Monday, February 7, 2011

"The Radleys"

Matt Haig is the author of The Labrador Pact, a UK bestseller narrated by a Labrador; The Dead Fathers Club, a widely acclaimed update of Hamlet featuring an eleven-year-old boy; and The Possession of Mr. Cave, a horror story about an overprotective father. His work has been translated into twenty-four languages.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Radleys, and reported the following:
Page 69 both is and is not representative of The Radleys as a whole. It is the page that first introduces Uncle Will, so it seems very different to what has gone before, but not necessarily to what comes after. The focus of the page though is Julie, a supermarket worker and a very minor character. She is about to be eaten alive but at this point, in the supermarket carpark, she doesn't know the danger she's in. It is through her we first see Will: 'her last customer of the day, he had come to her register with nothing but dental floss and wet wipes in his that first sight of him she had felt something wake up inside her. The self-willed semicoma she fell into at the start of her shift...suddenly left her and she'd felt strangely alive.'

I like this page. Nothing majorly dramatic happens in it, but it comes at a point in the story when things are hotting up. The Radley daughter, Clara, has just killed a boy at a party with her own teeth, and now her parents have got a lot of explaining to do about why they haven't until this point told their kids who they are. And now that they've got a corpse to hide and a cover-up to instigate they need the help of Uncle Will, so hence the sudden flash to this carpark and another of his hundreds of victims. There is already a hint by the time we get to this page that vampirism is not the only secret going on here and that Will may be a presence which threatens as well as potentially restores the Radley family's normal life. Yes, looking back and re-reading it now I'm quite proud of my page 69, and hope people would carry on reading because page 70 - wow - that's where it all gets going!
Read an excerpt, watch a video trailer, and learn more about the novel at the official The Radleys website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue