Monday, October 09, 2006

Pg. 69: "Last Shot"

I managed to catch up with Gregg Hurwitz in the middle of his book tour for Last Shot.

I asked him to apply the "page 69 test" to the novel; here's what Gregg reported:

Last Shot opens with an impossible prison escape. Walker Jameson, dishonored Recon Marine, has broken out of California’s Terminal Island Penitentiary. After starting a riot, he literally vanishes from his cell, leaving behind only a cup of mouthwash, a strand of dental floss tied to one cell bar, and the body of a sadistic killer.

Deputy US marshal Tim Rackley, elite manhunter, must solve the riddle and track Walker down. But uncertainty begins to color the mission the more that Rackley learns about Walker, and the more he probes the death of Walker’s sister, a suicide that looks increasing like a murder. Walker has begun a bloody investigation of his own, a mission that propels him through the dark underworld of a big pharmaceutical company and its cutting edge therapeutic viruses. But the life of Walker’s nephew, a young boy suffering from a fatal disorder, hangs in the balance, and if Rackley hopes to stop the bloodshed, he must put the pieces together, even if it means battling a lethal opponent every inch his equal.

Page 69 isn’t representative of the book—it’s almost more important than representative because it contains a key revelation. It finds Walker heading into the bedroom in which his sister supposedly committed suicide. He’s about to discover a very different version of her death…

“The smells hit him first and strongest. The curtains remained drawn, and day after day of sunlight had baked the air of the closed room to a choking staleness. Bleach. Cleanser.”
My thanks to Gregg for the input.

Click here to read the first chapter of Last Shot, and here to read part of an interview with Gregg.

On his blog Gregg responds to readers who don't like it when characters in a novel say bad things about political figures like Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft...or Bill Clinton. And here he offers, as succor to stymied writers, a few entries from Kafka's journal (from the period when he was writing The Trial) .

Previous "page 69 tests":
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue