DRIVER was my firt published novel, by Pinnacle Books (ISBN; 0-523-41278-9)
I've written a completed screenplay adaptation of an updated version of the story.
Pages: 109 Final Draft format
Location: Los Angeles & vicinity
Cast: 1 female (20s) lead, 1 male (30s)
lead, 4 supporting, minimal extras
Synopsis: Supernatural love turns into terror when an ingenue connects telepathically with a TV star revived after a near-death experience. She thinks she’s found her soul mate. He uses her to commit murder in a case of body-snatching that ends in madness, death, and a chance at ironic new life for both of them. A fresh non-traditional exploration of reincarnation’s promise to remedy terrible crimes, mend mistakes, and heal all manner of wounds.
A more detailed synopsis of DRIVER....
She dreams him screaming for help from the empty backseat of her car. He dreams the crash that put him into psychotic denial after nearly killing himself with sexual excess. She asks who he is. He’s a TV star with too many secrets, so he ID's himself with a childhood nickname. They explore their telepathic connection with out-of-this-world sex. She thinks she's found her soulmate. He takes over her life convincing her that he'll make her a star with her great body and his movie biz connections. She allows his dominant personality to handle situations she’d rather avoid. She can hardly wait to be with him up close and personal, but he refuses. So she hires a private detective to track him down while he plots revenge on the paramedic he blames for intentionally mutilating him.
He uses her in an attempt to kill the paramedic but miscalculates in her slighter body. He learns to drive her like a fine sports car and manipulates her to kill her boyfriend. She feels guilty for what she allowed him to do. She knows their conflict of wills is the only instrument of justice he is likely to encounter but has taken too long to come to that realization. It is only a matter of time before he takes over completely. Mistakenly thinking their mind link diminishes with distance she desperately drives into the desert. Her hands under his control fight for the wheel. Out on the lonely freeway she sees that the only power she has is her choice of the moment when she relinquishes.
Like a migraine headache, he is always there just behind her eyes. He suggests that they trade bodies. Her opportunity to accept the trade and destroy her own body-- murder by suicide-- comes with sudden deadly calm he mistakes for submission as she slips into his body recuperating under the care of a private duty nurse, the real reason he does not want his telepathic partner to find him. Triumphantly in control he blinks his new blue eyes just in time to see a truck coming at him at 70 MPH. She opens her new brown eyes while making it with the nurse. She feels damn lucky to be alive, says adios to her old persona only to be frozen by his icy voice informing her of her miscalculation. He was not killed in the crash that killed her body. With nowhere to go she is imprisoned with him for life inside his body to be hidden away in some swank nursing home as an incurably psychotic multiple personality doomed to spend the rest of existence tranquilized, arm-wrestling right and left hands, arguing in two distinct voices.
Five years later after rehab, therapy and medication that exorcised his vanished partner he tells his wife-- the nurse-- that he wishes he could ask forgiveness. He gets a preview of what his life will be like from now on when their four-year-old surprises Daddy with the precocious announcement, “Alright, Misha--” the telepathic nickname only she used to call him-- “If you buy me a PlayStation 5 maybe I’ll forgive you.”
This 109-page s.p. has permanent Blue Star festival rating on Triggerstreet.com. It is adapted from the Pinnacle Books, Inc., novel (ISBN: 0-523-41278) recently updated for companion re-issue with feature release. A snazzy new book jacket that can double as a one-sheet is PhotoShopped on the Authors Guild site: http://www.patwinter.net
Some background on the
development on this story...
When a version of this novel was published in 1982 with limited distribution by the bankrupt Pinnacle Books, it was my first published work outside journalism and the couple of s.f. short stories noted
on this website.
I was lucky to have two great science fiction authors as mentors-- Ted Sturgeon and Larry Niven. Ted inspired "Inside Mother," a science fiction short story featured on ths website, but he didn't get a chance to read DRIVER.
Niven liked DRIVER but was disappointed that I'd written what he called a lady-or-tiger ending with Val and Michael trapped together inside an insane mind and a crippled body... true horror with no hope of redemption for either soul.
I liked that mean ending. Still hurting from my own divorce, I thought Niven, fairly newly-wed at the time, was just a romantic sap. The years have softened my heart and offered me my own strange version of hope.
Using Photoshop, I came up with a new cover concept that captures the vehicular nature of Michael's obsession with Val. Reconsidering Niven's suggestion to more fully develop the underlying spiritual themes embedded in what was just a lusty story, I've rewritten extensively, adding an unambiguous ending calculated to leave you breathless...
Even if you're not a romantic sap.