Monday, December 10, 2007

"All the Pretty Girls"

J.T. Ellison is Murderati's Friday columnist, a short story writer, and a novelist.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel All the Pretty Girls, and reported the following:
Page 69 of All the Pretty Girls is in the POV of my secondary protagonist, FBI Profiler Dr. John Baldwin. It is a seminal moment (thank goodness) that sets up a section of subplot that is important to the culmination of the story. Baldwin is on a plane, heading to the crime scene of the fourth victim of the Southern Strangler. He has a mental flashback to the original call he received about one of the earliest victims of the Strangler from his somewhat unstable field partner on the case, FBI Special Agent Jerry Grimes. It gives back story on both Baldwin and his role in the investigation. There’s even a brief mention of Baldwin’s lover, my main protagonist Taylor Jackson, a snippet that sheds a bit of light on their relationship. Basically, this page is chock full of relevant information, and forces you to turn the page for the answer.

The man had been pretty broken up, too broken up. He had phoned Baldwin as soon as they’d cleared out of the Porter girl’s apartment, finished with the statements of family and friends. Baldwin mentally replayed the conversation. It was a knack he had, being able to tap into his brain and extract what he needed with total recall. Taylor sometimes hated him for it, she could never get away with anything. He smiled at the thought, then plugged into his mental database.

It had been a quiet night. For the past few months, Baldwin had been tasked to the Middle Tennessee Field Office, ostensibly working as a regional profiler. Baldwin had been working cases for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit out of Quantico peripherally, consulting when needed. He wasn’t exactly in retirement, but on a pseudo sabbatical, allowing him to be in Nashville with Taylor. The arrangement was working wonderfully until this phone call, the familiar voice booming in his ear.

“The esteemed Dr. John Baldwin, I presume?” The sharp bite of sarcasm wasn’t lost on Baldwin, even some of the FBI’s own field officers didn’t like dealing with the profilers.

“It’s Jerry Grimes. I’m down here in Mississippi on a case.”

Baldwin remembered how his heart skipped a beat, revving in anticipation. His senses went on high alert. Grimes wasn’t calling him on his own accord, he’d been instructed to do so by a higher up. He had dropped the niceties as well.

“We’ve got a missing girl. Young, brunette. Has all the hallmarks of...”
Read an excerpt from All the Pretty Girls and learn more about the author and her writing at J.T. Ellison's website and MySpace page.

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

--Marshal Zeringue