Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Les Standiford

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Lynne Barrett

Third Advisor's Name

Richard Sugg

Date of Defense



The Takings is a mystery novel set in present day New York City and upstate New York. The novel is told in the first person point of view by its main character, Reese Coppage. Reese is a Sandhog involved in the construction of City Water Tunnel #3, the city's largest public works project ever. When completed in the year 2020, it will carry enough water to temporarily replace the existing two water tunnels, which are in bad need of repair. Reese witnesses a crime within these tunnels that he doesn't understand and finds himself wanted by both the police and a villainous group led by Vincent Cresswell. Enacting a plot of his own to contaminate New York City's reservoirs, Cresswell hopes to win a six billion dollar contract to build the city's first filtration plant. As Reese tries to untangle the web spun around him, he becomes an unwitting pawn in Cresswell's plans, and ultimately finds himself in an impossible position. How Reese survives and manages to free himself is at the heart of this novel.

Within eighteen chapters, Reese's journey takes in the historical, political, social, geographical, and geological considerations of contemporary New York. Embedded into the structure of this mystery are plot points, tokens, recognitions, reversals, and rites of initiation. These plotting techniques-Jungian, Aristotelian, and Syd Fieldian-are designed to create dramatic tension and bring the resonance of all effective storytelling to this contemporary adventure.



Included in

Fiction Commons



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Rights Statement

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