jez and Benny go through rehab for past alcohol problems (though neither was really shown to be a lush) and are thus reformed (sinners who are cleaning up their act). Replace aliens with "God", the Golden Pages with the Bible, and the goal to better ourselves for when we meet the aliens with bettering ourselves for the Messiah's return. The cover is certainly a dead giveaway (Jacob's Ladder instead of Jezebel's).

It's all rather clever and thus it might make for good fiction for adult Christians (that's not to say it's G rated. Not by a long shot!). Too many submissions here of that nature are dull re-treads of the same old stories we've heard before (The Job was a nice exception). Jezebel's Ladder is refreshing in that regard. I've never read the Left Behind series but I suspect that Jezebel's Ladder would appeal to its fans who are looking for something less gloomy.

Links for buying Jezebel's Ladder can be found on the author's website.

1 comment:

Scott Rhine said...

Thanks so much for reading it so soon. I'm 25K words into writing the sequel and having a blast. Her sixteen-year-old daughter, Red, goes undercover to UN astronaut school to try to reach the alien artifact, but there's politics, sabotage, and teen angst to overcome. Unfortunately, Aunt Trina seems to be doing everything she can to get Red kicked out.