Outlining the novel is perhaps my favorite and least favorite portion of writing the book. A Murder in Doha is the next one I’m working on, it has good bones, but the veins keep popping. Time to try again.
Jean-Paul “JP” Barnier wakes up looking forward to September 11, 2011. It is the day that the brash and arrogant investment banker is going to launch the “big one” and move into the world of fast cars, Caribbean villas and supermodel girlfriends.
Instead, JP takes a shower of flaming jet fuel; deals and dreams replaced by burns and boils.
Eighteen months and many skin grafts later, JP discovers a world that moved on without him. Muscled out of his company by petty rivals, JP takes a role with the Bush administration; hoping time away will allow him to come back stronger and better.
Soon JP is on a plane for Baghdad, arriving just days after the initial invasion. He is assigned to manage the funds for a senior Iraqi politician, Al-Abdul Ezzedine Salamé, a billionaire exile with a dream of his own: to rebuild Babylon into a city for the 21st Century. JP meets with his mercenary bodyguards, Roger and Keith, and begins a new life living and working in Iraq.
JP quickly realizes that Baghdad is not as safe as the military made it out to be. Car bombs, mortar attacks and a rogue terrorist named Asad are a constant threat to JP while he struggles to support Salamé and his team.
As time moves on, JP begins to learn that life isn’t moving columns of numbers. JP spends time with Addy Vos, a South African trying to build schools in the region, as well as Abida, her bright pupil. Life becomes sacred again to JP; something that was lost the moment the plane hit the first tower.
But JP is still in Iraq and with Iraq comes problems. Alerted to an unexpected e-mail, JP discovers a multi-million dollar kickback scheme, involving terrorists, corrupt Western contractors and senior Iraqi politicians.
JP tries to do the right thing, but knows in a country quickly unraveling into madness, the right thing may cost him his life.
A fund manager, physically scared in 9/11 attacks, tries to restart his life by accepting a position in the Bush administration in post-invasion Iraq. While trying to bid his time and maintaining a low profile to return to Wall Street, Jean Paul Barnier uncovers a multi-million dollar kickback scheme involving Islamic terrorists, senior Iraqi officials and corrupt American contractors.
After two long years, the end is in sight. My first novel, The Devil of Baghdad is in final edits and being prepared for the query letters. First stop, literary agents.
We’re having a competition on how many queries it will take to get a submission. The over/under is 137. Go!