He applied the Page 69 Test to Every Bitter Thing, latest novel in his Chief Inspector Mario Silva series, and reported the following:
My protagonists work for the Brazilian Federal Police. One of them, Haraldo Gonçalves, is in his mid-thirties, but looks to be ten years younger. This is a source of great amusement to his colleagues who, much to his chagrin, have taken to calling him “Babyface”.Read more about Every Bitter Thing.
Gonçalves has to put up with this disrespect from his boss, Delegado Hector Costa, and from his boss’s boss, Chief Inspector Mario Silva, but he draws the line at putting up with it from anyone else. We see that clearly on page 69, where chapter ten begins.
The Bar do Elias was a shabby establishment with a sign in the front window offering beer for two reais.The exchange serves as an introduction to Gonçalves’ interview of three prostitutes, women who ply their trade in Gordo’s bar and might be in a position to help the cops in their pursuit of a serial killer.
Haraldo Gonçalves wasn’t about to miss out on a deal like that. He bellied up to the bar and rapped his knuckles on the wood.
“A Cerpa,” he said.
“Beer’s only for folks old enough to drink.” The bartender grinned.
His attempt at humor failed miserably. “Take a good fucking look,” Gonçalves said, flourishing his warrant card in the bartender’s face.
“Brahma or Antarctica?” the bartender said.
“I told you. Cerpa.”
“No Cerpa. We only got Brahma and Antarctica.”
The bartender reached into a cooler, pulled out a cold bottle, and poured half the contents into a glass. He set the glass and the bottle on the bar between them.
“You look too young to be a cop,” he said.
“No shit. Elias around?”
“Elias sold me this place back in 1997. I never got around to changing the name.”
“And yours is?”
“Renato Cymbalista, but nobody calls me that. They call me Gordo.” The word meant fatty, and it was appropriate.
“Gordo, huh?” Gonçalves said, eying Cymbalista’s vast midriff. “I can’t imagine why.”
He was still miffed about the fat man’s attempt at humor.
It is representative of the book in this sense: I tend to employ little narration, preferring to reveal character, and plot, through dialogue.
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