After reading Maslin's article, David Thayer e-mailed me his plot for a sure-fire bestseller (no, you can't have it):
What if Hannibal was living in wine country waiting for the label on a new release to signal an army of skeletons rising from the soil of Napa Valley to ravage the countryside? And only a perky winemaker fresh out of UC Davis can save the Bay Area?
By "Hannibal" I'm assuming he means Hannibal Lecter, though Mr. Thayer is a bit of a Roman-Empire scholar, so he might mean the Carthaginian guy with the elephants. Either way, it sounds like a winner. Add in an explanation of why the Smiley-Face symbol suddenly became so widespread in the 70s, and how Jesus' descendents were linked to the killing of JFK, and we'll never need another popular novel again.
Or did I miss something?