Democracy’s Thief, Reference Page

This is a private page for CritiqueCircle critiquers only.

On this page, you’ll find a one-sentence description of the book, a blurb, a list of major characters, a list of minor characters, and a scene-by-scene plot summary.

Please read only the summaries for the chapters preceding the one you will be critting.

One-Sentence Description

Democracy’s Thief is a paranormal thriller in which Eric Beckman must defeat an evil presidential candidate who is able to project his thoughts and compel people to support him.

An Early Draft of the Blurb

Eric Beckman is a mind-reading private investigator. He hates politics and refuses to even watch the evening news.

But when the San Francisco PD discovers a politically motivated shooting, it enlists Beckman’s help. He soon finds there’s something’s hinky going on: Some members of the force don’t seem to want the crime solved.

Beckman suspects the homicide is connected to a presidential candidate who has the ability to compel voters to love and support him against their better judgment. His investigation stirs up trouble and shifts the murderer’s crosshairs to his own head.

Worse, he uncovers the candidate’s true plan for the world. If Beckman can’t overcome his aversion to politics and unravel the conspiracy before election day, the wrong man will become the leader of the free world and execute his appalling program.

Democracy’s Thief is a standalone book and may be enjoyed without reading any of the other books in the series.

Major Characters

Acton Ruck

Evil, psychopathic killer with no conscience. MajorChar.

Cosmina Beckman

Eric and Viv’s two-year-old daughter. She has figured out that her daddy can read minds. MajorChar

Delmer Holiday

He’s a conspiracy nut, and he’s uncovered Kingman’s ability, although he doesn’t understand it. MajorChar

Eric Beckman

Main Character. He’s a PI who can read minds, and he’s married to Viviana. MajorChar

Juliette Corvo, Catatonic

Juliette Corvo is a friend of Eric’s. She has the ability to project her thoughts and compel people to do things. MajorChar

Kimmy Holiday

She’s almost killed in the first scene. She has Urbach-Wiethe disease, and doesn’t experience fear. She is Delmer’s granddaughter. MajorChar

Luete McDonald

She’s seventeen and Delmer’s fellow conspiracy theorist. MajorChar


He has amnesia, and Eric’s team works on helping him figure out who he is. MajorChar

Peggy Barbera

Peggy is Eric’s investigative assistant. She’s a cross dresser (that is, she’s really a male. MajorChar

Stanislas Stanislowski

He’s San Francisco’s deputy police chief in charge of investigations. He’s a friend of Eric’s. MajorChar

Viviana Petki Beckman

She’s Eric’s wife. She used to be a jewel thief. MajorChar

Wilson Kingman

He’s a presidential candidate who can project his thoughts and compel people to support him. MajorChar

Minor Characters

Barnard Sagenheim

He led a high-end home burglary with Acton Ruck many years ago. MinorChar

Donatello Winkel

Eric’s hacker friend. Eric saved his life once, and Donny wants to repay him for that. MinorChar

Eshika Brumi

Eshika is a friend of Viv’s. She’s a physician. MinorChar

Franny Blaine, Marin Investigator

She’s a detective that worked the Kimmy Holiday crimes scene. MinorChar

Gilda Maddix

Crazy cat lady who knew Wilson Kingman back in high school. MinorChar

Harith Deo

He is Wilson Kingman’s opposition in the presidential race. MinorChar

Jessica Holiday

Eric had a date with her years ago. She is Delmer’s daughter and Kimmy’s aunt. MinorChar


He’s a spoiled teenager, the son of the man who owns the Touchstone climbing gym. Viv will compete against him in a climbing contest. MinorChar


He is Wilson Kingman’s butler. MinorChar

Rain Man, Riyana, Autistic Savant

She’s an autistic super savant who Eric met when he was undercover in a pscyh hospital. MinorChar

Trista Kolio

She’s a gunsmith who has done work for Acton Ruck. MinorChar

Chapter Summaries (Directly from Scrivener)



Scene: Ruck Breaks in, Shoots Kimmy

Acton Ruck breaks into the home of a conspiracy nut, Delmer Holiday. While he’s searching for a file on Wilson Kingman, Kimmy Holiday (granddaughter) walks in on him. A booby trap blows two of Ruck’s fingers off, and staggering to the door, he shoots Kimmy in the head.

