Saturday, March 21, 2009


Peter Schechter is the author of Point of Entry, and an international political and communications consultant. A founder of one of Washington's premier strategic communications consulting firms, he has spent twenty years advising presidents, writing advertising for political parties, ghost-writing columns for CEOs, and counseling international organizations out of crises. He also owns a winery, farms goats, and is a partner in a number of successful restaurants.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, Pipeline, and reported the following:
On page 69, the trouble reveals itself. You already know the book is about the energy crisis. You already know there is a connection to Russia. But on page 69, you begin to understand the main characters’ deep personal connections to the biggest issue of our future: energy dependence.

Pipeline ricochets between Russia, the United States and Peru and the fight for access to natural gas: the fuel of the future. A huge Russian energy conglomerate plots to secretly take over the natural gas fields in Peru, the largest in the western hemisphere. Once they do, Russian will then add the United States to those countries in Europe that already feel the strangle of dependency from Russia’s monopoly supply of natural gas. How America falls into Russia’s trap and how one young presidential advisor at the White House saves the day is what the book is all about.

The book is about the most pressing issue of our children’s future. It is about energy. Most of our transportation, our electricity, our heating, and our factory outputs depend on fuel sources from an increasingly nasty world. And, America’s energy dependence on foreign sources has increased from 28 percent ten years ago to nearly 70 percent today. Europe’s is even higher.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has long advocated for a “Geo-Green” strategy. This means that reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy is both good for the environment and good for the west’s security.

As pick up the newspaper, I find Pipeline’s plot reflected on the front pages. My first book, Point of Entry, was about the spread of weapons of mass destruction just before that issue hit the front pages. Now Pipeline highlights subjects that are sure to dominate the coming years.

Ø The book is about Russia’s aggressive resurgence; just witness its recent natural gas shut-off to Europe and last summer’s war with Georgia.

Ø The book is about the sharp debate between environmental hopes and energy needs. Can you still hear campaign cries that erupted with Sarah Palin’s call to “Drill, Baby, Drill?” By the way, Pipeline has a very sexy, very tough and very Alaskan head of the CIA. General Martha Packard was already at my editor’s desk long before we got to know Governor Palin.

Ø Pipeline zeroes in on the global race to secure natural gas. All Americans have by now heard from T. Boone Pickens’ brave campaign that natural gas is the next – and maybe the last – generation of fossil fuels before a revolutionary transition to renewable energy.

I write to provide a good, entertaining story. But I also write to educate readers on some of the pressing issues of our times. Indeed, the novel is about difficult questions about America’s foreign policy, the role of Russia and the sacrifices that we, as citizens, must make to free our nation from crippling foreign energy dependence.
Read an excerpt from Pipeline, and learn more about the book and author at Peter Schechter's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue