I completed my first novel and entered it in the Amazon Breakthrough contest last month. A few days ago I learned that it advanced to the second round along with 399 other thrillers based on this pitch:
No marriage is without its secrets, but Clemson University professor Jessup Clark accidentally uncovers one that threatens more than his happiness.
A discovered airplane ticket stub reveals that his wife Shani lied to him and took a flight to Chicago when she claimed to be in Atlanta for business. When he confronts his wife about what looks like an affair, she undertakes a ruthless campaign to destroy his life, take away his job and rob him of his freedom. A happy marriage shatters as she concocts a domestic violence charge and has a mysterious associate punch her brutally in the face, telling the police she was hit by Jessup. A loaded gun is planted in his car, scaring his workplace after a tip is called in to security before he arrives one morning. A story is planted in the newspaper, sharing Jessup's darkest family secret to make him look even more guilty.
It makes no sense that Shani, a loving spouse and the dignified daughter of academics, would engage in an extramarital affair -- much less go to such extreme lengths to destroy Jessup after getting caught.
While his life is being taken apart piece by piece and the police begin pursuing him over the crimes for which she has framed him, Jessup must uncover the real reason she is doing this -- an event that occurred 10 years earlier at an Afghanistan tribal leader's compound in the Shah-i-Kot Valley.
THE ENGINEER is a thriller about marriage and other disasters.
On March 12, I find out if it's one of the 100 thrillers to reach the next round based on what judges thought of the first 5,000 words. The first prize is a $50,000 publishing contract.