Garner applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Contaminated, and reported the following:
From Page 69:Learn more about the book and author at Em Garner's website and Facebook page.My dad had gone to work. My mom, too. Opal and I were home alone. I was sleeping in to enjoy the first days of summer break. The house was quiet, until I heard the neighbors’ dogs barking. They barked a lot, but not like this. Not for so long or so loud. I got up, went downstairs. Opal was at the table eating cereal in milk and reading a book. She heard the dogs, too.Page 69 is a great representation of Contaminated’s story – real, normal life interrupted by the total dissolving of society. Craig has lost his mind, launching an attack first on his beloved dogs. Then on Velvet and her younger sister Opal. His madness is echoed in the rest of the world, where thousands of people have become brutally violent, rioting, looting and generally going insane. Craig’s attack is only the beginning of events that will turn the world upside down and inside out, leaving it forever changed.
I still thought nothing of it until the dogs, two of them from next door, ran up onto our back deck. Snapping and biting, they paced in front of the sliding glass doors, tails tucked between their legs. They were begging to get in – something they’d never done, even when they came over to crap in our yard. Our neighbors’ dogs were Rottweilers, by the way. Nice dogs, but not timid. They’d run off a meter reader or two before our neighbor got an electric collar for them. It hadn’t stopped them from running over here.
“What’s going on with Tooty and Frooty?” Opal asked me.
Before I could answer, Craig from next door staggered onto the deck. He was wearing a bathing suit, which wasn’t that unusual since they’d put in a pool the year before, and it was hot out. The staggering wasn’t that surprising either, since if he was out by the pool he usually had a couple of beers, too. What did make both of us cry out and back up was the way he staggered into the glass door.
Full on, his head smacked the glass so hard it starred. Bright red blood showed up on his forehead and started streaming down his face. His mouth worked like he was shouting, but I couldn’t hear anything but the barking. The dogs circled his feet, dodging his kicks.
Craig never hit his dogs. They were as much his children as his real kids were. Maybe more, since the dogs usually obeyed him, and his kids mostly didn’t. His dogs were allowed to sleep on his bed with him. They rode in his truck with him. And now he was kicking at them, screaming so loud the veins stood out on his bloody face.