Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Jeff Abbott is the national-bestselling, award-winning author of nine mystery and suspense novels.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest book, Fear, and reported the following:
Page 69 of my thriller novel Fear finds the hero, Miles Kendrick, at his lowest point. Miles is a federal witness, a good man who was forced to act as a spy for a Miami mobster. He helped the FBI bring down his bosses -- but at a terrible price; he shot and killed his best friend when the sting went wrong. Now hiding in Santa Fe under a new name from the mob, Miles suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. This once proud and capable man is haunted by the taunting voice of his murdered friend, is afraid to ride in a car in case the mob's found him and hidden a bomb, and is barely able to hold onto a job because of his violent flashbacks. His only hope for a normal life has been with his psychiatrist, Allison Vance. Allison is in trouble -- she's being stalked by a mysterious Dr. Sorenson -- and she has asked Miles for help. He feels it's his one chance to be the man he once was, a man free of crippling fears and memories. Allison's office, with her inside, has been fire-bombed as Miles arrived for a meeting with her. On page 69 Miles stands, helplessly watching the office burn, shrugging off a paramedic's attempt to tend to his minor injuries from the blast, lying that he was simply walking past the building when it blew. The one person who could help him is dead, and he failed her. But as he watches the building collapse, he remembers that he overheard Sorenson speak of Allison's house -- so Miles turns away from the fire and begins to run toward her home, desperate to find out the truth about her murder, intent on getting to her house before the police do.

I think page 69 is representative of Fear in two key ways: first, it’s a great example of the survivor’s guilt that Miles feels in the book. Much of his journey in Fear is a redemptive one: making amends for his past failings, but also understanding that his damaged life is still one worth living. Miles could be any of us who has survived a trauma. Secondly, despite his illness, Miles is a very active protagonist; he doesn’t sit around and moan about the world. He often thinks he’s just a shell of the man he used to be; but he is constantly taking action, moving the story forward through his choices. And to me, those are the kinds of thrillers I love, where the characters you can care about drive the story at a breakneck pace.
Read an excerpt from Fear and more about Jeff Abbott's books at his website and MySpace page.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue