Synopsis and characters list for THE IMAGINATION THIEF

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Shorter synopsis, without spoilers

Alone in his skyscraper office one night, Jaymi undergoes a transformation that will change his life: he acquires the power to see into others' minds, and then to control and project their thoughts.

Realising the power of his new gift, he hypnotises a media mogul into agreeing to broadcast an electrifying extravaganza of sound and vision emanating from Jaymi, the like of which has never been witnessed before, that will captivate millions worldwide. However, one of the mogul's underlings has more subversive plans for milking Jaymi's talent, involving the theft of others' imaginations and most intimate memories for commercial gain.

The broadcasting of his visions takes Jaymi and his friend Alaia on a journey that plunges them into the underworld of Asbury Park—a seaside town once full of life and fun, but now half-forgotten. The half of this town beside the ocean itself is now almost a ghost town: ruled by ruthless gangsters and drug dealers, headed by Lucan, it is populated by lost souls and the beautiful who have fallen on hard times. Blackmailed into thieving the most private and primal memories and experiences from their imaginations, Jaymi discovers a web of secrets and provocations simmering beneath the surface of the town, about to explode.

When a waxwork of Lucan's decapitated head is planted anonymously in his own bar, the fear bubbles over, as everyone becomes a suspect in this unforgivable challenge to his dominance. Then when another provocative waxwork appears—a naked full-body modelling of Angel, Lucan's beautiful but tortured lover—then Jaymi knows the only way to save his friends will be to use his own gift to discover the perpetrator before Lucan does...

Delving into and celebrating the most beautiful and extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and love, The Imagination Thief is mainstream literary fiction that also draws upon magical realism, horror, fantasy and humour. It explores the universal human predicaments of power, beauty, happiness, hopelessness, good and evil.



List of the 14 characters

Two lead characters

Narrator JAYMI PEEK is an intelligent, humorous lens and a benign observer. On screen, he becomes a charismatic and empowered face who projects himself addictively into the imaginations of his audience.

ALAIA DANIELLE is his creative collaborator, an inspired and disciplined vocal performer. She is morally upright and rather high-tension, with cool good taste and a large, somewhat cerebral compassion.

The Imagination Thief's narrator Jaymi Peek is partly a self-portrait; but as a lens through which the other characters' internal lives are examined and inhabited, he's also a channel for them, which may be why his personality is somewhat elusive. He's a mixture of truth and lies, adding up to a fiction through which I suspect I'm wondering aloud what it is to be alive as a human being in a body on this particular planet these days. By the end of The Imagination Thief, these two lead players have collaborated on such a volume of imaginative riches, that their falling in love with each other feels almost inevitable.


Five co-stars, whose imaginations are inhabited or thieved


EVELYN CARMELLO is Marc's driver and Rik's girlfriend, who opens social doors. She is sunny, centred, straightforward and kind, but also sassy and street-smart, and used to be Flames's girlfriend.

SHIGEM ADELE is an effusive, flamboyant nightclub host, a lovable and neurotic survivor, and the person most affected by the beauty and power of Jaymi's and Alaia's performances in the two broadcasts.

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