Finally a Synopsis for my new book: "A Cabin In The Hills"
Synopsis for A Cabin In The Hills
By Marc Meyer c 2021
Ex army ranger William Turner is embarking on his final mission – a mission that will
erase him finally and completely from the face of the earth. This will not be any ordinary
suicide mission however. Turner will make sure there would be no gun to the head or fall from a
fourth floor balcony. Over the years he had become a reluctant tenant, residing at his son’s
modernized cabin on the high ground of Tennessee, along with his son’s new wife, Suzie, and
their two children. Try as he might, William – Will or Bill, depending on who was addressing
him – could not shake the loving memories he had of his son Philip’s first wife, Janet, who had
passed away suddenly in a tragic car accident. Janet somehow managed to make everyone feel
as if they were part of a family unit, despite her English roots and inability to prepare a family
meal beyond the soft boiled eggs, toast, and coffee she made for Phillip each morning before he
left for work.
Phillip’s brand new wife, Suzie, and William, on the other hand, hated each other practically
on sight. Suzie had a way of picking quarrels with William for no apparent reason and William
found himself defending his habitual behaviors to her on an almost constant basis, a recipe for
trouble that would finally reach its limit. Despite this, initially at least, William thought Suzie
was a good mother to his two grandchildren and an excellent cook. Though he had come to view
her as something of a mortal enemy, he knew he was going to have to put up with her in order to
keep the peace – a task that would eventually prove impossible for them both.
The story of A Cabin In The Hills takes place in the future. It opens with William Turner
overhearing Suzie’s demand that his son Philip place him in a state-run nursing home, removing
him once and for all from the household while putting the least amount of strain on the family’s
finances. To William, still relatively young looking and vigorous in his mid seventies, albeit with
dwindling savings, such an action would constitute a fate incontrovertibly worse than death. He
was also aware that Suzie had an iron will and usually got her way. William had been mulling
over the prospect of death by his own hand for some time, but it was ironically Suzie who had
brought it to the forefront of his mind. These days he thought about little else.
Although William wished for his exit strategy to take place as soon as possible, he would
have to be meticulously careful as to its execution. On the one hand, he hoped it could be
accomplished without his grandchildren thinking that his demise could have been anything other
than an accident. On the other, he wished to leave the planet in grand style. To that end he
envisions a series of elaborate and adventurous schemes, ones he feels confident will guarantee
his demise with certainty – without the possibility of any debilitating injury or escape.
The first real attempt presents itself at a local museum where William becomes employed as
a part time janitor. As night closes in, William hides in a subterranean floor until all of the staff
have left, managing to abscond with the curator’s keys to the building in the process. A very
high end Bugatti sports car worth two million dollars is on display in one of the upper floors of the parking facility. William manages to get instructions from a demonstrator on not only how to gain access to the locked vehicle, starting it up with a keyless entry, but also to reveal scenario
in which he could exit the car from the building should he be inclined to make off with it.
William, much to his dismay, did manage to start the car, driving recklessly out of a loading
dock onto a side street and up a local highway overpass. People leapt out of the way as William
floored it onto a bridge, with the idea of jumping the car over the guardrail at top speed. It was
over a fifty foot drop to the highway below. If carried out properly with no mishaps, William
knew it would mean certain death.
Ultimately, William’s plans foil when the car shuts down remotely, after it had been reported
stolen by a night watchman – and William is arrested. He is then escorted by the police to the
curator to decide his fate. He tells everyone who will listen, including the police, that he was
“just testing out” the vehicle. He was subsequently fired from his job on the spot, with the
curator threatening to press charges should he ever set foot on the premises again.
Having failed at his first attempt, William seizes upon another idea – a venture that would
take him to the other side of the world. It begins with a letter from an old army buddy he met
while stationed in Okinawa during the Korean war. The buddy, having known William’s suicidal
aspirations for some time, entreats him to meet at a familiar haunt. From there his buddy takes
him to a seedy apartment, hatching out a plan in which he secretly educates Bill about the
legendary Osaka suicide forest in Japan at the base of Mt. Fuji called Aokigahara, meaning “Sea
The Aokigahara is a wooded area known for its particularly cruel and gruesome past, where
long ago sick or aging family members who could no longer look after themselves were taken
and left to die. Spirits were believed to inhabit the place, which only made it more intriguing to
William, who never believed in ghosts. Unbeknownst to his buddy, William and his now
deceased first wife had already scouted the place out on a dare many years before they were
engaged, but William remains tight lipped about the whole affair (which is nonetheless described
in the book). His army buddy sets William up in a swank hotel. The plan calls for a local forest
ranger to lead William into a remote spot in the forest in the dead of night, at which point the
ranger would take off, leaving William to kill himself at the bottom of a deep ravine.
William decides to embark on the mission, telling his family he is going camping with
friends. But his plans are once again foiled when the area of the forest he is near is threatened by
wildfire. His son, hearing on-line about the fire near William’s location, flies out to rescue him
in a friend’s private plane, with the forest ranger as guide.
Once they finally reach home, Suzie greets William with a violent slap in the face and a
screaming tirade about how he almost put her husband in mortal danger. At this point, Suzie has
reached her breaking point. But before she can cause any real damage by insisting he move out
of the house into a squalid senior living facility, William happens upon a lovely woman about
two years his junior named Sylvia. The woman recently published a best-selling book about
poisonous plants and decides to include William’s hometown to give a talk during her
nationwide book tour.
As it turns out, she happens to have been an old high school sweetheart of William’s. Having
read about her event in the local paper, William cannot resist attending her talk, since it happens
to cover at least one of his topics of interest, poisonous plants. Upon seeing each other and
reminiscing about old times, the two form an immediate connection and begin to see each other
on a regular basis.
The reader could be forgiven at this point for thinking that all of the travails William has encountered up to this point will suddenly vanish, resulting in a happy ending. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Everyone in William’s family, especially William, considers Sylvia quite a catch – until an
old boyfriend of hers shows up out of nowhere. The ex-boyfriend attempts to persuade her to
come and live with him a thousand miles away in Canada. During William’s short lived
courtship, Sylvia, William’s love interest, and Suzie, William’s daughter-in-law, form a bond.
Suzie persuades Sylvia it would be best that she not hook up with William. However, William
spies the two of them having lunch together and, seething with anger, decides that a murder
suicide will be the best solution for all concerned. At the end of the book, he waits until both
women are in the cabin, positioning himself outside and then begins shooting the place up with a
A robot which the family has named Gus, referred to as a “house bot,” has been introduced at
the beginning of the story as an additional character. He is a prototype, purchased at great
expense by William’s son, Philip. Gus is brought into the household to do chores, prepare light
meals, and protect the family from intruders. It is Gus in the end who, via Suzie’s manipulation
of a remote hand-device, winds up taking William’s life. Gus sneaks up behind him and kills
The story closes with William paying a brief ethereal visit to his closest friend and to his
family members – once in the form of a warm hand on the shoulder and then as a bird – before
his final transition into the afterlife