Scene: Life at Home

We see Eric, Viv, and Cosmina at home having happy life. Reader learns that Eric can read minds. Cosmina communicates with Eric via mind reading. SFPD Detective Stan arrives at the door and asks Eric to accompany him to the crimes scene.

Scene: Ride to Crime Scene

Stan Stanislowski (SFPD) arrives at Eric’s house and asks him to come to the Kimmy Holiday crime scene. We learn that Kimmy is critically injured but still alive. Also, she has a rare brain disease that makes her incapable of feeling fear.


Scene: Kimmy Crime Scene

Eric and Stan go over the evidence at the crime scene. Eric observes one of the crime scene techs stealing some evidence (a piece of paper).

Scene: Eric Meets Kimmy in Hospital

Eric and Craig review Kimmy’s case. Eric interviews her by reading her thoughts. Eric and Craig discuss Viviana.

Scene: Ruck Calls the Hospital

Ruck calls the hospital and uses social engineering to find out if Kimmy is still alive. He learns that she is in the ICU.


Scene: Viviana & Eshika at Crossfit

Viviana, Cosmina, and Viv’s friend Eshika visit the climbing gym. This is the first scene in Viviana’s POV (third person). Viv talks about how the brain tumor has changed her life and made her more clingy. She’s worried that Eric doesn’t like the new her. We also learn that Viv will be in a climbing contest against an obnoxious kid.

Scene: Eric Talks with Craig, Jessica

Eric and Craig (friend and UCSF neurosurgeon) discuss Kimmy’s case. They discuss the changes in Viv. Eric learns more about Delmer Holiday.

Scene: Ruck in the Hospital

Ruck sneaks into the hospital.

Scene: Eric Walks Jessica to Elevator

Eric talks with Jessica, apologizes about last time they met, and suddenly realizes that Kimmy is in danger.


Scene: Ruck in the ICU

Ruck gets to Kimmy and tries to kill her.

Scene: Eric Saves Kimmy

Eric enters ICU and interrupts Ruck’s attempt to kill Kimmy. He chases him but without success

Scene: Eric Attends Interrogation

Eric attends the interrogation of Red Skyler, the tech who secreted away a paper at the crime scene. He learns what happened to the paper.


Scene: Eric Locates Discarded Paper

Eric and Peggy search for and find the discarded paper.

Scene: Ruck Kingman First Meeting

Ruck meets with Kingman and tells him where things stand. Kingman angry. He influences Ruck.


Scene: Eric and Stan Discuss Status

Eric and Stan go over what they’ve learned. Eric learns of Ruck mentor.

Scene: Amnesia Case Begins

A man with total amnesia appears in Eric’s office. He didn’t go to the police because he has a lot of cash on him.


Scene: Eric Attends Juliette Seminar

Eric checks out one of the self-esteem seminars that Juliette holds. He sees how she projects her thoughts gently.

Scene: Ruck Installs Device on Eric’s Car

He attaches an unkown device on Eric’s car.



Scene: Eric at Home with V & C

More homelife. Eric thinks maybe Cosmina can read minds, but it’s a false alarm. He asks Viv if she wants to help Peggy with an investigation. Viv says yes.

Scene: Eric Deals with Racing Car

The device Ruck put on Eric’s car makes it accelerate out of control. When he crashes, we are left hanging as to whether he survived.

Scene: V & P Meet with Craig

Viv and Peg meet with Craig to discuss the amnesia case and the amnesia epidemic. There’s no cure. Craig suggests Viv enter a stem-cell trial which may solve her brain problems.


Scene: Viviana Reacts, Treatment Discussed

We find that Eric survived, although injured. Viviana reacts to Eric’s crash. She brings up the stem cell treatment, and Eric says she should do it.

Scene: Technician Analyzes Car Controller

The technician explains that someone was trying to kill Eric and make it look like an accident.

