Monday, August 3, 2009

"Dying for Mercy"

Mary Jane Clark's media thrillers have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and other national bestseller lists. Her books have been published in 23 languages.

She applied the “Page 69 Test” to her latest novel Dying for Mercy, and reported the following:
In Dying for Mercy, page 69 starts a chapter. It isn’t even a full page of text. But it does give a good representation of my writing style.

Here, Annabelle Murphy, a KEY News producer with outstanding journalistic instincts which lead her to clues the police can’t always find, is frustrated. She has been working the overnight shift and isn’t able to sleep during the daylight hours. She knows her kids will be home from school soon and that sleep will be impossible then. Anxious and realizing that she isn’t going to drift off, Annabelle decides to get up and take a hot bath.

On the next page, reading a magazine while soaking in the tub, Annabelle notices a tattoo on a movie star’s arm in one of the glossy pictures. She connects the subject of the tattoo to a clue in a puzzling story she’s been working on.


End of chapter.

That’s the way it goes in the chapters of Dying for Mercy and my other books. Clear and speedy. I think that speed ratchets up the suspense. The short chapters, full of action and to the point, create excitement.

I know myself, if I’m reading in bed at night, when I come to the end of a chapter, I’ll look ahead to see how long the next one is. If it’s too lengthy, I put the book down. But if it’s just a few pages, I keep going.

As a suspense writer, my aim is to keep the reader engrossed and turning the pages. Page 69 is a good example of how I do that.

Keep going. Turn that page. See what happens next.
Browse inside Dying for Mercy, and learn more about the book and author at Mary Jane Clark's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue