He applied the Page 69 Test to The Towman’s Daughters, the sixth book in his “Wild Onion, Ltd.” series, and reported the following:
Most people (including the editors of Microsoft Word’s dictionary) don’t even know “towman” is a word. But ask the folks at American Towman magazine, and then check out the prestigious Order of Towman award given each year to operators (some of them female, by the way) of vehicle towing operations for outstanding service to their communities. I’m not kidding; you can Google it.Learn more about the book and author at David J. Walker's website.
The Towman’s Daughters stars Chicago private eye Kirsten and opens with her lawyer husband Dugan, who’s not totally wasted at the time, going to Wancho’s Towing at one a.m. to ransom his towed car. At Wancho’s he stumbles across an obvious crime in progress. His Sir Galahad instincts kick in and he rescues the beautiful young Isobel Cho from an armed abductor. This being a crime novel, though, the obvious isn’t what it seems. The rescued Isobel, a recent graduate of a prestigious east coast university, is handed over to her father, Mr. Juan Cho, the decidedly low-life owner of Wancho’s. Two days later she goes missing, and it’s up to Kirsten and Dugan to find her.
What about page 69? Well, by then Kirsten has tracked down Isobel and has her stashed away with a bodyguard named Cuffs Radovich, hopefully safe from whoever it is who’s stalking her. And on page 69 we find Kirsten accusing Cho of being less than forthright—well, OK, lying through his teeth—not just about Isobel, but also about the threat to his other daughter, nine-year-old Luisa.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Cho sat upright again, and put his palms flat on the table and leaned toward her. “It’s time for me to leave. I don’t know you, and I don’t know that you’re really working for Isobel.”Of course she didn’t. She’s following Kirsten’s orders, and Kirsten believes the thuggish Juan Cho, though he clearly loves his daughters, may be the real source of their troubles.
“Ask her yourself. Does she know your cell number?”
Kirsten took out her cell phone and called Cuffs. “I’m with Isobel’s father. Have her call him. Right now.”
Cho already had his cell in his hand. It rang almost at once and he answered.
“Yeah, it’s me. Hold on a minute.” Then he stood up and walked outside. She watched through the window as he paced back and forth and spoke into the phone.
It was pretty clear, both from his body language and his expression, when she could see his face, that Isobel had quickly verified that Kirsten was on her side, but the conversation didn’t end there. Cho was arguing with her. In a few minutes he gave up, and came back inside and sat down across from her again.
“Did she tell you where she was?” Kirsten asked.
So what does page 69 give us? A glimpse of a smart, resourceful, female private eye, faced with an archetypal private eye problem: a witness who ought to be on her side, but who obviously isn’t telling her what he knows. The question is…why?
And the answer to that…hidden beneath layers of greed and betrayal, politics and murder… may reveal just how far a father’s love for his daughters will take him.