Scene: Eric Interviews Ruck Teacher

Eric talks to the man who had been a mentor to Ruck. By reading the man’s mind, Eric discovers Acton Ruck’s name.

Scene: Eric Meets with Rainman

Eric visits Rainman, a woman who knows about Kingman’s time in the psych hospital. She confirms that he was there but caused his records to be deleted.


Scene: Viv and Peg on Amnesia Case

Viv, Peg, and Matt discuss their plans to figure out who Matt is. By accident, they ind that he has fighting skills. Peggy’s fake boobs fall out of her blouse.

Scene: Eric Talks with Gilda Maddix

Eric meets with a crazy cat lady who’d gone to high school with Kingman. She relates how Kingman was not well liked and angry about that.

Scene: Ruck Kingman Second Meeting

Ruck reports info about Eric. Kingman wants Delmer found. Kingman upset that Ruck and Kingman’s butler don’t like him, even though they love him. Ruck begins to suspect what’s going on.


Scene: V Gets Stem Cells, Kimmy wakes

She undergoes the stem cell procedure and everything goes okay. Kimmy wakes up and draws a sketch of Ruck from memory.

Scene: Eric Chases Delmer 1

Eric finds Delmer at a Kingman rally, and starts chasing him. Kingman’s beam hits Eric, and before he gets his shields up, part of it influences him.


Scene: Viviana Prepares for Climbing Contest

She practices her climbing for the upcoming contest. We see that her stem cell treatment is already changing her to be like her old self.

Scene: Eric Chases Delmer 2

Eric chases Delmer and catches up with him. He also meets Luette, Delmer’s fellow conspiracy nut.


Scene: Eric Talks with Delmer

Eric explains Kingman’s skill. Ruck finds them and chases them, capturing Eric and Delmer.

Scene: Eric Meets Kingman

Eric and Delmer are taken to see Kingman, who compels Delmer and seems to compel Eric.


Scene: Viv pursues false lead on Amnesia case

Viv gets a tip on the phone about who Matt is. She meets the tipster. He tries to rape her and she throws him off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Scene: Eric Tries to Fix Delmer

Eric tries to fix Delmer’s brainwashing, without success.


Scene: Viviana Reads Article About Her

Viviana reads the article in the news about the GG Bridge incident. The article says that an unknown woman tried unsuccessfully to prevent a suicide.

Scene: Luete Comes to Eric’s House

Ruck had failed to catch Luette. She comes to Eric’s and they talk, have dinner.

Scene: Eric Talks w/L&V.

Luete talks with Eric’s family, making the reader like her. They plan. Viviana wants to kill Ruck and Kingman.


Scene: Ruck Goes to Luete’s House

Ruck sits in an SUV, staking out Luette’s house. He plans to kill her.

Scene: Eric Outside Luete’s House

Eric and Luete stand and sit outside his car, waiting for a bodyguard.

Scene: Ruck Eavesdrops on E&H’s Conversation

Ruck mounts a long-range listening device to his car window, listens to Eric and Luette.

Scene: Luette Describes Hiding Place

Eric and Luette continue talking. She describes where she hid the recording.

Scene: Ruck Prepares to Kill

Ruck gets his rifle out of the trunk of his car, and prepares to kill Eric and Luette.


Scene: Eric & Luete ambushed, L Dies

They are talking and Ruck starts shooting. Eric and Luette run, Luette hides in a doghouse. Eric shoots Ruck but misses. Ruck gets the drop on him, but Matt appears (Peggy sent him) and fights him. Both Matt and Eric get knocked out, and Ruck runs away.



Scene: Eric Talks with Stan

Eric tells Stan about the thought projection, but Stan thinks he’s crazy. Eric and Juliette give him a demonstration making him dance like a ballerina. J also makes him love Eric. Stan’s old-lady secretary gets caught in the beam, and also loves Eric.

Scene: Ruck, Kingman Plan

Ruck and Kingman discuss the status. Ruck says he wants to kill Eric and maybe punish him first. Target wife and/or daughter.


