Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Dark Flight"

Lin Anderson is an author, screenwriter, and the crime-writing creator of forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod.

She applied the Page 69 Test to the latest novel in the Rhona MacLeod series, Dark Flight, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Dark Flight, included below, fits the bill very well, I think.

Here's a little bit about the background to the story and what the story is about.

In September 2001 the torso of a boy, who later became known as ‘Adam’, was found in the Thames near Tower Bridge. The police believed Adam had been trafficked into the UK for the purpose of ritual sacrifice. Having lived in a remote part of Nigeria for five years in the early eighties, I was aware of the power of juju in West African culture. Impressed by the determination of the Scotland Yard team to establish Adam’s identity using forensic methods, I followed the story closely. And they did, tracing him back to an area near Benin City. Adam’s story became my inspiration for Dark Flight.

A woman is found murdered and brutally mutilated in her Glasgow home; her elderly mother lies dead in the next room. The only hope of catching the killer is Stephen - her six year old mixed-race son, who has vanished from the scene of the crime. The one clue left behind is mysterious and gruesome African talisman – a cross made of the bones of a child. Forensic scientist Dr Rhona McLeod is called to investigate and is soon drawn into a world she knows little about – the cult of juju and its ritual killings. Events take an even more twisted turn when the torso of another young African boy is found washed up in the river Clyde. Who was he and what is his connection to the investigation? Time is running out for Stephen, and when it becomes clear that human trafficking lies at the centre of the mystery the chase moves from Glasgow to the heat and dust of Kano, Nigeria, where Rhona must put an end to the ritual sacrifice before more innocent blood is shed.

Page 69:

They had managed to keep the story of the torso out of the headlines so far. The press was giving them a window to see if the body was Stephen.

The continuing house to house plus the search of the surrounding area had produced nothing. The boy had simply disappeared. If he had managed to get away from his mother’s attacker, he had found a good hiding place.

Bill had experience of runaway kids before. A girl of eight had gone missing in the summer of 2004. Molly Reynolds. Her name was written on his soul. Thirty-six hours after she disappeared on her way home from school, he had privately given up hope of finding her alive. Then a night watchman on a building site found her. She’d made a den in a pile of pipes and insisted she wasn’t going home until her mother threw out the latest boyfriend, who was sticking his hands down her knickers.

A lost child became a child abuse case. Bill thought about making it a double murder. The stupid mother and her arse of a boyfriend.

‘Sir..’ DC MacLaren handed him a photograph. ‘This was in a drawer in the mum’s bedroom.’

Carole Devlin stood in a formal pose beside a black man. Both were wearing brightly patterned national dress and smiling broadly. A wedding photograph perhaps? If it was, the chap beside her wasn’t the one who claimed to be her husband and walked out of the mortuary after taking photos of her mutilation.

Bill turned the picture over. A faint stamp read,

Ronald Ugwu, Photographer, Sabon Gari, Kano.
Learn more about Dark Flight and the Rhona MacLeod series at Lin Anderson's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue