The Stasi File (Thriller)

Sample Pitches from prior New York Pitch Conference--various genres.
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The Stasi File (Thriller)

#1 Post by sedonawriter » 15 Aug 2007, 03:55

Name: Peter Bernhardt

Title: The Stasi File

Genre: Thriller

Creds: I was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany, where opera was an integral part of the school curriculum, though my real passion for it developed in adulthood. My legal career in the United States encompassed writing, editing and courtroom practice, from my law school days as editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Law Journal through years as a litigator in private practice and for the U.S. Department of Justice. I drew upon this unique combination of life experiences to craft the plot and characters of The Stasi File.

In school, my teachers consistently singled out my creative writing for praise, often awarding my stories and essays top paper. In addition to two published law journal articles, I have authored numerous federal court opinions, and regularly write articles for Opera Overture, a publication of the Northern Arizona Opera League.

Log Line: An American lawyer and his lover from Berlin student days, now a budding Italian opera diva, are drawn into an assassination plot by a Stasi General desperate to prevent the collapse of the East German police state after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Pitch: In the tumultuous days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Stasi General Holger Frantz will stop at nothing to prevent the collapse of the East German police state. Caught in his intrigue are American lawyer Rolf Keller and aspiring opera diva Sylvia Mazzoni whose love affair during Berlin college days ended in bitterness twelve years ago.

Dust from the demolished Wall has barely settled when Rolf, recently divorced and fresh off the bottle, is dispatched by his Washington law firm to Germany to coordinate the drop of top-secret documents by a defecting Stasi agent. Rolf is stunned to learn that the recipient is Sylvia. She’s been coerced by West German intelligence with threats of destroying her promising opera career through exposure of her past involvement with Red Army Faction terrorists.

Nothing has prepared these reluctant recruits for the Stasi’s brutality. Although the first drop of stolen documents goes smoothly, subsequent arrangements end in a burst of violence that sends the pair fleeing into the East German countryside. Following clues left by the murdered defector, they unearth his document cache and escape into the night, pursued by armed Stasi henchmen.

Besides a file containing damning information about Sylvia, they recover documents with cryptic references to a plot for derailing unification by assassinating Chancellor Helmut Kohl—but when and where? With Germany’s future hanging in the balance, Rolf and Sylvia manage to decipher the coded document in time to race to the assassination site. But a Stasi killer is waiting. As he marches them into a deserted clearing in the Bavarian woods, all seems lost—their own lives, the chancellor’s, unification.

Writing Sample from Novel:

Sylvia resisted the temptation to pinch herself during the final curtain calls. If this was a dream, she didn’t want it to end. The enthusiastic reception she received during her solo bow overwhelmed her. She returned to the dressing room in a trance and, having forgotten all about her visitors, shed Micaëla’s blue dress and began to undo her braids. A knock on the door jolted her back to reality. She caught a glimpse of herself in undergarments in the mirror over the dressing table, dark strands of hair hanging loosely down on one side and a tight braid still on the other.
“Damn!” What a mess! How could she have forgotten?
“Frau Mazzoni. Are you all right?” the dressing attendant inquired from the hallway.
“Two gentlemen to see you. They say you’re expecting them.”
“Tell them to wait just a minute.” There was no time to put on her street clothes. She tore her black silk robe off the hanger behind the mirror, tied the belt around her waist and after a quick glance to confirm that she was decent, called out, “Herein.”
Schmidt entered with his usual self-assuredness, but his companion seemed hesitant. She felt surprise at Schmidt’s choice of a shy watchdog. Then she recognized him. The sound of her sharp intake of breath surprised her. His hair was now more brown than blond, still neatly parted on the left, with no signs of thinning, and his face and forehead bore a few more character creases, but there was no doubt: it was Rolf Keller.
She had no idea how long she’d been standing there, staring, trying to comprehend what her eyes showed her. No one spoke, her gasp the only sound.
Finally, Schmidt broke the silence. “I believe you two know one another.”
His words shook Sylvia out of her daze. “Is this some kind of joke?” She heard the anger in her voice.
“I’m sorry to have sprung this on you.”
“Yeah, it’s a sure way to get me to back out of our deal.” At that moment she meant it, no matter the consequences.
She lurched at the door, flung it open and hissed, “Get out of here, both of you!” Braid swinging, silk trailing, unintended flesh flashing, Sylvia faced the two men, showing all the wrath of the wildest Valkyrie.

Posts: 1
Joined: 26 Feb 2018, 15:37

Re: The Stasi File (Thriller)

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