Scene: E&V Take Cosmina to Cabin with Matt

They decide to have Matt watch Cosmina, and take her to a to their cabin in Tomales.

Scene: Meeting to Discuss Status

All of the characters meet to discuss the plans for Ruck and Matt

Scene: Ruck Prepares to Kill Viv During Contest

Ruck prepares to shoot Viviana during the climbing contest.


Scene: Viviana Climbing Contest 1

Viviana is in the big climbing contest. When almost at the top, Ruck shoots, hits handhold. Viviana falls.

Scene: Ruck Shoots

He misses. He’d assembled the rifle wrong.

Scene: Viviana Climbing Contest 2

Viviana falls into the water, gets back on the wall.

Scene: Eric Fights Ruck

Eric understands what happened on the climbing wall, sees Ruck, fights him.

Scene: Viviana Wins Climbing Contest

With an extraordinary effort, Viviana beats her opponent.

Scene: Eric & Viv Watch News

The news report shows that the opposing candidate is ahead in the polls. Eric: Maybe I don’t need to kill Ruck?? No, it’s personal. We get more info about opposing candidate. Also, North Korea tensions increase.

Scene: Stan cuts off the investigation

Eric goes to SFPD to get the name of the gunsmith. Because Stan and his boss attended a Kingman rally, they are converted, and lock Eric up.


Scene: Eric Tracks Down Ruck

Eric escapes from jail, goes to the gunsmith, and makes her give him information.

Scene: V&P Make Progress on Amnesia

Viviana gets a tip that tells her where Matt lives.

Scene: Eric Finds Out Where Ruck Will Be

Eric goes to Donny, his hacker friend. Based on the credit card charges, they find that Ruck visits a coffee shop at the same time every Sunday.

Scene: Eric Goes After Ruck

Eric arrives at the coffee shop. He finds Ruck and follows him, waiting for his mind-control power to switch on.


Scene: Viviana Climbs to Matt’s Apartment

She climbs Matt’s building and gets into Matt’s apartment, goes through his things. She discovers he’s a pedophile.


Scene: Acton Ruck Killed

Eric finally succeeds in killing Ruck, via his mind control.

Scene: Viviana Rescues Cosmina

She races to the cabin. Fights with Matt. Gets Cosmina. Cosmina uses mind control to keep V from killing M.


Scene: Eric Considers Turning in Matt

Eric and Viviana talk about turning Matt over to the police, whether Cosmina was abused, about Cosmina’s power, and about the death of Ruck. A child psychologist thinks Matt did not molest Cosmina.

Scene: North Korea Gets More Problematic

A news report shows that Kim Jong Un’s threats are getting more serious. Matt comes to Eric’s house and says he plans to turn himself in.

Scene: Kingman Wins Presidency

Eric, Viv, Kimmy, and Jessica watch the election returns. Kingman wins.


Scene: Team Meets to Plan

E, V, Juliette, and Craig discuss how to prevent Kingman from killing everyone on the planet. Inauguration? Decide on press conference. Peggy overhears them, and they let her in on Eric’s abilities.

Scene: Juliette Gets Press Passes

Juliette goes in and gets a pair of press passes, using her skill. But when she comes out, she has amnesia.


Scene: Eric Tries to Fix Juliette

Eric works with Juliette to try to get her her powers back. He fails.

Scene: Eric Goes To Press Conference

Eric prepares mind control and goes to press conference. He falls asleep!


Scene: Team Watches Press Conference

Peggy, Juliette, and Craig watch the press conference on TV. Kingman says he has launched nuclear weapons toward North Korea. They see that Eric has fallen asleep! Kingman starts acting weird. He is acting out Eric’s dreams.

Scene: Eric Wakes from Dream

Eric wakes up from the dream, confused. He tries to use his power on Kingman, but cannot. He prepares to strangle Kingman, but finds that Kingman has amnesia.


Scene: Aftermath, Gathering

I tie up all the loose ends here. North Korean casualties (many millions), Eric must sleep in Faraday cage. In the very last sentence, Cosmina demonstrates that she can read minds. THE END