He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Exceptions, and reported the following:
My 2009 novel, The Girl She Used to Be, tells the story of Melody Grace McCartney, a woman who has been buried in the Federal Witness Protection Program since the age of six, how she lives a tedious existence devoid of real choice, of real consequence: the government resolves both for her as needed. Her only authentic moments are those where she is hunted by the people determined to kill her.Learn more about the book and author at David Cristofano's website.
In The Exceptions, the story is told once more, this time from the perspective of Jonathan Bovaro, the young mafioso sent to terminate her, and how during the course of the years he stalks her, he slowly transforms from her killer to her protector. And on page 69 -- one of the first pivotal moments of his transformation -- we see the mafioso's heart begin to break when he watches her from afar as she tries to garner anonymous attention at a city park:
I lit another cigarette with the smoldering end of the near-dead one in my mouth, snuffed the stub with the heel of my shoe. Melody sat in the hot sun for fifteen minutes, never looking for anyone, never checking a cell, never even looking down other than to readjust her dress to a more suggestive manner.In the subsequent pages, and over the length of the book, Jonathan realizes she is a woman sentenced to a lifetime equally split by fear and ennui, the consequence of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And as the Bovaro empire ascends into great power, Jonathan knows he has little time left; he agrees that Melody must be liberated from this life she is destined to live -- the question he must answer is ... how?
Not long after that, though, her demeanor changed and, in the process, exposed her purpose. As the people of Lexington continued to pass her by, she started watching them pass her by. I sat in my safety zone, unable to take my eyes off of her -- for a multitude of reasons now -- and this is when it struck me: I was the only one looking.
The Page 69 Test: The Girl She Used to Be.
My Book, The Movie: The Exceptions.