Woman in the Waves

Book Cover



William J. Cook

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The Woman in the Waves is the story of a widowed psychology professor who uncovers a nexus of murder and deceit at the university where he teaches.


Crime, Mystery,

Short Summary

Peter Bristol sees a woman in a bridal gown swept out to sea. He embarks on a mission to discover who she was and how she got there. This leads him to discover that his colleague has murdered the dean of the biology department and is embroiled in other nefarious activity.

A battle of wits ensues between the murderer and Bristol, leading to the villain's apprehension in a suspenseful confrontation.


The coastal town of Driftwood, Oregon.

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain

Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending, Philosophical Questions, Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Language/Profanity, Nudity, Sexual Abuse, Substance Abuse,Nudity, Language/Profanity,Sexual Abuse,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Peter Bristol, widowed professor of psychology

Age: 55

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Modest, Skillful, Honorable, Empathetic, Engaging, Insecure, Perseverance, Strong Moral Code, Educated

Additional Character Details

Name: Sterling Friese

Age: 42

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Greedy, Masculine, Aggressive, Educated, Narcissistic, Power-hungry, Villainous, Aspiring, Confident, Criminal, Badass, Charming, Decisive, Manipulative, Seductive

Additional Character Details

Name: Charley Whitehorse

Age: 35

Gender: Male

Role: logical

Key Traits: Perseverance, Skillful, Strong Moral Code, Complex, Decisive, Engaging, Honorable

Additional Character Details

Name: Chloe Denhurst

Age: 39

Gender: Female

Role: mentor

Key Traits: Sophisticated, Educated, Empathetic, Flexible, Skillful, Gracious, Perseverance, Romantic, Charming, Confident, Engaging, Faithful, Complex, Honorable, Strong Moral Code

Development Pitch

Woman in the Waves tells the story of a university professor who embarks on a quest to learn the identity of a woman he sees swept away in the surf. As he does so, he discovers that his school has been infiltrated by the Russian mob, and a colleague has murdered the dean of his department. The story is set in the present day on the Oregon coast. The environment plays an important role in the story—the Pacific Ocean, the forests of Douglas firs, the rains of winter, the Native American residents. University life, as well as small-town police work, figure strongly in the plot, which has a satisfying number of twists. The characters are engaging and draw the reader (and hopefully, the watcher) into the story. How it will play out is never certain, and the suspense maintains a high level of interest. The style is sharp and modern, with frequent reflections on our troubled times. It paints an in-depth portrait of life in the Pacific Northwest. The book has received four five-star reviews on Amazon, with quotes like, “Riveting novel…the small town feel is in sharp contrast to the cold-blooded mayhem surging through its veins” and “sweeps the reader up like a wave crashing to the shore.”

About The Author

William J. Cook is a Connecticut native transplanted to Oregon in 1989. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he received a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Years of study in two Catholic seminaries and a long career as a mental health therapist have shaped (or warped!) his world view. He is the author of the literary novel Songs for the Journey Home, The Pieta in Ordinary Time and Other Stories, Catch of the Day, another collection of short stories, and The Driftwood Mysteries, including the novel, Seal of Secrets, the short story, Eye of Newt, and the novel, Woman in the Waves.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

The story showcases the Pacific Northwest, especially the rugged Oregon coast.

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Year Published: 2018

Hard Copy Available