The Devil and Harry Webster (published originally as Webster’s White Devil)
DETECTIVE DRAMA MYSTERY POLITICAL SUSPENSE/THRILLER ACTION
INVESTIGATION, VIOLENCE MINORITIES, EXTREMISTS, CONSPIRACY THEORY
PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
HARRY WEBSTER. 30S. LEAD. PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR. SARCASTIC, SHARP, AND CONFIDENT.
CORINNE WINFIELD. 40S. THE CLIENT, LOOKING FOR BRYCE MANSELL.
BRYCE MANSELL. 35. A FORMER ARMY. WANTED FOR THE GROUP THE CRUSADERS.
LAURA BRENNAN. MANSELL’S SISTER; HELPS WEBSTER IN THE CASE.
COLONEL WILLIAM FRANCIS LYTTON. 70S. LEADER OF THE CRUSADERS.
ROCKY VAN DORNE. PRIVATE SECURITY WORKER. MARRIED TO LYTTON’S SISTER.
It seems like a simple missing person case, bread and butter for private detective Harry Webster. Except it turns out the missing man has an unsettling connection with an extremist right wing group called The Crusaders - and even more disturbingly with a racist serial killer dubbed the White Devil.
Target Gender: Universal
Set mainly in a large, unnamed Yorkshire city with a brief detour to a bleak east coast resort.
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: self-published
Year Published: 3015
Arriving at his office on a winter Monday, Harry Webster finds a new client waiting in the shape of a wealthy widow with a shady past who is missing one boyfriend, who has skipped town without warning whilst she has been on holiday. After some verbal sparring Webster takes the case.
A violent conclusion centres on a disused warehouse by the canal that runs through the city. Webster discovers a shocking conspiracy and finds himself a disposable pawn in a deadly chess game between The Crusaders and his quarry. If he walks away alive, Webster’s life will be forever changed.
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Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Plot - Other Elements
Plot - Premise
Main Character Details
Name: Harry Webster
Key Traits: Complex,Confident,Engaging,Honorable,Underdog,Blunt,Outspoken,Funny,Romantic,Sarcastic,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf,Charming,Faithful,Empathetic,Educated
Additional Character Details
Name: Roy ‘Rocky’ Van Dorn
Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Criminal,Crazy,Manipulative,Sarcastic,Power Hungry,Villainous,Unapologetic,Decisive
Additional Character Details
Name: Colonel William Lytton
Key Traits: Charming,Crazy,Leader,Villainous,Patriotic,Heartthrob,Power Hungry,Secretive,Unapologetic,Manipulative
Additional Character Details
Name: Corinne Winfield
Key Traits: Aggressive,Narcisstic,Manipulative,Seductive,Sexy,Villainous
Title: The Devil and Harry Webster (Thriller) Author: John Seeley Logline: In a great city the search for a missing army veteran puts investigator Harry Webster in the crosshairs of a violent right wing extremists and a racist serial killer dubbed the White Devil. Although written prior to 2016 the events and themes are if anything more relevant than ever, given the rise in hate crime and the emboldening of right-wing and fascist extremists in the wake of Brexit and the Trump-Johnson Axis in UK and US politics. Violence against minorities and women is on the increase, a burgeoning symptom of toxic white supremacy ,and the notion of a racist serial killer emerging is a very real and terrifying prospect. The central mystery wraps a sickening conspiracy theory around this premise, providing a hopefully unexpected twist at the end. The main character is charismatic, attractive and intelligent, blessed with a sharp and often abrasive wit. A strong central figure to build a movie or tv show round. A tv series would probably do it justice, with a low key central mystery that spins off on a dangerous tangent that will keep viewers guessing through several episodes and come together in an explosive very visual finale in which the main protagonist is caught up in a consistently life threatening sequence of events to pin viewers to their seats.
ACTION, SUSPENSE, THRILLER, MATURE AUDIENCE, POLITICS
Harry Webster, a private investigator, is hired by a woman searching for her boyfriend, who left town without prior notice while she was on holiday. He takes on the case and uncovers a shocking conspiracy. The missing man, an army veteran, is linked to a right-wing extremist group called The Crusaders and to a racist serial killer known as the White Devil. Webster finds himself in the middle of a violent conflict between the group and his victim.
Authors Writing Style: FAIR
Franchise Potential: GOOD
Accuracy of Book Profile
Yes, it's accurate.
Draw of Story
It addresses timely and relevant issues such as hate crimes, violence against women and minorities, and right-wing extremist movements around the world. A repulsive conspiracy theory underlies the central mystery, presenting the prospect of a racist serial killer and toxic forms of white supremacy.
Although we learn a bit more about Harry through his relationship with Mattie, their story doesn't provide us with relevant insights into his personality, so it seems pointless. In the course of their interaction, it would be interesting to find out aspects of his personality as he deals with his cases. Also, there are over-details in the narrative describing some events, such as Mansell's work at the Metro, making the book a struggle to read.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The narrative covers opportune and relevant topics, such as hate crimes, violence against women and minorities, and right-wing extremist movements around the world, following Brexit and the Trump-Johnson Axis in US and UK politics. In the story, as the detective Harry Webster digs deeper into the missing man’s life, he discovers disturbing links to an extremist group called The Crusaders. Webster finds himself a disposable component in a violent conflict between the group and his victim.
Since there are more books in the series, there is the potential for building a fanbase around the main character. Just as Sherlock Holmes or Phillip Marlowe, Harry Webster's narratives allow various perspectives to be explored.
It’s rare to see crime films or detective story thrillers receiving attention in the Awards. They’re usually hybrids, considered dramas. However, the particular narrative presented here addresses timely and relevant issues around the globe that can be used to draw attention to festivals and awards.
Similar Films/TV Series
PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
What’s New About the Story
The narrative explores interesting and relevant themes. A detective story unfolding conspiracy events and linking a missing army veteran to a right-wing extremist and a racist serial killer is intriguing. Harry Webster navigates the complexities of a criminal operation and the network involving the gang members worth exploring in more depth.
Harry Webster, the protagonist of the story, is charismatic and gifted with a wicked sense of humor, making him a strong central character in a movie or TV show. Bryce Mansell, the missing army veteran, barely appears in the story. Still, his name is everywhere, as he has unsettling associations with a right-wing group called The Crusaders and, even more disturbing, with a racist serial killer named the White Devil. There are also many intriguing characters, especially in the criminal section, which can increase the tension and stakes of the narrative.
Uniqueness of Story
Following a private detective as he unravels conflicts that are happening behind the scenes is fascinating. Succeeding recent events like Brexit and the Trump-Johnson Axis in US and UK politics, the story addresses opportune and relevant topics, such as hate crimes, violence against minorities, and right-wing extremist movements worldwide. However, the opening scene could establish the crime or the conflict as quickly as possible to hook the audience.
Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Network, Cable, Limited Run / Mini-Series, Streaming
This story has an intriguing plot, good characters and explores interesting and relevant themes. It’s a great potential for development.
When Harry Webster, a private investigator, arrives at his office, he finds a new client waiting for him. A woman searched for her boyfriend, who left town without prior notice while she was on holiday. He takes on the case and uncovers a shocking conspiracy. The missing man, an army veteran, is linked to a right-wing extremist group called The Crusaders and to a racist serial killer known as the White Devil. Webster finds himself a disposable component in a violent conflict between the group and his victim.
What We Liked
This is a detective action story, told in the first person, with various characters and an intriguing plot. As the narrative unfolds, it addresses timely and relevant themes, such as hate crimes, violence against women and minorities, and the rise of right-wing extremist movements around the globe. The central mystery is wrapped in a repulsive conspiracy theory, and it brings a terrifying prospect of a racist serial killer arising alongside toxic forms of white supremacy.
Film: There are good thrills and action scenes to explore as a movie, such as life-threatening situations, chasing events, and gunfights. Toward the end, the action takes place in a disused warehouse by a canal that runs through the city and provides a classic cinematic setting. The story also offers great insight into relevant themes and allows reflection about hate crimes, violence against minorities, and the rise of right-wing extremist movements around the globe.
TV: For a TV series, this narrative can be developed over several episodes to unfold the central mystery while exploring different characters and their own story. There are also good action-packed scenes to explore, especially at the end, when the main character is caught in a life-threatening situation. There are enough conflicts to fill more than one season.
1. Plot twists
2. Relevant subjects
3. Conspiracy theory
4. Political thriller
5. Interesting and complex villains
Henry Webster works right next to Tommy Clegg's office as a private investigator. Arriving at his office on a winter Monday, Webster finds a new client waiting: Corinne Winfield. She is there on the recommendation of Jimmy Bell, junior partner of Watson, Graham and Bell (local firm of solicitors). She wants him to find her boyfriend, a man named Bryce Marsell. Three weeks after she returned from her winter break in France, he was nowhere to be found.
Webster decides to take on the case. Webster contacted Phil Berry, an old friend from university who works for the Fraud Section of the Department of Work and Pensions, to find out more about Mansell's past. He discovered Mansell had abruptly quit his old job at the Metro without any explanation.
In speaking with Mansell's sister, Laura Brennan, Webster discovered that Mansell was involved with a group called The Crusaders, described by Brennan as a right-wing party of "not nice people."
While Webster is working on Mansell’s case, another story is developing around the city: a racist serial killer known as the White Devil, who has been acting for over 3 years. The victims had been young Afro-Caribbean or Asian girls, been strangled, mutilated, and dumped naked in isolated areas.
To find out more about Mansell at the Metro, Webster spoke with some of his coworkers, but nobody had ever heard him speak of Corinne Winfield. Webster becomes suspicious of her but keeps the case. At Mansell’s work, his coworkers mentioned the name Rocky and that the Crusaders usually met at a pub called The Saracen's Head. Webster decides to go to the pub and casually asks about Mansell, pretending to know him. Rocky was there, and no one seemed to like Webster's questions, and the situation escalated.
Eventually, Clegg discovered that the Crusader leader was Colonel William Francis Lytton, who was about 70-ish. The group had been formed almost 30 years ago before as a union of militant members from two other groups called The Patriotic Forum and The Britannia League. The Crusaders were visualized as a medium for translating all the rhetoric into affirmative action.
Webster drives to Lytton's house, who was already familiar with Webster at that point. Lytton said that he didn't know and that Rocky tried to find Mansell, but he was unsuccessful.
During a new attempt to collect information from Laura Brennan, she admitted that she assisted Mansell in getting out of the city 4 weeks before. She shows Webster the direction to her private house where Mansell was hiding. From there, the action starts happening. Webster sees Mansell practicing running at the beach. A few hours later, when he goes to the house, he discovers that Mansell has run away and there are two dead men.
Webster then discovered that Corinne has a relationship with Lytton and wondered if she had been doing his bidding all along and hiring Webster as a pawn to find Mansell and set him up for the kill. Corinne finally admitted she was involved with Lytton and the group. It turns out, as well, that the White Devil is not one individual acting alone but is actually part of a group.
As Webster searches for Mansell, he finds himself caught in a violent conflict between The Crusaders and the Tamplers. The brutal events end in the death of the members, including Corinne. Rocky is still alive and chasing Webster, who killed him.