Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Random Violence"

Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She has actually been carjacked at gunpoint outside her home. She lives in Kyalami with her partner, Dion, two horses and two cats. She edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Random Violence, and reported the following:
On page 69 of Random Violence, P.I. Jade de Jong, the feisty but flawed heroine, is trying to extract the truth from South African artist Piet Botha, whose wealthy ex-wife Annette was murdered outside her Johannesburg home in what appeared to be a botched hijacking. Jade has just discovered that Piet did, in fact, have Annette followed a while ago. Now she is interrupting his gardening session to tell him that she knows.
“Followed? Who told you that?” Piet struggled to his feet, dusting soil off his jeans. He glanced at her, biting his lip, and then looked away.

“Never mind who told me. It’s true, though, isn’t it?”

“Well, I mean…” He shook his head. “I didn’t think it mattered.”

“Piet,” Jade stared down at the little man in exasperation. “You don’t think anything matters. You didn’t tell the police about Annette contacting a private detective, either.”

“Yes, but that was different. I forgot about it.”

“And you forgot about following her, too?”

“No, no.” Piet’s head swiveled from side to side, as if looking for the cavalry to come and rescue him. “I didn’t forget about that. Like I said, I didn’t think it was…” He searched for the word and found it. “Relevant.” He snapped his fingers. “That’s it. I didn’t think it was relevant.”

“The police are going to think it’s extremely relevant.”

Piet looked at her, anguish in his eyes.

“That detective already said I was a suspect. I’m terrified of being falsely accused. Like the way it happens on TV. I don’t want the police to arrest me, Jade. What if I get put in prison for something I didn’t do? If you tell them this, they might think I’m guilty.”

His voice had risen to a shout. He glared at her, breathing hard.

I’d be happy if readers opened the book on this page, because this conversation contains important clues to the mystery surrounding Annette Botha’s death as well as giving an insight into two of the main leads. Jade’s tenaciousness comes across clearly in this dialogue. She’s like a bloodhound when it comes to sniffing out the truth, but her singleminded obsession with her cases combined with her somewhat cavalier attitude towards the law often ends up landing her in trouble – or in danger.

Throughout the book, Piet is as scatterbrained as he appears to be in this conversation. But is the little artist genuinely absent-minded, or is he an accomplished liar who paid a generous hit fee to his wife’s killer? To find that out, you’ll need to read on to page 70 and beyond…
Read an excerpt from Random Violence, and learn more about the book and author at Jassy Mackenzie's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue