Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Thomas Perry is the author of the Jane Whitefield series as well as the bestselling novels Nightlife, Death Benefits, and Pursuit. He is the first recipient of the Gumshoe Award for Best Novel, and he won an Edgar Award for The Butcher’s Boy.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Strip, and reported the following:
In Strip, page 69 is a cozy domestic scene in which we learn what LAPD Lieutenant Nick Slosser is all about. He lives at home in Woodland Hills, an L.A. suburb, with his wife, Mary, and their two teenaged children. He only sleeps there three or four nights a week because of his schedule, but now he's come home and he and Mary talk over dinner about the three days each has had. What we notice is that Slosser speaks only vaguely about his time away, while Mary is quite specific. What Slosser is thinking about is his almost religious commitment to self-discipline and an orderly life, including his personal life, which has brought him great joy and satisfaction. Self-discipline is what separates him from the petty criminals he struggles against each day, most of them middle-aged men who live by impulse, like teenagers. What we're working up to is this statement at the top of p. 70: "Nick had been so happy with his wife and family that he had married again right away." He has not one happy family, but two, and the primary use of his self-discipline is keeping the two families separate and unaware of each other's existence.

Page 69 does give a pretty good taste of the tone of Strip, as well as the complexity and ambiguity of the interactions between characters. It's a heavily populated book, with about eight major players. Slosser, in addition to being a bigamist who is comically afraid he's about to be caught because his two eldest kids are ready for college and he won't be able to explain the huge expense, is also a brave, honest, and competent police Lieutenant, who is busy keeping the other characters from killing each other. I had a lot of fun writing this book, and I think other people will enjoy it too.
Read an excerpt from Strip, and learn more about the book and author at Thomas Perry's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue